Greetings and good morning, brothers and sisters. This is Dr. James Perry continuing with our series where we seek to explore the deeper meanings of our relationship with Jesus Christ. Over the years, the heavenly Father has revealed many revelations of spiritual truth to me, and I want to share them with you. This morning we examine the storms of life, especially those protracted ones, that appear to go on interminably. This morning we share some further insight as to just what is going on in the storms of life. Why do we have them? What can or should we do when we find ourselves in one? How long do they last? What spiritual values do they contain? To further our insight, let’’s examine some material storms.
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
The Storms of Life
Jesus said, ". . . In the world you shall have tribulation: But be of good cheer: I have overcome the world." John, Chapter 16, Verse 33
Brothers and sisters, there are many storms that come and go over the land. These storms though sometimes containing great destructive forces play a vital role in the life of our planet. Storms constantly sweep over the land masses bringing with them life sustaining water. Water is essential to life on this planet. There must be some way for distributing it over the planet. These storms gather water from the sea through evaporation and distribute it over the land. Now some of these storms are very violent, and we must take suitable shelter in order to prevent injury or death. We don’’t want to run the risk of having our lives prematurely terminated. When we are in the midst of a violent storm, the duration of the storm may appear to last a long time, but the storms are not stationary--they are moving across the land.
Because we are imperfect and live in an imperfect environment, the Father has commanded us to be perfect even as he is perfect. We are mortal, and we interact with each other as well as with the material environment. Thus the stage is set for the storms of life. Being imperfect, being mortal, and living in an imperfect material environment produces the storms of life. Let us consider the nature of some of these storms and how they come about.
Mortality: We are mortal and are self-conscious of that fact. We all know the clock of life is ticking away, moving towards some unknown point. We don’’t know when our time is up on this planet. This creates anxiety as we move through the various stages of life. This consciousness of our mortality and the effects that it has when we lose love ones creates a storm of grief and sorrow that handicaps us emotionally. And it takes time to recover from the emotional effects. This storm can last a long time, and some may never emerge from its effects during the mortal life. Others manage somehow to fill the gaping holes left in their lives and move on. But the scars of memories remain. We can never forget that someone we loved died and left us behind. This is a particularly vicious storm in that it often affects not only the emotional well-being of those left behind but also often carries social penalties as well.
Now we have learned the value of the material storms, for we all know what happens when there is insufficient water. But because of the lack of spiritual insight and knowledge, we don’’t appreciate the value of the mortality storm. From the material point of view, death is the supreme calamity of our lives. From the spiritual perspective, death is a supreme blessing because the mortal life helps us to generate souls that can survive mortal death and go on to become perfect even as the heavenly Father is perfect. There is no other way that we can become perfect except by going through the storms of life. While we are in these storms, we acquire the values and meanings that ultimately perfect us.
The Father has placed in our minds the desire to survive in the very face of mortality. By responding to it, our souls are created, which allows us to survive. But because we are mortal, and only have this unrelenting desire to survive, and because of the failure of our intellect to provide us with the ultimate purpose of this desire to survive, faith arises. This quality somehow tells us when we embrace the desire to survive that we will survive. This faith is given to us by the heavenly Father for that very reason. "For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God." The reward for weathering the storm of mortality is survival of all that is worthwhile in our lives, including our very selves.
Intellectual deficiency: Our grasp of intellectual knowledge, though constantly increasing is still inadequate, to control all those storms of material life. We must discover the laws governing material reality. These discoveries and applications will prevent quite a bit of suffering, as has already been demonstrated, and continues to be demonstrated. There have been many discoveries that controlled many material storms of life. But through education, we must pass this knowledge on to the next generation. Thus universal education must be given to all. Only then can all benefit from the discoveries.
Lack of Wisdom: Without wisdom, knowledge becomes a menace. It becomes the means for destruction, rather than construction as we have seen and continue to see with ceaseless wars. Ultimately without the super knowledge of knowing when, how, to what extent, knowledge becomes powerless to harness the material storms of life. It is the lack of wisdom that threatens universal education. It is the failure to see that the solution to some material storm of life may lie in some child who is not been adequately educated due to the lack of public support for quality education. It is the lack of wisdom and an abundance of greed that pollutes our material environment. Ultimately the lack of wisdom is due to lack of spiritual insight. It is written that ““if any man lack wisdom, let him ask God, that giveth to all men liberally, and does not upbraid; and it shall be given to him."
Moral Deficiency: Without the exercise of moral discernment and judgment, the refusal to recognize right and wrong and to act accordingly, the insistence upon allowing selfish consideration to abrogate the moral bond that binds all of us together, the glue that holds society together dissolves. This failure creates much suffering, much tribulation, and pulls man back down to the animal level, a level that he has laboriously grown from. What a pity to lose it all because of selfishness and disregard for the claims of brotherhood.
Imperfect Environment: We live in an imperfect environment where the forces of nature are not under perfect control. This creates many material storms of life. And we can think of many examples. Tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, plagues, famines, unequal water distribution are just a few examples that come readily to mind. By acquiring knowledge and wisdom, we will bring these forces under control.
When we find ourselves in these storms of life, what can we do? We can only operate with the knowledge and wisdom that we possess. So we must make use of this knowledge and wisdom until such time as our knowledge and wisdom becomes perfected. Thus for material storms, we must find shelter and protect ourselves as best we can. We must also use the wisdom we have to prevent unnecessary disasters. All of these material storms are temporal. They do have an end. Concerning emotional storms, they, too, will pass as the stimulus that caused them in the first place subsides and eventually ceases. Emotional storms are difficult to bear. But when we are in them, we should shift our focus away from the stimulus that is generating them. Though this may not seem to be effective in all of its ramifications, it does help to give our minds a break from the sometimes intolerable suspense.
As we view these storms of life, we unfailingly experience a desire to overcome them. And often the failure to find a suitable solution drives us to be free of them. We’’re driven to seek the heavenly Father, where there is security and certainty and where we eventually realize that nothing of spiritual value is lost. While we recognize that though the storms of life remain unpleasant, we also recognize their spiritual value. We turn to the heavenly Father to give us spiritual help: consolation, faith, hope, and trust. Since we cannot escape our trials and tribulations, we turn to the heavenly Father for the strength and grace to bear them gracefully. Our souls eventually hear these merciful words and respond to them: "Come unto me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls." As the noose of mortality continues to tighten and times runs out, we ultimately put our trust in the heavenly Father as the one who can save us from the noose of mortal dissolution.
This concludes today's message on understanding the storms of life. We hope you find something in this message to ponder and pray about as you go about your day.
Until next time, this is Dr. James Perry.