Alma has a hidden message in this week’s readings.  You all are familiar with the concept he teaches of having a particle of faith and planting a seed and nurturing it that it may grow.  But what is that seed to grow into?  What is the metaphor he wants us to understand?

You can also find it on any of these platforms by searching for Meridian Magazine-Come Follow Me.

Maurine and Scot Proctor have taught Book of Mormon for many years in Institute and have spent extensive time in the Arabian peninsula, following Lehi’s trail. They are the creators of a foundation that has sponsored a multi-year archaeological study of the best candidate for Nephi’s Bountiful in Oman. They have written a book on the Book of Mormon, as well as immersed themselves in the culture, history, and geography. of the scripture.

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Scot

Alma has a hidden message in this week’s readings.  You all are familiar with the concept he teaches of having a particle of faith and planting a seed and nurturing it that it may grow.  But what is that seed to grow into?  What is the metaphor he wants us to understand?  As we read and study this week’s material you might think Alma the Younger is one of Lehi’s students—he takes a chapter right out of the vision of the tree of life—and if you miss that part of the lesson, you miss one of the greatest teachings in the scriptures.  Let’s explore further.

Maurine

Hello dear readers—this is Meridian Magazine’s Come Follow Me Podcast and we are Scot and Maurine Proctor.  We’re so happy to be with you today and discuss the sacred truths of Alma chapters 32 through 35.  Before we get started we want to remind you of a wonderful treasure available to you right now:  It’s Scot’s new eBook, Eleven Things You Probably Didn’t Know about the Book of Mormon.  This is a must-read supplement to your Book of Mormon studies this year.  Scot opens up your mind and heart to new discoveries in the scriptures.  He helps you see things you’ve never seen before.  He teaches you patterns you might miss unless you are given some hints and some clues.  I guarantee you will expand your understanding of the Book of Mormon as you read this book—available for immediate download for $6.99 at: latterdaysaintmag.com/eleventhings that’s latterdaysaintmag.com/eleventhings or you can just drop into our store at:  themeridianshop.com that’s themeridianshop.com

Scot

You remember from last week that Alma and his extraordinary missionary team went to teach the pure gospel of Jesus Christ to the apostate Zoramites.  They were not having much success until a large group of the poor who had been cast out of the synagogues and places of worship came to Alma and they asked, “we have no place to worship our God, and behold, what shall we do?” (See Alma 32:5).  Can you imagine if you had no place to worship, that you couldn’t go into your own ward meetinghouses or you couldn’t attend the temple?  How could that ever be?  Isn’t it interesting that we have been temporarily cast out of our places of worship by an invisible virus?

Maurine

It’s amazing how much this lesson hits home in that way. This situation of the poor Zoramites had truly humbled them.  They were now in a place where they could hear the word of God. We might ask the question today, “How has the corona virus pandemic affected us?  Have we become even more humble?  Are we more in a position now to receive the word of the Lord?  Have our spirits been sufficiently tried so that we might be even more susceptible to the promptings and whisperings of the Spirit?  Are we now available and ready to “Hear Him?” These are important questions to ponder in our own lives.  We might ask ourselves: “Are we closer to Him now than we were in February of this year?”  If not, why not?  If so, how have you experienced a change of heart?

Scot

I was in for a doctor’s visit a number of weeks ago.  This doctor has become a good personal friend.  He was telling me about how he was going to be doing a professional meeting for more training and it was going to be on Zoom.  He said he’d never done a Zoom meeting before.  I said, “Doesn’t your ward do Zoom meetings at all?”  He said, “Oh, I don’t do Church anymore.” I knew what he meant, but I had to quip back, “Oh, I don’t either.  Maurine and I both don’t do Church anymore.”  He said, “No, I mean, I really don’t do Church.”  I said, “Yea, I know, we really don’t do Church anymore either.”  Hey, this is the one time in my entire life I could say this sincerely.  He smiled because he knew that I knew what he meant and I knew that he knew what I meant—it turned into a very sweet exchange as I testified to him of the importance of staying close to the Lord and of not estranging himself from the very strength that he needed right now.  I said, “I don’t know all the reasons behind your decision, that’s not really that important, but I DON’T WANT THIS TO BECOME THE STORY OF YOUR LIFE.” The Spirit touched us both.

Maurine

This time of isolation and of quarantine was never meant to be a time of isolation from the Lord or a quarantine from spiritual things.  Just like those poor Zoramites who were kept from their places of worship, we would do well to listen to Alma’s counsel:

10 Behold I say unto you, do ye suppose that ye cannot worship God save it be in your synagogues only?

We have certainly learned that we can worship God in our homes, haven’t we?  Have you had some of the sweetest sacrament meetings in your homes?  We certainly have.  The Spirit has been poured out upon us and we know that the Lord is certainly aware of us in this more difficult circumstances.

Scot

And Alma continued in his teachings:

11 And moreover, I would ask, do ye suppose that ye must not worship God only once in a week?

This certainly sounds like Come Follow Me teachings, doesn’t it?  We worship God in our daily devotions to Him.  We worship Him as we pray in our homes, both morning and night—or, if you follow the pattern of the Prophet Joseph, morning, mid-day and night.  We worship Him as we have our Family Home Evenings.  We worship Him as we daily study, ponder and meditate over our scriptures.  We worship Him as we talk of Him and teach our children and our grandchildren of Him.

Maurine

Scot, it reminds me of the oldest traditions and teachings of the Jews—it’s called the Shema Yisrael.  From the times of Moses the Hebrews were taught this daily worship of Almighty God.  It’s critical to their faithful thinking and their spiritual lifestyle.  They place this scripture in their Mezuzah on their doorposts so that it might go through their minds each and every time they come and go from their homes:

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord:

And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:

And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.

And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.

Scot

I do love the Shema Yisrael!  We have this beautiful Mezuzah that we brought home from Israel that has those passages engraved in Hebrew upon a scroll.  It’s a constant reminder of our devotions to Him who gave us life. Alma was right—we don’t just worship God in a synagogue or a chapel and we certainly don’t worship Him but one time in a week.

Then Alma begins to teach us about faith in his discourse:

21 And now as I said concerning faith—faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true.

How are we doing on our faith?  Faith, according to the Prophet Joseph, is “the assurance which men [and women] have of the existence of things which they have not seen, and the principle of action in all intelligent beings.” (See Lectures on Faith 1:9)

Maurine

The Prophet Joseph continued:

“In a word, is there anything that you would have done, either physical or mental, if you had not previously believed? Are not all your exertions of every kind, dependent on your faith?” (Lectures 1:11)

And he taught:  “…the prophets, through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword; out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens, and that women received their dead raised to life again…” (Lectures 1:20)

This is faith and super faith.  Sometimes I wonder how we are doing with our own active faith.  How do we exercise it to bring about change in our lives?  How do we apply our faith to bless, I mean, really seek specific blessings for and in behalf of our children and our grandchildren and all those we love?

Scot

I sometimes think faith is the hidden power of the gospel that few of us really utilize in this crazy, complicated, tumultuous, divided world.  Wouldn’t now be a good time to exercise our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and bring about much good?

Alma continues his teachings:

27 But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words.

So, we are asked to give place for the word.  Do not resist the Spirit of the Lord.  Let His word enter your beings.

28 Now, we will compare the word unto a seed. Now, if ye give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves—It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me.

Maurine

I so like that word “delicious” there.  Because the fruits of the Spirit and the fruits of faith truly are delicious beyond description.  This reminds us of the tender approach Elder Holland used in describing this kind of faith in the scriptures:

“On one occasion Jesus came upon a group arguing vehemently with His disciples. When the Savior inquired as to the cause of this contention, the father of an afflicted child stepped forward, saying he had approached Jesus’s disciples for a blessing for his son, but they were not able to provide it. With the boy still gnashing his teeth, foaming from the mouth, and thrashing on the ground in front of them, the father appealed to Jesus with what must have been last-resort desperation in his voice:

“If thou canst do any thing,” he said, “have compassion on us, and help us.

“Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.

“And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.”

Scot

Elder Holland continued:

“This man’s initial conviction, by his own admission, is limited. But he has an urgent, emphatic desire in behalf of his only child. We are told that is good enough for a beginning. “Even if ye can no more than desire to believe,” Alma declares, “let this desire work in you, even until ye believe.” With no other hope remaining, this father asserts what faith he has and pleads with the Savior of the world, “If thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us.” I can hardly read those words without weeping. The plural pronoun us is obviously used intentionally. This man is saying, in effect, “Our whole family is pleading. Our struggle never ceases. We are exhausted. Our son falls into the water. He falls into the fire. He is continually in danger, and we are continually afraid. We don’t know where else to turn. Can you help us? We will be grateful for anything—a partial blessing, a glimmer of hope, some small lifting of the burden carried by this boy’s mother every day of her life.”

“If thou canst do any thing,” spoken by the father, comes back to him “If thou canst believe,” spoken by the Master.

Maurine

“Straightway,” the scripture says—not slowly nor skeptically nor cynically but “straightway”—the father cries out in his unvarnished parental pain, “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.” In response to new and still partial faith, Jesus heals the boy, almost literally raising him from the dead, as Mark describes the incident.

“With this tender scriptural record as a backdrop, I wish to speak directly to the young people of the Church—young in years of age or young in years of membership or young in years of faith. One way or another, that should include just about all of us.

“Observation number one regarding this account is that when facing the challenge of faith, the father asserts his strength first and only then acknowledges his limitation. His initial declaration is affirmative and without hesitation: “Lord, I believe.” I would say to all who wish for more faith, remember this man! In moments of fear or doubt or troubling times, hold the ground you have already won, even if that ground is limited. In the growth we all have to experience in mortality, the spiritual equivalent of this boy’s affliction or this parent’s desperation is going to come to all of us. When those moments come and issues surface, the resolution of which is not immediately forthcoming, hold fast to what you already know and stand strong until additional knowledge comes. It was of this very incident, this specific miracle, that Jesus said, “If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” The size of your faith or the degree of your knowledge is not the issue—it is the integrity you demonstrate toward the faith you do have and the truth you already know.

Scot

“The second observation is a variation of the first. When problems come and questions arise, do not start your quest for faith by saying how much you do not have, leading as it were with your “unbelief.” That is like trying to stuff a turkey through the beak! Let me be clear on this point: I am not asking you to pretend to faith you do not have. I am asking you to be true to the faith you do have. Sometimes we act as if an honest declaration of doubt is a higher manifestation of moral courage than is an honest declaration of faith. It is not! So let us all remember the clear message of this scriptural account: Be as candid about your questions as you need to be; life is full of them on one subject or another. But if you and your family want to be healed, don’t let those questions stand in the way of faith working its miracle.” End of quote.

(Holland, Jeffrey R., “Lord, I Believe,” General Conference, April 2013)

I so love that story and how it relates to all of us. I especially love Elder Holland’s admonition:  hold fast to what you already know and stand strong until additional knowledge comes. 

Can we do that?  Can we hold fast in the midst of all the challenges we face?  Can we stand absolutely strong until additional knowledge comes?  I think we can.  I know we can.

Maurine

And this brings us to an additional teaching by another apostle, Elder Neil L. Andersen who said:

“Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is not something ethereal, floating loosely in the air. Faith does not fall upon us by chance or stay with us by birthright. It is, as the scriptures say, “substance …, the evidence of things not seen.” Faith emits a spiritual light, and that light is discernible. Faith in Jesus Christ is a gift from heaven that comes as we choose to believe and as we seek it and hold on to it. Your faith is either growing stronger or becoming weaker. Faith is a principle of power, important not only in this life but also in our progression beyond the veil. By the grace of Christ, we will one day be saved through faith on His name. The future of your faith is not by chance, but by choice.”  (Andersen, Neil L., “Faith is Not by Chance, but my Choice,” General Conference, October 2015)

This faith, like testimony, is an active growing thing in our lives.  As we heed the counsel of the Lord and look unto him in every thought and “doubt not” and “fear not” (see D&C 6:36) our faith will strengthen.  We will not feel to resist the Lord in any way.  Our hearts will soften and we will the more easily become instruments for receiving revelation from the heavens.

Scot

And the more we believe, the more we exercise our faith, the more we trust the things we do receive from the Lord, the more He sends to us, the more He will entrust us with His words, His counsel, His guidance, His direction, His aid and His help. 

Remember the promise in Isaiah, chapter 41:

10 ¶ Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. (Isaiah 41:10)

The Lord is absolutely good with His promises.

Elder Andersen gives us further insight here:

“Although your beginning fire of faith may be small, righteous choices bring greater confidence in God, and your faith grows. The difficulties of mortality blow against you, and evil forces lurk in the darkness, hoping to extinguish your faith. But as you continue to make good choices, trust in God, and follow His Son, the Lord sends increased light and knowledge, and your faith becomes settled and unwavering.” 

(Andersen, Neil L., “Faith is Not by Chance, but my Choice,” General Conference, October 2015)

Maurine

“Faith never demands an answer to every question but seeks the assurance and courage to move forward, sometimes acknowledging, “I don’t know everything, but I do know enough to continue on the path of discipleship.”

“Immersing oneself in persistent doubt, fueled by answers from the faithless and the unfaithful, weakens one’s faith in Jesus Christ and the Restoration. “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him.” End of quote. (Andersen, Neil L., “Faith is Not by Chance, but my Choice,” General Conference, October 2015)

I love now what Alma teaches us toward the end of chapter 32.  He takes the seed analogy to the next level.

33 And now, behold, because ye have tried the experiment, and planted the seed, and it swelleth and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow, ye must needs know that the seed is good.

So, now we know that this is a good seed.  You can feel this, if you are open to the Spirit of the Lord, when good things are planted in your heart.  It’s like viewing or listening to all the sessions of conference and you feel blessed and lifted and inspired.  By these fruits you can know for certain that this is a good seed.

Scot

34 And now, behold, is your knowledge perfect? Yea, your knowledge is perfect in that thing, and your faith is dormant; and this because you know, for ye know that the word hath swelled your souls, and ye also know that it hath sprouted up, that your understanding doth begin to be enlightened, and your mind doth begin to expand.

35 O then, is not this real? I say unto you, Yea, because it is light; and whatsoever is light, is good, because it is discernible, therefore ye must know that it is good; and now behold, after ye have tasted this light is your knowledge perfect?

And I love that comparison to light—and that we can taste this light.  I can totally relate to this, whether it’s conference attendance, reading a wonderful book, studying the scriptures, listening to incredible music, seeking the Lord in prayer and solitude, a walk in the wilderness, having home sacrament meetings, gathering with our family and sharing in love and thanksgiving—all these things are a taste of this light and it is delicious beyond description.

Maurine

Then Alma takes this teaching a step deeper:

37 And behold, as the tree beginneth to grow, ye will say: Let us nourish it with great care, that it may get root, that it may grow up, and bring forth fruit unto us. And now behold, if ye nourish it with much care it will get root, and grow up, and bring forth fruit.

What is he talking about here?  What was this seed that we allowed to be planted in our hearts?  What kind of seed is it? Think about it…

This is the seed of the tree of life.  And what is the tree of life?  The tree of life is a representation of the Savior Himself.  We are allowing Him to enter our hearts, for Him to become a part of our inner beings, for His words, His thoughts, His ways, His mind to take root in our beings.

Scot

Alma continues:

40 And thus, if ye will not nourish the word, looking forward with an eye of faith to the fruit thereof, ye can never pluck of the fruit of the tree of life.

41 But if ye will nourish the word, yea, nourish the tree as it beginneth to grow, by your faith with great diligence, and with patience, looking forward to the fruit thereof, it shall take root; and behold it shall be a tree springing up unto everlasting life.

42 And because of your diligence and your faith and your patience with the word in nourishing it, that it may take root in you, behold, by and by ye shall pluck the fruit thereof, which is most precious, which is sweet above all that is sweet, and which is white above all that is white, yea, and pure above all that is pure; and ye shall feast upon this fruit even until ye are filled, that ye hunger not, neither shall ye thirst. (Alma 32: 40-42)

And those terms: Sweet above all that is sweet! White above all that is white! Pure above all that is pure!  And this is the kind of fruit that we can feast upon so that we will never hunger or thirst again.  This is a spiritual fruit that can only be given us of the Lord Himself.

Maurine

This whole teaching of letting this seed grow up unto a tree of everlasting life is brilliant.  It is one of the hidden gems of the gospel.  A tree is deep rooted.  A tree is resilient.  A tree is strong and sturdy in a storm.  A tree goes deep to find nourishment given whatever soil it is planted in.  A tree grows tall and broad and can give shelter to others.  A tree can live for hundreds of productive years.  A tree can provide needed shade for young trees that are also trying to take root.

23 And now, my brethren, [Alma concludes] I desire that ye shall plant this word in your hearts, and as it beginneth to swell even so nourish it by your faith. And behold, it will become a tree, springing up in you unto everlasting life. And then may God grant unto you that your burdens may be light, through the joy of his Son.

Scot

That last reference is directly to the atonement of Jesus Christ—that our burdens may the light through the joy of his Son.  This is true and powerful and wonderful doctrine and worth pondering this week in our homes.

Now, Alma preached this powerful sermon on faith and then Amulek, his missionary companion, stood up and began to testify of the atonement of Jesus Christ and how the people must turn their whole hearts to the Savior.

Most of you who either had seminary or had children in seminary learned verses from this Alma, chapter 34:

14 And behold, this is the whole meaning of the law, every whit pointing to that great and last sacrifice; and that great and last sacrifice will be the Son of God, yea, infinite and eternal.

Remember, he is teaching a people who know and should be living the law of Moses.  So, he reminds them that every part of the law of Moses points to the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

Maurine

Amulek continues:

15 And thus he shall bring salvation to all those who shall believe on his name; this being the intent of this last sacrifice…

16 And thus mercy can satisfy the demands of justice, and encircles them in the arms of safety… therefore only unto him that has faith unto repentance is brought about the great and eternal plan of redemption. (Alma 34: 14-16)

In a world that does not feel safe anymore and uncertainty swirls around us, I want to be encircled in the arms of safety.

Scot

Maurine, as you know, I remember a time when, in a horrible experience, I didn’t feel the arms of safety.  May I tell that story?

Maurine

Of course.

Scot

My brother, Kirk, is very handsome and very built—strong as an ox. We roomed together in college when I was a freshman and he just got off his mission. In the first six weeks of rooming together at Ricks College we had 17 dinner appointments in girl’s apartments. It was magical! And we always told the girls to leave the kitchen after the meal and we would do the dishes and clean up everything. We roomed together when I got off my mission until Kirk finally got married.

We canoed and rafted together for 22 years. We did hundreds of miles of rivers including beautiful rivers near our home in Missouri: The Current River, the Jacks Fork, the Meramec and numerous others. We also ran many beautiful rivers of the west including: The Green River, The Snake, the Westwater Canyon of the Colorado, the Middle Fork and the Main Salmon. We even had crazy plans to run the wild Bio Bio River in Chile and the Zambezi River in Zambia!

Then, thirty years ago, on May 31, 1990, he and I, and twelve others found ourselves running the Selway River in the Bitterroot Wilderness Area of Northern Idaho. That evening we had the best campfire. We talked about things eternal. We read our scriptures in the tent with our flashlights. We had our prayers.

The next day, June 1, 1990, would prove to be the darkest day of my life.

There was an ominous feeling in the air that morning as we put in the river. The Selway was running high from the overabundance of spring rains and rapid snow melt in the mountains which also meant the river was running faster than normal and the water was extremely cold. Around noon things started happening in rapid succession.

We had pulled out above the most difficult part of the river—Ladle Rapid—to scout it and plan from the cliffs above how we would negotiate it.

Moments after we pulled out I heard the cry of my oldest brother, Paul, yelling with muffled sounds—HELP! HELP! You never use that word in running rivers unless you really mean it. All of us went into action. His cataraft had flipped just at the head of Ladle where we were to pull out, and he was trying to swim to shore and pull the more than 1,000 pounds of raft and gear with him in the river. He was being dragged into the swift headwaters of Ladle and in order to save him in the 38-degree water, he had to let go of the raft—that had all our food and gear for five days. Paul barely made it to shore.

MY boat and team had to launch immediately to try to rescue the cataraft—no scouting—no preparation—just launch and pursue. As we went through wave after wave and hole after hole, I had the worst feeling—I kept thinking about Kirk. I thought these rapids were too big with the water flowing as it was—and the dark and horrible thought came into my mind as we were in pursuit of the cataraft—that Kirk wasn’t going to make it.

With tremendous effort we were able to snatch the empty raft, tie a rope around an oar post, and pull it to shore before the next set of rapids where we would lose it altogether. At this strategic place, where the canyon was narrow and there was a view back up the river, we readied ourselves for rescue. I positioned myself on the flat knoll of a cliff about 30 feet above the river. Fear was gripping my soul and I had begun praying out loud, pleading for blessings to be upon each of the boats—but especially upon Kirk.

Finally, with eyes straining to see up river more than 400 yards, I spotted his bright blue raft—there was water splashing on either side of the boat so I knew they were working hard to get through and I was momentarily relieved. But then I focused my eyes again in the sunlight—NO ONE WAS IN THE BOAT! I cried out to the others below—READY FOR RESCUE!

Debris from the raft started floating by ahead of the raft itself—oars, paddles, river bags—it could not have been worse—but then I heard my friend below cry out—THERE’S A BODY IN THE WATER!

The river was sweeping the body away and I didn’t know who it was, but my spirit did know! One boat and another kayak went in pursuit of the body. It took them more than a mile of chase to get the body to shore and start CPR. And it was my beloved brother Kirk. For 45 minutes they administered CPR, trying with every fiber of their beings to save him. What they didn’t know was that in Ladle, his boat had been trapped in a keeper and then an enormous hydraulic of the river had popped the boat and flipped Kirk out and he broke his neck. He had drowned long before they could get to him.

17 Hours of Praying for God to Intervene

I cannot find words that can adequately express the pain and sorrow I felt about the terrible event of that day. I was racked with horror and shaken to the very core. My soul was rent with anguish and the deepest hurt I have ever felt. I cannot tell you of the pain that his wife and three children would suffer, nor the details of my 17-hours of praying without ceasing—pleading with God with my whole soul that He would intervene with a miracle in our behalf and to save Kirk.

But I came to realize that GOD DID INTERVENE. He sent His Only Begotten Son to earth that this pain that I suffered would be swallowed up in the Atonement of His Son just as Alma and Amulek taught us. Yes, it was not just to save us from our sins as we turn to Him, it was to swallow up the things in this life that we could not bear without Him.

“He is…a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief…Surely he hath born our griefs, and carried our sorrows,” the Prophet Isaiah recorded. (Isaiah 53:3,4)

Maurine

And your story is not uncommon. Most, if not all, have, at one time or another, had to carry sorrows almost too much to bear—the loss of a spouse—the loss of beloved brothers and tender sisters in their prime—the loss of parents too early—the losses of businesses and homes, or investments gone south; even the loss of a marriage, or of health and well-being—and yes, Scot, even we would come to know the loss of a daughter.  And others have lost children, living and dead.

Scot

These are burdens too heavy to carry. I could not carry the burden of Kirk’s loss alone. Even with Maurine’s love, compassion and tenderness for me at that time, and family and friends, it was not enough.

You see, in the grand design of this mortal sojourn—ALL THINGS TESTIFY OF HIM (Moses 6:63) and we will come to the point, usually over and over and over again—when the burdens and the sorrow and the grief and the pain is more than we can carry alone. And for these, whose load is too great, the Savior came to lift, to bless, to assuage, to heal, to rescue, to intervene in the deepest regions of our aching hearts—to save us and to redeem us from this world of pain.

Maurine

And THIS is the HOPE of CHRIST! This is the result of planting that seed Alma taught us to plant.  This is the tree that grows up inside of us—an everlasting tree of life whose fruit is delicious beyond description.  Christ’s promises are sure.  He is the one who offers us those arms of safety—even in the tremendous losses that we experience and the burdens that we have to bear—His arms of safety are indeed the only safe place in this world.

Thanks for listening.  That’s all for today.  We appreciate your support, your sharing these moments together.  Next week the lesson will cover Alma chapters 36-38 and is entitled: “Look to God and Live.”

Scot

Thanks for Paul Cardall for the beautiful music that accompanies this podcast and to Michaela Proctor Hutchins for producing this show.  See you next week.