I love to see the joy in the faces of people who rescue dogs from shelters. It is only surpassed by the joy on the dogs’ faces. And so often the people later comment that the dogs actually rescued them. They had been faced with a broken heart or a broken spirit, and this loyal, loving creature made them feel valued again.
Truly, we all need rescuing from time to time. And we carve the names into our hearts, of those who have selflessly stepped up to pull us from the mire. It could be a bishop who gave you unforgettable moral counsel. It could be a parent who intervened to prevent an addiction. It could be a dear friend who insisted you date her brother, and that became your amazing husband. It could even be someone who merely listened, and made you feel seen and supported.
We all experience being lost. Either we make unwise choices or things happen that are outside of our control. We need our fellow man to pull us out of traffic, or to give us CPR, or to hold us when we’re grieving. Loss is part of mortality, and learning to accept change should not be attempted all alone. We’re meant to lean on one another, to draw strength from one another, and to accept service and kindness.
Many of us are independent types; we want to solve our predicament ourselves. But isn’t it wiser to do it Heavenly Father’s way? His way is to reach out to Him. Through prayer and meditation we can learn what to do. It may be something we’ve never considered. And God definitely uses other people to answer our prayers. We must open our hearts and our arms, and let others close enough to buoy us up.
Camilla Kimball once said, “Never suppress a generous thought.” I’d like to add, “and never turn one down because this could be someone God has sent to help you.” We must allow others to give service or we deprive them of that special feeling of doing good to others.
Part of doing it God’s way is to accept Christ’s amazing atonement, and to enact that power here and now, to help us through the challenges of life. We were never meant to be singular robots in a lonely, sterile world. Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf has said, “Our beloved Savior knows where you are. He knows your heart. He wants to rescue you.”
Seek out a Priesthood Blessing. These can rescue us as well. Here’s your chance to literally know God’s will, and receive personal guidance.
Look for your problem in the topical guide of our scriptures, then study the verses on that subject. Look up quotes from leaders on that topic, too. I have a couple of quotes posted on my computer monitor. One says, “Don’t tell God how big your storm is. Tell the storm how big your God is.” Another says, “A blessing is anything that brings you closer to God.” Certain quotes penetrate our hearts and lift us to a place of greater faith and courage.
Visit the temple. Even though most are not fully open again, just walking on the grounds can bring a sense of peace and clarity. The Spirit can speak to you and direct you through whatever calamity you face.
Remember you are cared about by your ancestors as well. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland said, “In the gospel of Jesus Christ, you have help from both sides of the veil, and you must never forget that. When disappointment and discouragement strike, you remember and never forget that if our eyes could be opened we would see horses and chariots of fire as far as the eye can see riding at reckless speed to come to our protection.” I’ve often said it will be fascinating, once we’re on the other side, to learn of all the times we were rescued and we didn’t even know it.
Let’s also remember that truly, we are already rescued by our Savior Jesus Christ. He has paid for us with his blood, we are his, and we need only repent to qualify for exaltation. What a glorious, unfathomable gift.
There’s another side of this coin: We need to be in the business of rescuing others. In fact, that’s a tried-and-true recipe for joy and peace. When we help others—even in the midst of our own trials—our souls are lifted. Sometimes our troubles come into better, and smaller, focus. We are better able to resist sinking into dark despair. We open the channel for further promptings, as well.
When we feel prompted to call someone or to drop by, we could be responding to someone’s desperate need. No one is immune from crisis. When you think, “Oh, she’s always strong; she doesn’t need me to come over,” you could very well be wrong.
Just as when we think we’re rescuing a pound puppy, we can discover that our attempt at rescue actually did rescue us! Helping an elderly woman get into bed each night might look like a tedious task to others, but only you will know that it made you feel something more. Love enlarged your heart. Sacrifice purified your thoughts. Gentleness vanquished your anger. A simple act taught you what’s really important in life. You learned respect for all human beings.
Service is typical of Christ. When we are doing what He would do, we are emulating Him and becoming like Him. Saving, rescuing, reaching out to someone who has fallen away—these are all ways to show Christ that we’re trying to be like him. And it’s working. There’s a glow in the countenances of people who serve. It cannot be purchased or borrowed. In tiny increments, we do become more like Him when we serve and love others.
And rescuing others never puts them in our debt because we’ve gained so much, in so many ways, ourselves. It’s sacred ground, isn’t it? We’ve done what Christ would do, and what He’s waiting for us to do. Let’s never let Him down.
Hilton’s books, humor blog, and Youtube Mom videos can be found on her website. She currently serves as an Inter-Faith Specialist for Church Communications.