I’ve mentioned that I have like a million favorite scriptures. Well, this is one of them, and it has a neat story to go with it.
12 And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the arock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your bfoundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty cstorm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.
The neat story comes from my mission. I had just become a senior companion, and my junior companion had barely been in the country a month. I hadn’t been in the country long myself—maybe seven or eight months. So my grasp of Korean was tenuous at best. This was a really scary time for me. I was primarily responsible for spreading the Word in an area covering several cities to people I could barely speak to, and my only help was somebody who could barely introduce himself.
One day, we were riding a bus to an outlying area because I loved to preach the Gospel in rural areas. I had with me a Korean Book of Mormon to give away. I was in the habit of marking a few favorite scriptures and writing my own testimony (the only competent Korean I spoke) before placing a Book. I was marking the Book on the bus, and the Spirit prompted me to mark Helaman 5:12.
I admit with embarassment that I had no idea what Helaman 5:12 said. I had Book of Mormon in seminary my Freshman year, and I didn’t take it too seriously. It was at 5:50 a.m., I wasn’t sleeping real well that year anyway (this was probably the darkest time of my life, especially in terms of not dealing well with my GID). Our teacher didn’t really drill scripture mastery. And while I read the Book of Mormon several times as a teenager, I hadn’t really studied intensely the way I do now. So I was thoroughly unfamiliar with Helaman 5:12.
I tried to blunder through it in Korean, but reading the Book of Mormon is in a whole different class than regular conversation. So I had no idea what it said. And I didn’t usually bring my English scriptures to knock doors.
But I had learned to trust the Spirit enough to know I should just do it. So I marked the scripture. While knocking doors that day, I placed the Book with a kind family that had no apparent interest in hearing our discussions, and I never saw them again. I have no idea what became of that Book, but I myself reaped enough of others’ seeds to trust that it was put to the Lord’s use.
In any case, wherever that Book went, it was a great instructional moment for me in trusting the Spirit. As soon as we got home, I opened my own scriptures, hoping I hadn’t marked a scripture about somebody murdering the Chief Judge or something. When I read it, I was floored. I cannot even comment on this scripture except to say read it, and you will see how the Spirit overcame me. I knew then what a true spiritual prompting felt like, because I knew this truly was one.
Yesterday was great because we read Helaman 5:12 in Sunday School, and like I said, it’s one of my favorite scriptures (probably top 5). Even better, that morning’s Mormon Tabernacle Choir broadcast had featured one of my favorite hymns, “How Firm a Foundation” (along with the beautiful “Homeward Bound” and the stirring “Arise, O God and Shine”).
“How Firm a Foundation”
How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said,
You, who unto Jesus for refuge have fled?
In every condition, in sickness, in health;
In poverty’s vale, or abounding in wealth;
At home and abroad, on the land, on the sea,
As thy days may demand, shall thy strength ever be.
Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen and help thee, and cause thee to stand
Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.
When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of woe shall not thee overflow;
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.
When through fiery trials thy pathways shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply;
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.
Even down to old age all My people shall prove
My sovereign, eternal, unchangeable love;
And when hoary hairs shall their temples adorn,
Like lambs they shall still in My bosom be borne.
The soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose,
I will not, I will not desert to its foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake.
(By the way, be sure to check out Mormon Soprano’s site to see an uplifting account of those who make this music happen. Also, check out her interview with Angela Johnson, and Angela’s own page. Wow!)
As Brother Lloyd Newell pointed out, those words have brought hope and peace to presidents, soldiers and saints for some 200 years. Joseph Smith learned of them for himself when he was imprisoned in liberty jail and he cried to the Lord to deliver him and smite the fiends who held him. The Lord’s loving rebuke was “The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than He?”.
When I am called to pass through deep waters, I can rely on Jehovah, the Almighty God, who has passed through them before. Let earth and Hell rage against the Saints—if they are grounded upon that Rock, that inimitable Foundation Stone who is Christ, they cannot fall. For when we are founded upon that Rock, our enemies are His enemies, and He has already conquered the enemy.
I thank the Lord for the Sabbath Day, when I am reminded of these things so well!