Saturday, October 08, 2005
Day 27: Earthquake in Islamabad: Comfort in Chaos
Fortunately, our restaurant in Islamabad is closed for the Islamic month of Ramadan, so my husband was able to fly over to join the rest of the family in the UAE. Our attempt to get information about the situation are severely hampered by the fact that a Malang, a “holy-man/begger” walked into the unlocked door of my husband’s apartment and stole his wallet while he was praying just a few days before his departure. My husband finished his prayer, refused the man’s request for “charity”, (They are all drug addicts and grossly pervert their own faith.) but later found his wallet was missing from his shirt that was hung by the door. Without his contact numbers, we’ve been playing international phone tag, calling one person to get another person’s phone number… etc.
We finally got our manager’s number; he and his family are okay. We won’t have news of our workers for many days. They are from the mountainous areas closer to the epicenter. Their greatest danger is from landslide. A tower of “luxury flats” near our home has received extensive damage. Conflicting information is coming in whether the whole tower or just the top two floors has collapsed. The 4 story plaza which houses our restaurant is undamaged. I was worried because although the quake is only 7.9 widespread corruption at every level of every governmental office means any building code requirements that may exist on paper, are not enforced if you put money into the right palm, or should I say in EVERY palm.
We know from the Book of Mormon that the Lord has two great agendas co-existing in the last days. 1) His marvelous work and wonder: The restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ. 2) The destruction of the wicked, often at the hands of the wicked through wars, terrorism, secret combinations, etc.
The Lord calls all men to "Come unto Him." The process is the same for people and nations of people. First he whispers to all through the gift of the Holy Spirit. This is the gentle call to repentance and the promise of the companionship of the Holy Spirit. All are blessed who heed this quiet call. When we answer the call to repent, be baptized and obey the commandments, we enjoy the companionship of the Holy Spirit through out all the good times and bad, triumphs and trials of our lives. Troubles will still come to us, temptations may beset us, BUT: we do not have to face these alone. We face them in partnership with our Savior who will consecrate all our trials for our good.
For those who ignore the first call, or who once heeded it, but have begun to wander from the influence of the quiet voice, he calls again, louder this time. Personal calamity, disaster, ill health or a thousand other ways God calls to the hard of hearing or those who have wandered “out of range” of the still small voice. This is an un-ignorable call that either sends us to our knees in humble prayer or has us cursing our “luck”, doubting God’s love or even his existence. Sometimes we suffer alone, sometimes we suffer in the millions, but those who suffer in spirit are those who are truly alone; the unrepentant; the people and nations who will not turn or return to God. (I’m not just talking about Church members or Christians here; I’m speaking in general terms of repentant, humble, and righteous versus unrepentant, proud, and worldly.
Thirdly, when they are above and beyond answering his whisper, or his shout, they are ripe with iniquity. Then he leaves them to suffer at the hands of their enemies to their utter destruction. God doesn’t cause the wars, etc, he just lets then occur and since the people will not repent and seek him, they are left truly defenseless, choosing the arm of flesh over the arm of God. How often does Christ lament that he would succor the wayward Jews or Nephites if they would repent and return. He cries for his lost children with real tears.
It seems impossible that these two goals can co-exist: gospel building and mass destruction, but they do. God has his work, his plan and nothing or no one will either stop the good (the spread of the gospel) or prevent the bad (the destruction of the wicked). But, through it all he has promised us over and over again, that “the righteous need not fear.”
He often protects the righteous. There are countless stories of miraculous survivals by church members, but his promise is much greater, more encompassing than meer earthly protection. He promises that NO matter what the outcome of any trial we encounter we face, ill health, war, natural calamity, we need not fear.
In the New Testament we are told not to worry about the damage to the body inflicted by our enemies, but to worry or fear for damage to our soul. Only we have the power to damage our soul through unrepentant sin. The promise the we “need not fear” means that live or die, through righteousness, we will overcome our trials and receive the greatest reward possible: to return to the presence of the Father.
Were righteous people killed in 9/11? Yes, they were. Do righteous people die because of war and invasion? By the Millions Were righteous people killed in the earthquake in Islamabad? Yes But the righteous need not fear that great and terrible day of judgment. God will judge each man by what level of truth and knowledge he had, and how he lived up to that level. And then, every person who repents of sins, accepts Christ as his Savior, either in this life or the next if he didn't have the opurtunity in mortality, will qualify for the full application of the Savior’s atonement and by his grace, after all that we can do, then we are saved!!! If the only fear we have is fear itself, then the righteous need only fear being unrighteous.
I’m grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ as restored through The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and The Book of Mormon. With these great tools in my life, I can understand the confusion and chaos that has befallen the world in these last days. I am aware of the spiritual significance of “worldly” events and I am unafraid because I know it is all part of Gods plan to spread the gospel, humble the proud and destroy the wicked. The world is not spinning out of control. God is at the helm and although we go through dark times and great trials, he is working his plan. Through his prophets he has revealed his plan to the righteous so they need not fear, but remain calm and work to carry out their part of his plan: the spreading of the Gospel in our homes, communities and around the world.
Joseph Smith Jr.
Joseph Smith Jr.