19 September 2011

Pressing Forward and Clinging

A couple weeks ago I finished the Book of Mormon again. I mostly listened to it and had a good experience but nothing special.  After finishing I considered reading something else like the New Testament or the Doctrine & Covenants but decided that I needed to read the Book of Mormon again. When I started it again, I said a special prayer to help me get more out of it this time. I really wanted to try to study and learn instead of just being able to check off that I listened to it during the day.

So a couple days ago I was reading in 1 Nephi and came across this passage in Chapter 8 verse 24:
And it came to pass that I beheld others pressing forward, and they came forth and caught hold of the end of the rod of iron; and they did press forward through the mist of darkness, aclinging to the rod of iron, even until they did come forth and partake of the bfruit of the tree.
For those that aren't familiar with what is happening in this chapter, Lehi has seen a vision of the Tree of Life. Instead of explaining it further, I recommend you go and read the whole chapter.  The vision basically symbolizes our journey through life and eventual goal to reach eternal life. So back to the verse above...

Two things jumped out at me in this verse. The phrase "pressing forward" and "clinging". I loved the imagery these brought to my mind. The people in Lehi's vision were pressing forward through the mist of darkness. The new that they couldn't just wander through life without guidance and hope to reach their goal of eternal life, they needed something to hold on to. They also didn't wait for it to come to them, they worked hard to get there. When I think of someone pressing forward I think about an athlete in a race. I swam in High School and can remember having to be in the 500 yard event. Distance was not my thing. I could do just fine on sprints and even short distance events but the 500 was murder. There was a time I can remember where I didn't think I was going to finish, my body could not move any more. I knew I couldn't give up though, I had to keep going. I pressed forward through that water and even though I finished dead last, I finished. It took all the strength I had but I did it. I pressed forward, I didn't stop until I reached my goal. That's what I see these people in Lehi's dream doing.

And then once they got to the Iron Rod they clung to it. They didn't just touch it or even hold on to it, they clung to it like it was their life support. They had worked so hard getting out of the mists of darkness that they hung on to the rod with dear life as they walked forward. They knew that if they let go there was a chance they could fall into the mists of darkness and be lost again. Back to the swimming analogy: Sometimes pools are deeper than you can touch when you finish a race--let's face it most swimming pools are deeper than I can touch being 5'2"--but when you get to the end of a race and you can't touch, the wall is all you have to hold on to. You cling to that wall and don't let go. If you do, you would sink.

The Gospel, Jesus Christ and the Book of Mormon are the things that we need to be pressing forward to get to and clinging on to when we get them. Life takes work. Having a testimony of the Atonement and the gospel take work. We need to not be wanderers in the mists of darkness, hoping that we will find the Iron rod to hold on to, but we should press forward until we find it and cling onto it when we do. Our life and salvation depend on it.


Cheryl said...

You are going to hate me and my comment, but I just read Elder Bednar's article in the October Ensign and he gives insight into the term "clinging" in Lehi's Dream, and it's not really favorable.

Just read it. I feel bad for even bringing this up, because I love your analogy and how your testimony has been strengthened --definitions of terms aside. It doesn't really matter. I just thought you might like to know instead of reading it on your own and being surprised by it like I was. I honestly always thought "clinging" was what I was supposed to do!

And I <3 you.

flip flop mama said...

Well now you have me all worried I'm sharing false doctrine! We haven't gotten the October Ensign yet so I'll have to look out for it when I get it.

Julie said...

I love this, Flip. Love it. I like that image ad steadfastness and holding on for dear life. I have felt that "clinging" feeling lately as I've been studying more intently. I need it daily. I feel more connected and dependent on the Gospel right now and I really appreciate it.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts about these scriptures- they strengthened my testimony today.

Mother of the Wild Boys said...

I love how the Book of Mormon can teach us different things at different times. I really enjoyed your insights. Thanks for sharing. :)

Melissa said...

I think I go through stages... there are times when I'm clinging... hoping just to stay on the path and move an inch or two in the right direction. But I think there are other times when I'm on the path. I'm moving forward and have more of a firm hand on the Iron Rod :)

I haven't gotten the Oct. Ensign either... I'll be curious to read that article though!!