Friday, July 27, 2012

Captain of My Soul

I recently watched a popular television show that profiles fisherman as they work diligently to accomplish the task of fishing for crab.  These fisherman show the utmost courage, strength and stamina as they diligently strive to adapt to the constant unpredictability of the Bering Sea.

During this particular episode I watched fisherman that had been up for close to 3 days straight, literally barely functioning on seven hours of sleep in the last 60+ hours of straight labor.  They were absolutely exhausted; stumbling and wandering around the deck, seemingly lost with no direction.    The intricate system of smoothly catching crab began to crumble as each of them had lost all direction of what they were suppose to be doing.  They were weary and had given all they could to complete the task on their own.

Just when all hope of ever being able to complete the mission was lost, the captain who was positioned in the wheelhouse where he has a birds-eye view of all operations, spoke over the loud speaker of the boat to each individual crew member; greenhorn and deckhand alike: "Walk over to the port side and adjust the line", "Finish counting the crab on the table and then go help at the block", "Drop the pot and watch your footing."  The captain was clear and precise in his direction.  He was not impatient or abrupt, rather he was kind.  The captain explained that he knew his men were tired.  He knew they had been up for 3 days straight and they were losing their resilience and endurance.  He had compassion for their circumstance and was there to direct them as to what to do.  The captain's goal was united with the crews goal.  They were all on the same page: finish the task at hand and return home.

The kind and precise direction that the captain offered to his crew is reflective of the loving and individual direction that our Savior gives each of us.  He clearly and warmly leads and guides us.  It is only by way of His guidance and His direction that we can return home to our Father.

Ezra Taft Benson testifies in I Testify:

I testify that in our premortal state our Elder Brother in the spirit, even Jesus Christ, became our foreordained Savior in the Father’s plan of salvation.  He is the captain of our salvation and the only means through whom we can return to our Father in Heaven to gain that fullness of joy.
The story of the crab fishers does not end there however.  The captain freely offered his perfect direction, but it was up to the crew to accept and follow his guidance.  They each had agency to choose whether or not to act upon the direction given as well as agency to do it with a good attitude.  Folly turned to order as each crew member listening to the captain and willingly followed each instruction he gave.  One of the deckhands even acknowledged that he was bone-weary and couldn't function enough to complete the job on his own.  He was happy to have a captain who could see the big picture and decisively and accurately lead each of them to efficiently complete the job.  They expressed great gratitude for their captain and his guidance.

The captain and crew worked together as a team, the captain leading and the crew following, to successfully return home together.  We must do the same in order to return home safely.  The Savior leads us and we must follow. 

Ezra Taft Benson reflects this in Born of God:

Men changed for Christ will be captained by Christ.  Men captained by Christ will be consumed in Christ. May we be convinced that Jesus is the Christ, choose to follow Him, be changed for Him, captained by Him, consumed in Him, and  born again.
There are many times during this battle against my addiction that I find myself absolutely exhausted.  There are times I get sick of being an addict; tired of the constant bombardments of triggers that I can never seem to get away from.  Sometimes I get tired of all that is required of me to sustain my recovery.   Other times I get tired of the constant annoyance from Satan and his minions as they poke and prod at me in hopes to get me to slip and fall.  But no matter how I exhausted I get, I know that I have my Savior as the captain of my soul.  He is there leading and guiding me.  He is not weary, rather He is strong and alert of every circumstance I am in.  He sees the home port and knows how to direct me to get there.  All I am required to do is trust and follow Him.  And that - I will do.

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Ezekiel 34:11-12,16

"For thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick"