Wednesday, May 25, 2011

"Fear not...."

In a revelation to Joseph Smith, the Lord said, I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up” (Doctrine and Covenants 84:88; emphasis added). This assuring promise that God will not leave us alone to face the challenges of life gives me hope and comfort. 

The brief account of the Syrian invasion of Israel found in the sixth chapter of the Book of Second Kings illustrates the reality of this promise. Confronted by the invading Syrian army, the prophet, Elisha, told the king of Israel of the Syrian plans, thus enabling the Israelites to avoid facing the Syrians in battle. The king of Syria grew frustrated with the Israelites ability to know his armies movements and thought a spy was giving this information to the Israelites. His servants told him that there were no spies, but that Elisha told the Israelites of the Syrians plans. The king of Syria learned where Elisha was staying and sent forces at night to capture him. In the morning when Elisha’s servant looked around, he saw the hosts of Syria surrounding the city. He asked Elisha, “Alas, my master! how shall we do?” (2 Kings 6:15). Elisha answered him, “Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them” (2 Kings 6:16; emphasis added). His message was to let faith replace the fear. Elisha then prayed, “Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see” (2 Kings 6:17), whereupon, “The Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha” (2 Kings 6:17; emphasis added). There was no need to fear for the Lord’s host of angels was far great and more powerful than the forces of the king of Syria. 

From another time and setting, the following account illustrates the same reality that angels can and will attend us and “bear us up”:

Thirteen-year-old Sherrie underwent a 14-hour operation for a tumor on her spinal cord. As she regained consciousness in the intensive care unit, she said: ‘Daddy, Aunt Cheryl is here, … and … Grandpa Norman … and Grandma Brown … are here. And Daddy, who is that standing beside you? … He looks like you, only taller. … He says he’s your brother, Jimmy.’ Her uncle Jimmy had died at age 13 of cystic fibrosis.

“For nearly an hour, Sherrie … described her visitors, all deceased family members. Exhausted, she then fell asleep.

“Later she told her father, ‘Daddy, all of the children here in the intensive care unit have angels helping them.’” (Kent F. Richards, “The Atonement Covers All Pain,” Ensign, May 2008).

For me the message is clear, we have no need to fear in times of need for a loving Heavenly Father will send His angels to support us and bear us up. All we need to do is have faith.

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