Due to some things that have gone on in my life recently, I’ve had a lot of time to reflect and pray to the Lord to try to find direction. Some days are hard, really hard. Some days are great and it’s like I don’t have a care in the world. I guess that’s just how life is.
There have been moments in my life when I didn’t think I could take the pain. I’d rather not give specific examples, but there have been days that I thought my heart was going to burst from fear, anger, confusion, and being alone. In those times I’ve felt very lost and very frightened. On one of those nights when I was serving a mission in Taiwan, the only thing I could think of was the song lyrics from a Mercy Me song that goes, “Can I climb up in your lap? I don’t want to leave.”
The song is called "I've Got To Keep Singing." So, that’s what I did. Now, I’m an adult. I don’t live with my parents, and I don’t call my dad crying when I need something. However, in a sense, I do call/pray to my Father in Heaven when I need something, and sometimes that’s just to come into his arms and be held for a little while. It doesn’t happen all the time, but sometimes it’s the only thing that keeps me going.
I had a friend in college show me the song “Seven Days of Lonely” by I Nine. I love that song, maybe a little too much. It kind of became our song, I guess in a weird way. There is a line in the chorus that says, “God I wish you could hold me, through the seven days of lonely.” Now, I know full well that she is talking about her boyfriend that she just broke up with. However, now when I listen to it, I like to put a comma after the word God, and think of it as actually speaking to my Heavenly Father. “God, I wish you could hold me, through the seven days of lonely.”
I’m sure I’ve talked about one of my favorite CES Devotionals on here, but there is a part in one of them that is particularly applicable to this. Sometimes in those moments of terror we can’t think of the future. We need help right then! In those moments, sometimes to survive all we can think about is the next hour, minute, or second.
I like how Elder Christofferson describes this moment, “Asking God for our daily bread, rather than our weekly, monthly, or yearly bread, is also a way to focus us on the smaller, more manageable bits of a problem. To deal with something very big, we may need to work at it in small, daily bites. Sometimes all we can handle is one day (or even just part of one day) at a time. Let me give you a nonscriptural example.
A book I read recently, titled Lone Survivor, recounts the tragic story of a four-man team of U.S. Navy SEALs on a covert mission in a remote sector of Afghanistan five and one-half years ago. When they were inadvertently discovered by shepherds—two men and a boy—these specially trained Navy servicemen had a choice either to kill the two or let them go, knowing that if they let them live they would disclose the team’s location and they would be attacked immediately by al Qaeda and Taliban forces. Nevertheless, they let the innocent shepherds go, and in the firefight that followed, only the author, Marcus Luttrell, survived against well over 100 attackers.
In his book, Luttrell recounts the extreme training and endurance required for one to qualify as a SEAL in the U.S. Navy. In Luttrell’s training group, for example, of the 164 men who began, only 32 managed to complete the course. They endured weeks of near-constant physical exertion, in and out of cold ocean water, swimming, paddling and carrying inflatable boats, running in sand, doing hundreds of push-ups a day, carrying logs through obstacle courses, and so forth. They were in a near-perpetual state of exhaustion.
I was impressed by something a senior officer said to the group as they began the final and most demanding phase of their training.
‘First of all,’ he said, ‘I do not want you to give in to the pressure of the moment. Whenever you’re hurting bad, just hang in there. Finish the day. Then, if you’re still feeling bad, think about it long and hard before you decide to quit. Second, take it one day at a time. One [phase] at a time.
“Don’t let your thoughts run away with you, don’t start planning to bail out because you’re worried about the future and how much you can take. Don’t look ahead to the pain. Just get through the day, and there’s a wonderful career ahead of you.’ 1
Generally it is good to try to anticipate what is coming and prepare to deal with it. At times, however, this captain’s counsel is wise: ‘Take it one day at a time. … Don’t look ahead to the pain. Just get through the day.’ To worry about what is or may be coming can be debilitating. It can paralyze us and make us quit.”
Here is a link to that talk. Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread. I heard this talk when I was in my senior year of college. I was taking 21 credits and new that my scholarship was about to run out. I knew that I had to pass all of my classes in order to graduate, and I knew that it wouldn’t be easy. I had to plan out every day. I had to plan out which homework to do first, and I had to make time for work and fun as well. I listened to the advice given in this talk, and everything worked out. Was it easy? No. Would I want to do it again? No. Were there tears shed? Yes. However when we take things one day at a time, and put our trust in the Lord, he won’t fail us. If we ask, he'll lift us up. He'll hold us.