Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A messy toy room and the Second Coming - what they have in common

The Recent news stories and catastrophic events around the world have got me to thinkin' ... again...

My kids (ages 6 and 4) share a room so the other room can be used as a toy room. It is not cleaned every single day. I like that I can shut the door to this room and no one can see the mess. I have also adopted the philosophy that a messy toy room is some evidence that my children were playing with their toys instead of watching tv or playing computer games. (It makes me feel better about the mess! Ha, ha!)

However, at least once a week, that toy room needs a good cleaning. This isn't pretty as my sweet, adorable children have perfected their whining techniques claiming that I have asked them to do the impossible. But I stay strong. I didn't make the mess, they did. So, I've adopted the counting system. I give them a certain task within the mess and tell them to have it done by the time I count to 10. Usually, when I get to about 8, I start slowing down and even using fractions - 9 1/4, 9 1/2, 9 3/4 and then I take an extended deep breath before I say the number 10.  Sometimes, if I have gone to another room while they are cleaning, I come down the hall toward the toy room counting very loudly so they know I am on my way and they better finish things up. Why? I want them to succeed. I want them to complete the task. I love them. (and they are still young enough that this is an effective system) :)

"What in the world does all of this have to do with Jesus Christ?" you ask.

Well, let me tell you...
There has been a lot of talk lately about predictions of the Savior's Second Coming. Some people claim to know when this is going to happen. Some people think these people are crazy. Some people feel afraid. Some people don't care a single bit.

Remember, Satan flat out lies but he often takes the truth and twists it. The truth is that Jesus Christ will come again. He WILL It has been prophesied since even before He came the first time that He would come a second time. Here's one example:

"Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me; and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts." (Malachi 3:1 Old Testament)
Artist: Harry Anderson, painted for the Washington DC LDS Temple

Did that happen the first time He came? No. So it is a verse that is obviously referring to His second coming - a time when the whole world will KNOW without a doubt that Jesus was and is the Christ because He will not come as a little babe in Bethlehem. He will come as our King and He will reign in righteousness and glory and He will establish a perfect, peaceful kingdom. (I think this is a hard concept to grasp for those of us who live in an imperfect, non-peaceful world - which just happens to be all of us. But just because we can't comprehend it, doesn't mean it won't happen.)

So, yes, Jesus will come again. It is not a matter of if, it is a matter of when. But satan still tries to spread the lie that Jesus won't come. If satan can't convince you that Jesus won't come, maybe then he twists the "when". He convinces some people that they can know the exact day and time of the Savior's second coming.Why? Who knows. he just likes to get in there and wreck havoc wherever we are vulnerable.

Jesus HIMSELF said, "Of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only." (Matthew 24:36) He reissued this statement in modern day revelation: "...but the hour and the day no man knoweth, neither the angels in heaven, nor shall they know until he comes." (Doctrine and Covenants 49:7)

Back to my kids and their toy room. They know I'm coming down the hall because I told them in the beginning that I would come when time was up. They don't know the exact moment I will come. They can guesstimate but that's it. And if they have been listening, they have heard me counting the whole time so they can know when time is almost up and they better get moving  if they are going to be finished with their tasks in time.

So, aren't we all Heavenly Father's children? Yes. Often, we are a bunch of young children who need little incentives and reminders like our Father counting to 10 to motivate us to get things done.

The thing is that He has been counting to 10 for a very long time now. Those who have ears to hear and hearts to understand have been paying attention. We know that the time of our Savior coming again is very close. How close we don't know but it is probably safe to say Heavenly Father is at the point of using fractions like 9 1/2 and 9 3/4. He's coming down the hall toward the toy room and He's counting very loudly so as to get our attention so that we can be ready.

(When you visualize this, don't see Him as a gruff, mean, Father stomping His feet, ready to point out that we didn't do what He asked. Remember He loves us so much He let His Son suffer and die for us. He did not send us here to fail. Picture Him as the loving, patient, yet wise Father He is. Pray to know that Father.)

Unfortunately, one way our Father must "count loudly" so as to get our attention is by allowing wickedness, war and turmoil. "The prophets have warned that the earth will experience great turmoil, wickedness, war and suffering. The prophet Daniel said that the time before the Second Coming would be a time of trouble such as the earth has never known (see Daniel 12:1). We can expect earthquakes, disease, famines, great storms, lightnings, and thunder and hailstorms." (Doctrine and Covenants 88:90 - 91; Matthew 24:7; Doctrine and Covenants 29:16) (Gospel Principles: Lesson 43 "Signs of the Second Coming")

Sound familiar? Watch the news lately? How many times have you heard over the past few years that a weather-related catastrophe is the worst in recorded history? Our Father is counting and warning and doing all He can to help us be ready for that day when His Son, our Savior, comes again. He doesn't do this because He likes destruction and watching us suffer. Quite the contrary! (I've had to take toys away from my children just to help them finish their task. Not because I like to see them cry, but because I know they need to know that I'm serious about what I have asked them to do.) He does this because He loves us enough to do whatever it takes to help us be ready. He knows that the sadness and anguish we will feel at the Savior's Second Coming if we are not ready, will far outweigh any anguish we might feel now. He WANTS us to succeed. He would that ALL of His children would make themselves ready. But He will never force us so He does what a perfect Father would do, all He canIt is His work and glory, remember? (Moses 1:39)

Whether the destruction around the world is happening in your town or not, it is still a message to the whole world. We must pay attention to these events. Not to make us depressed or afraid, but so that we can be ready.

While cleaning the toy room, my children often become distracted by their toys. My daughter starts setting up the doll house - claiming she is sorting through the toys. My son begins a whole train/star wars/cars saga. Similarly, satan has been very successful at getting us to distract ourselves so that we won't be ready. We can be involved in so many wonderful and worthwhile activities. But if these activities are keeping us from preparing ourselves for our Savior's second coming then something needs to be rearranged.

We can listen for the counting and make ourselves ready, or not. It is our choice - completely OUR choice.

In giving some signs of His second coming, the Savior once said, "I tell you these things because of your prayers; wherefore, treasure up wisdom in your bosoms, lest the wickedness of men reveal these things unto you by their wickedness, in a manner which shall speak in your ears with a voice louder than that which shall shake the earth; but if ye are prepared ye shall not fear." D&C 38:30

Oh, and one more thing...I mentioned that sometimes I leave the room while my kids are cleaning. But usually, I stay right there with them, helping them clean up their mess, even though I am not the one who made the mess. Sound like Someone else we know? Yup.  Our Father and our Brother are much more involved in our lives than we know - I have no doubt.

The Second Coming of Jesus Christ is not a day that we need to fear. It is a day we can look forward to. It is a day to pray for and a day to prepare for.

Listen to how the Savior describes what our world will be like once He has returned:
"But, verily I say unto you that in time ye shall have no king nor ruler, for I will be your king and watch over you. Wherefore, hear my voice and follow me, and you shall be a  free people, and ye shall have no laws but my laws when I come, for I am your lawgiver, and what can stay my hand?" (Doctrine and Covenants 38:21-22)

I was not able to find the artist of this painting. If anyone knows, please share your info with me.

Wowsers! I wanna be there! 

Okay, one more one more thing, it's not just destruction and doom and gloom that signifies that the Savior's Second Coming is near. There are also promises of increased righteousness, the Gospel spreading to all the earth, temples, and churches being set up as safe places to gather. If we are prepared, we don't have to fear. So, we kinda need to actually prepare.

 "Fear not, little flock, the kingdom is yours until I come. Behold, I come quickly. Even so. Amen" 
(Doctrine and Covenants 35:27)  
This amazing painting was done by John McNaughton. Read his thoughts here and see more of his paintings:

There is so much that could be written here. I've only skimmed the surface. If you want to study more, here is a good starting place, "Preparation for the Second Coming" by Elder Dallin H. Oaks

Elder Oaks points out, "
"What if the day of His coming were tomorrow? If we knew that we would meet the Lord tomorrow—through our premature death or through His unexpected coming—what would we do today? What confessions would we make? What practices would we discontinue? What accounts would we settle? What forgivenesses would we extend? What testimonies would we bear?
If we would do those things then, why not now? Why not seek peace while peace can be obtained?"

He then says, "We are surrounded by challenges on all sides (see 2 Cor. 4:8–9). But with faith in God, we trust the blessings He has promised those who keep His commandments. We have faith in the future, and we are preparing for that future. To borrow a metaphor from the familiar world of athletic competitions, we do not know when this game will end, and we do not know the final score, but we do know that when the game finally ends, our team wins. We will continue to go forward “till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done” (History of the Church, 4:540). 

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