Last week I posted an article on Overcoming Manufactured and Authentic Fear. In that I shared that fear comes from a lack of knowledge of a plan of action, and that God has billions of plans in motion. Faith overcomes fear by trusting in God’s planning for our lives and for our nation, and in his divine timing. Something I’m learning is that God’s timing is designed to stretch our faith. It’s part of his personal plan for our lives to take us to the “4th watch” just before the dawn before he comes to deliver us, thereby causing us to trust more and see miracles unfold even in the final moments of darkness. These miracles provide places of safety, seemingly out of nowhere. It may seem as only a coincidence, yet, that’s what most miracles are.
There is a scripture verse we’ve all probably seen shared more lately. It is a powerful scripture of a personal and national reminder that God rules in the affairs of men and only by centering our hearts upon Him can we have peace and safety in our homes and lands.
2 Chronicles 7:14. If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
Who are those people called by God’s name? Those striving to take his name upon them. They become the salt of the earth and covenant, or adopt a mission, to savor truth and preserve God’s ways. When they act within that agency, and follow this divine formula, God hears them and sees their works of faithfulness and forgives them and heals the land (prospers the land and people).
While reading that verse I did a search in Scripture Notes for:
Heal and land
I wanted to see if there were other similar verses. There is one other that came up. Nephi wrote of Moses:
2 Nephi 25:20. And now, my brethren, I have spoken plainly that ye cannot err. And as the Lord God liveth that brought Israel up out of the land of Egypt, and gave unto Moses power that he should heal the nations after they had been bitten by the poisonous serpents, if they would cast their eyes unto the serpent which he did raise up before them, and also gave him power that he should smite the rock and the water should come forth; yea, behold I say unto you, that as these things are true, and as the Lord God liveth, there is none other name given under heaven save it be this Jesus Christ, of which I have spoken, whereby man can be saved.
Nephi points out that if the nations (in this case the 12 nation tribes of Israel) wanted to be healed and have their land rid of poisonous serpents, they had to physically turn to the brass serpent which was the symbol of the Lord.
These miracles seem extraordinary to us because we don’t live in a day of extreme circumstances like they did. But I believe that is on the horizon and just like then, we will need miracles to protect and preserve us from these events. The prophet Jeremiah who saw our day said the miracles of our day would cause us to no more talk about the miracles of the exodus from Egypt due to the amazing things that are about to take place.
14. Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that it shall no more be said, The Lord liveth, that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt;
15. But, The Lord liveth, that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north, and from all the lands whither he had driven them: and I will bring them again into their land that I gave unto their fathers.
The gathering as we have thought about it in the past will be even more miraculous in days to come.
In Maslow’s famous hierarchy of needs pyramid, survival (food, water, heat) is the foundation layer, and safety is the next most important concern shown just above that. He labels these as basic needs. The next couple layers are psychological needs which cover belonging and esteem. The highest layer is self-actualization which is achieving your highest self. The gospel provides the framework to achieve all these things but for this post and what’s coming, we need to be grounded in our faith that the Lord will provide for our basic needs.
For this post I did several searches in Scripture Notes until I settled on this term:
There are 39 verses in scripture that use this word. Creating a collection note from the search, I set it up with:
Title: The Lord Provides Places of Safety
Tags: Safety, Refuge
Categories: Quote (because I’ll be adding the quotes below)
I went through the verses and removed those that weren’t totally relevant to safety within the context of divine protection such as safety in combat situations. Here’s a few things I learned.
I then thought about other terms that relate to this and did a search for:
There are 54 results and many of the early ones talk about cities of refuge for manslayers. A different topic I won’t get into here, but if you press Ctrl-F in your browser with a search like this up, you can highlight all the terms for refuge and quickly skim the verses as you see in the image below.
As I reviewed the verses and removed irrelevant ones, I found there were 30 verses talking about the Lord providing refuge to the righteous or the wicked not having it. Now I was wishing I’d started with a search for:
Safety or refuge
That would have put all of them in one list and now I found myself dragging about 30 verses into the collection note. A future feature of Scripture Notes will be the ability to drag an entire set of search result or collection note verses into an existing collection note so you don’t have to drag each individually like this:
These refuge verses added to my notes above.
There is one other great verse set to add to your collection in Alma 26:5-7 about the Lord gathering his people and protecting them.
The bottom line is this. God prepares places of security for his people. An ark gets built. Food gets preserved. People are made invisible to the eyes of evil. Miracles take place. For some it will be our job to construct modern day “arks.” For others on different plans, it will be their job to be in tune to get into those “arks” when the time is right. When all things are in commotion and people’s hearts fail them, pray for charity and let not your heart be troubled.
Here is a collection of prophetic quotes on safety and protection. These can be added to your collection note and serve as powerful reminders of the Lord’s preparations for the faithful.
“Why worry about future calamities or uncertainties over which you have no control? Your righteous character magnifies the probability that you will never have to suffer them.”
(Richard G. Scott, “The Sustaining Power of Faith in Times of Uncertainty and Testing,” Ensign, May 2003, 75).
“The giant earthquake, and the tsunami it sent crashing into the coasts around the Indian Ocean, is just the beginning and a part of what is to come, terrible as it was.
You remember the words from the Doctrine and Covenants which now seem so accurate: (quotes D&C 88:88-91)
Fear shall come upon all people. But you and I know that the Lord has prepared places of safety to which he is eager to guide us…. It will be our choice whether or not to move up or stay where we are. But the Lord will invite and guide us upward by the direction of the Holy Ghost….
I did not plan to speak to you about the hard times that are ahead and they are real, and they are coming….”
(Henry B. Erying, Raise the Bar, January 25, 2005, BYU-Idaho)
“Be of good cheer. The future is as bright as your faith.”
(President Thomas S. Monson, April 2009 General Conference)
“Some live with an unspoken fear of what awaits us and the Church in the world. It grows ever darker in morality and spirituality. If we will gather into the Church, live the simple principles of the gospel, live moral lives, keep the Word of Wisdom, tend to our priesthood and other duties, then we need not live in fear. The Word of Wisdom is a key to both physical health and revelation. Avoid tea, coffee, liquor, tobacco, and narcotics.
We can live where we wish, doing the best we can to make a living, whether modest or generous. We are free to do as we wish with our lives, assured of the approval and even the intervention of the Almighty, confident of constant spiritual guidance….
We face the challenge of raising families in the world in darkening clouds of wickedness. Some of our members are unsettled, and sometimes they wonder: Is there any place one can go to escape from it all? Is there another town or a state or a country where it is safe, where one can find refuge? The answer generally is no. The defense and the refuge is where our members now live.
The Book of Mormon prophesies, “Yea, and then shall the work commence, with the Father among all nations in preparing the way whereby his people may be gathered home to the land of their inheritance” (3 Nephi 21:28).
Those who come out of the world into the Church, keep the commandments, honor the priesthood, and enter into activity have found the refuge…
We are not to be afraid, even in a world where the hostilities will never end. The war of opposition that was prophesied in the revelations continues today. We are to be happy and positive. We are not to be afraid. Fear is the opposite of faith…
We know that the homes we establish, and those of our descendants, will be the refuge spoken of in the revelations—the “light,” the “standard,” the “ensign” for all nations, and the “refuge” against the gathering storms (see D&C 115:5–6; Isaiah 11:12; 2 Nephi 21:12).”
Boyd K. Packer, October 2006 Conference, “A Defense and a Refuge”
“We do not say that all of the Saints will be spared and saved from the coming day of desolation. But we do say there is no promise of safety and no promise of security except for those who love the Lord and who are seeking to do all that he commands” (Elder Bruce R. McConkie in GC Apr. 1979, 133; or Ensign, May 1979, 93).
“We must both learn what these signs are and then identify them correctly when they occur. They can and will strengthen our faith in Christ and His prophets, if we know the scriptures. Just as in the days of Noah, a way is already prepared for the escape of the Lord’s elect Latter-Day Saints, if they are in tune with His prophets.”
Elder H. Aldridge (Second Quorum of the Seventy) LDS Business College Devotional, February 8th, 2005
“Thus, clearly, the Lord has placed the responsibility for directing the work of gathering in the hands of the leaders of the Church to whom he will reveal his will where and when such gatherings would take place in the future.
It would be well before the frightening events concerning the fulfillment of all God’s promises and predictions are upon us, that the Saints in every land prepare themselves and look forward to the instruction that shall come to them from the First Presidency of this Church as to where they shall be gathered and not be disturbed in their feelings until such instruction is given to them as it is revealed by the Lord to the proper authority.”
Harold B. Lee Conference Report, April 1948
“….that the Saints of God may have a place to flee to and stand in holy places while judgment works in the earth; that when the sword of God that is bathed in heaven falls upon Idumea, or the world,—when the Lord pleads with all flesh by sword and by fire, and the slain of the Lord are many, the Saints may escape these calamities by fleeing to the places of refuge, like Lot and Noah.”
Wilford Woodruff – (History of the Church, 6:26)
“…for without Zion, and a place of deliverance, we must fall; because the time is near when the sun will be darkened, and the moon turn to blood, and the stars fall from the heaven, and the earth reel to and fro.
Then, if this is the case, and if we are not sanctified and gathered to the places God has appointed, with all our former professions and our great love for the Bible, we must fall; we cannot stand; we cannot be saved; for God will gather out his saints from the Gentiles, and then comes desolation and destruction, and none can escape except the pure in heart who are gathered.”
Joseph Smith The teaching of the prophet Joseph Smith, Section 2, P.71
“In addition to all temporal blessings, there is no other way for the Saints to be saved in these last days, than by gathering….”
Joseph Smith DHC 4:272
“Great and grand as is this people, mighty as are the works that have been accomplished through the blessings of God through his servants in these days, there is too little real prayer among the Latter-day Saints, too many prayerless homes, and hence the spread of spiritual contagion among some of us. Thank the Lord not among many, relatively speaking. I have faith in my people, for I knew that they are the Lord’s people, and I am proud to be one of them; but when the cry shall come, as come it shall: “To your tents, O Israel,” for there are struggles ahead, the Lord knows where to find those who have been faithful.”
James E. Talmage, Conference Report, October 1921, p.188
There is no disease, no army, no threat that God isn’t fully aware of. When the world says be fearful, it is our duty to live by faith and not fear. Put our full faith and confidence in God, not man, and our lives will take the right direction to the right destination. That destination will be a refuge from the approaching storms. Then we will welcome the angelic voice, “fear not, for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy. Zion and the Lord cometh.”
(Featured image by Marc Venema @ 123rf.com)
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