I have on occasion cited the need for many reservoirs in our lives to provide for our needs. I have said, “Some reservoirs are to store water. Some are to store food, as we do in our family welfare program and as Joseph did in the land of Egypt during the seven years of plenty. There should also be reservoirs of knowledge to meet the future needs; reservoirs of courage to overcome the floods of fear that put uncertainty in our lives; reservoirs of physical strength to help us meet the frequent burdens of work and illness; reservoirs of goodness; reservoirs of stamina; reservoirs of faith.
“Yes, especially reservoirs of faith, so that when the world presses in upon us, we stand firm and strong; when the temptations of a decaying [and, I should add, increasingly permissive and wicked] world about us draw on our energies, sap our spiritual vitality, and seek to pull us down, we need a storage of faith that can carry youth, and later adults, over the dull, the difficult, the terrifying moments; disappointments; disillusionments; and years of adversity, want, confusion, and frustration.
There is much focus in the gospel about being self-reliant and prepared for the future. Unfortunately, I think the lesson that many of us focus on (myself included) in this is the temporal: food storage, staying out of debt, having emergency savings, and so forth. Obviously, without these basic needs, it is hard to focus on emotional and spiritual needs. But, in the intense self-examination that has taken place in my life over the past months, I have realized that not only have I neglected this basic commandment we all understand, but I have also neglected the principle underlying it President Kimball teaches.
From someone who has been through the most difficult trials life has brought me thus far (chronic illness, job losses, a great wake-up to my own weakness), it has become hard to not look back with the “Spirit of Truth” and see where I lack. There were times I needed great courage. There were times I needed great positivity. There were times I needed more love to share with others. And, most fully, there were times I needed greater faith. But, given the circumstances of my life, it felt more difficult to find these things in my life. I had not built a great reservoir of knowledge, of courage, of faith, of goodness, of all of the things I had needed during these times. When my body was ravaged with sickness, when side effects of the very medication and procedures that were keeping me alive made life difficult, when I slipped into depression because of job loss — in all of these things I needed to be added upon. But, I had not built that reservoir to draw upon in those times.
So, what can I do now? Certainly the trials of life are not over. On the days I have the strength, the time, the courage, and faith, how I can fill my reservoirs so I have that extra help in the future?
I admit to not knowing the answer; I wanted to just get this thought out there as it came to me today. I think the advice of King Benjamin (I always seem to go back to that sermon for some reason) applies:
I would that ye should remember, and always retain in remembrance, the greatness of God, and your own nothingness, and his goodness and long-suffering towards you, unworthy creatures, and humble yourselves even in the depths of humility, calling on the name of the Lord daily, and standing steadfastly in the faith of that which is to come,
Remember, humble yourselves in prayer, and stand steadfast in faith. Give what you can every day.
I think, rather, I hope that Heavenly Father will let me know by his Spirit when I am doing my best, and nudge me when I am doing better, and that I can build up these reservoirs of strength to weather the trials that life may bring to me. Ultimately, I have hope that I can have the blessing that Alma, the sons of Mosiah, and their fellow missionaries had:
they should suffer no manner of afflictions, save it were swallowed up in the joy of Christ.