God Will Guide the RLDS Church to Victory
By Apostle Gomer T. Griffiths
(Quorum of Twelve 1887–1922)
|Gomer T. Griffiths|
I feel impressed to say to the Lord’s people as He said to Joshua, “Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed; for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest” (Joshua 1:9).
The conditions that confronted Joshua were very discouraging. The Lord knew what he would have to encounter in the way of obstacles in order to accomplish the work He had assigned him to perform as a leader of God’s people in that day.
The Church of God has always been threatened with disaster ever since the days of Adam, for his Satanic Majesty has done all within his power to destroy the Church—and by reason thereof at different periods in the history of the world the Church has had to suffer the consequences of the many obstacles that Satan has placed before it with a view to impede its progress and to bring to pass its final destruction. However, the God who has watched over and cared for His Church in all ages past is still mindful of His glorious Church that was purchased through the great suffering and the shedding of the precious blood of Jesus Christ.
We realize that very many of the Saints in the Church today are discouraged because of the distressing condition that the Church is in at the present time. I feel led to call the attention of latter day Israel to a dream the writer had about the year 1918, which seemed to indicate that the Church would be called upon to pass through many trying periods of discouragement and threatened with final destruction, but that God by His matchless power would bring the Church through triumphantly in spite of the forces that would be brought to bear to impede its progress and destroy it. The dream is as follows:
I seemed to be associated with many others, prominent officers in the Church, with the responsibility of caring for and looking after a very magnificent steamboat. This steamer was loaded down with Latter Day Saints and these officers referred to above had the supervision of the boat. It was their duty to feed the people and look after their welfare as well as to care for the boat itself. We appeared to be going downstream on a river similar to the Mississippi River. The channel varied in its course. It would be on one side of the river, in the center, and then on the opposite side. We apparently were making good headway but all at once, to our dismay and surprise, the channel grew narrow and the water became very shallow and it was with difficulty that the steamer could make headway—and now, to our consternation, the channel made a short turn, and in view of the narrowness and shallowness of the water, it seemed almost impossible to get that steamer around that short curve. And as a matter of course, those in charge thereof were much distressed over this trying condition confronting them.
In process of time the steamer passed over that dangerous period and moved along quite nicely for a time until we came to another narrow spot where the channel grew more narrow and the water more shallow, and there was an abrupt turn which was worse than the one passed over previously. We were now in a terrible mental condition for it seemed almost impossible to get the steamer over that danger spot. This time the channel was in the center of the river and little islands on both sides; and to our delight and rejoicing, we got the boat over in safety.
The steamer moved on now without any further interruption for some distance until finally the channel went to the right of the river and ran up close along side of what seemed to be a steep mountain, which appeared to be perpendicular and huge rocks projected, some of them six to eight feet. The water got shallow and the channel narrow, more so than had been experienced in the other two instances referred to. If the boat went the least bit out of its course to the right those rocks would rip it from bow to stern and destroy it. Imagine our feelings at the perilous condition the boat was in with all those people on board, with whose safety we were intensely concerned! The future did not look very bright for the boat nor the people thereon.
But a long distance ahead of us we beheld the open sea and our aim was to get our boat there, where she would be perfectly safe. I remember I was on deck and beholding the hazardous position of the boat, and wondering how it was possible for us to get our boat to the open sea. I thought I would look into the pilot house and see who was at the wheel. To my great amazement and happiness a divine personage (Christ, the great Pilot) was at the wheel guiding the boat. He did not turn to speak nor look at me for the reason that He had to pay His entire attention to the directing of the boat through this dangerous channel, which made it necessary for the boat to move very slowly and carefully. At last, after what seemed to be a long time, because the bad condition of the channel made us move very slowly, the boat reached the open sea with all those on board. Of course there was great rejoicing on the part of those on the boat that the pilot had so successfully guided the boat through this difficult and dangerous channel. And then I awoke.
For some time I could not comprehend what the dream signified, but now I do know because we have gone through two of those difficult periods within the last few years. In 1919 the Church had a trying experience which threatened the peace of many, and as a consequence many lost confidence—but we passed through that period. Again in 1925 we had another trying experience which was worse than the first, wherein hundreds seemingly lost faith in the Church and many of our people deserted the boat and thus suffered themselves to become castaways. But the Church (the steamer) moved on. Now she is in worse distress than in the other periods, and threatened with destruction. And it is apparent, according to this dream, that it will take her a long time to pass through the present crisis that confronts her, but the Divine Pilot, Jesus, will bring her, the Church, through in safety into the deep waters where there will be ample room and sufficient depth for her to move forward to victory.
But it will require great patience and much sacrifice of those who are on board this boat, or the members of the Church of Jesus Christ. Hence the God who told Joshua He would be with him whithersoever he went, will by His great and mighty power, also be with us down here in these last days if we put our trust in Him and seek to do His will more perfectly in the future than we have in the past.
In this trying time we should exercise the same faith and implicit confidence in God that Father Abraham manifested, of whom it is written, “He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; and being fully persuaded that what he had promised, he was able also to perform.”
Thus those who will put their shoulder to the wheel and help to push the chariot along, and willingly do their part in helping to meet our present obligations which the Church is under, and put forth their best efforts by being diligent in the service of their Lord, will be blessed of God. Remember that the Church will be triumphant in the end in spite of the Devil’s efforts to destroy its existence here on earth.
Therefore, let us be of good courage as the Lord has said, and attend to our Heavenly Father’s business with all diligence, and He will display His power as never before in the history of the Church in behalf of His people. Christ went through Gethsemane patiently and bravely, and so must we if we are ever privileged to dwell with Him when He shall reign on this earth as King of kings and Lord of lords. It will require the exercise of great fortitude and tremendous sacrifice on the part of His people to meet the present emergency. For our God wants valiant warriors, and not slackers, at this time when the Church is in need of brave soldiers and workers to bring the Church out of its distressing condition.