Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Rest in the Arms of the Everlasting Father
By Ramone - December 10, 2007
I inked this picture on the airplane back from the States yesterday. This is the best picture I could take of it in the cabin's light. On that flight there were about a dozen Mormon (LDS) missionaries on their way to Japan. As I stood holding my son, trying to get him to relax and fall asleep, I prayed for them. I didn't know how to pray, I didn't know what they needed. But this is what I received -- they need rest, rest in God's arms.
I grew up Seventh-day Adventist and served as an SDA missionary for one year -- my first year in Japan. While there are many differences between LDS and SDA, there are many, many similarities as well. Both have something extra added onto Christianity which changes the simple nature of the Gospel. Both seem to need the rest that comes from knowing Jesus' finished work. Adventism & Mormonism both have a lot of work. In Mormonism it is the burden of "eternal progression", the attempt to attain godhood (see this link for more about this particular burden). This picture and the prayer it came from are about resting in God, resting in the arms of the Everlasting Father (that is, Jesus). Not trying to attain His status, but instead letting God be God and you be you -- His saved, redeemed child forever. No further burden, but only eternal and blessed rest in His arms as His child forever.
I was led out of Adventism & its worries & works by the Holy Spirit and by learning about the New Covenant. Many people don't realize that the Bible is divided into telling the histories of two covenants -- the Old and the New Covenant. Ellen White (SDA's prophet) didn't know this, and I don't think Joseph Smith (LDS's prophet) knew this either, hence the description of the book of Mormon as "another testament of Jesus Christ" -- this would be calling it "another covenant" when the New Testament boasts only of the one all-sufficent New Covenant which is made for all nations.
On our trip to America, I had taken different watercolor pencils and a couple pens, but when packing I felt like I should carry-on only the grey inkbrush pen and the waterbrush pen. Sometimes this happens -- at the beginning of the day, or before going out, etc. God impresses me (and can impress you) with certain materials or things to take which you will need. You can take others, but you may not need them! This time it was for this picture.
I inked it and tried to photograph it to remember it and share it here. Then when the flight was de-boarding, I gave it to one of the two Mormon missionaries seated behind me. He was very thankful and I was struck by his very kind appreciation. I didn't say any of the things I'd written here, but only blessed him. I had written a little bit of this on the back of the picture as well as my email address & this site's address (and if you're reading this, please email me!).
My family & I had a connecting flight at Tokyo and then continued onto Osaka. As we picked up our luggage in Osaka, there was my Mormon friend to thank me again, as well as do a little of his job by putting in a plug for Mormonism, giving me a card of a Mormon tabernacle and saying it was a place I really wanted to be at. I thanked him and couldn't think of what to say. That's me, haha. I've been better at writing most of my life rather than speaking -- so far, that is! Praise God, it will not always be that way.
I didn't know how to tell him that after coming out of Adventism, I had met the real Jesus and been filled with the one Holy Spirit, and could never be led astray again to another 'true church'. In appreciation of his kindness (not to mention how sleepy we all were), I didn't share then and I didn't want to argue anyway. I was blessed to have blessed him with the picture, and was blessed by his kindness.
As I was leaving the airport I thought of what I really wanted to say in reply. It's in the words of a song by Craig Musseau --
I sing a simple song of loveI know he wanted me to come to a Mormon church, but I'm blessed beyond all imagination in the arms of my loving God. There's no place I'd rather be than in Christ alone. In Christ alone. By faith alone. His Word (the Bible) alone. The New Covenant. The complete revelation of His Son in the Scriptures as Hebrews puts it. I pray that my Mormon friend and his co-laborers will one day find the same rest in the simple, blessed Gospel of Jesus Christ.
To my Savior, to my Jesus
I'm grateful for the things You've done
My loving Savior, my precious Jesus
My heart is glad that You've called me Your own
There's no place I'd rather be
Than in Your arms of love
In your arms of love
Holding me still, holding me near
In Your arms of love
For more resources about LDS, visit Living Hope Ministries and their links page.