Here is a riddle that is revealed in the Hebrew Bible, the Tanach. What will a person give to save their life? Let’s ponder that. Would you give up your life to save it? Is it a trick statement or a very insightful observation? What do we mean by the purposeful giving and saving of a life?
The Jewish commentaries philosophers of the Middle Ages put forth differing ideas regarding the concepts of individual suffering, redemption and reward. Remember the Book of Job, the story of a man blameless and upright, a rich, successful landowner, one who feared God and shunned evil. It is a book written with a Hebrew mindset and it asks two questions: Why are the righteous sometimes made to suffer? Is there a connection between our actions, rewards and punishment?
Remember Satan, who bargains with God for the opportunity to afflict him and is granted it. Within a day, all of Job’s possessions are destroyed. His children are killed. He is left with nothing. Deep in shock and sorrow, Job endures his lot as he sits in ashes and mourns for his pain and sorrows. Yet he does not curse God. His three friends try to reassure him, then keep at him to confess his sins. Job maintains his innocence. They hold theological discussions on the origin of evil and nature of suffering .His wife tells him to “curse God and die”, to give up his life, but Job asks:
“Shall we receive good from god and shall not receive evil?” He seeks an explanation from God or an account of his wrongdoing, but he does so in humility. He accepts that God is in charge of all realms of existence but makes his suffering known:
“What strength do I have, that I should still hope, Job cries. Do I have the strength of stone? God: teach me and I will be quiet, show me where I have been wrong. How painful are honest words. “.
His friend Elihu, whose name means :My god is He, argues in favor of God’s power, his redemptive salvation and the absolute rightness of his conduct. “Behold, God is mighty, and does not despise any. He does not withdraw his eyes from the righteous… He gives food in abundance. Take heed, do not turn to iniquity… Behold, God is exalted in his power. “ Job acknowledges but still wonders about his part in receiving afflictions.
Finally, God speaks: He emphasizes that He is king over the world and that he has absolute freedom over His creation and that He knows best. His discretion may be a mystery, but it is always justified. Eventually, Job comes to understand mankind's struggle with the problems of sin and divine justice and acknowledges his utter dependence upon God’s final deliverance by divine intervention. Job is commended for his righteous words. He prays to be saved and praises God:
He, God, shakes the earth from its place... he speaks to the sun and it does not shine... he alone stretches out the heavens. Hearken to the thunder of his voice and the rumbling that comes from his mouth.Finally overcome but still faithful, Job is reconciled with God. “The Lord gave”, Job reasons, “and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” I know that you can do all things, he says. No plan of yours can be thwarted.
In doing this, Job understands that his misfortune is not a punishment. He prays for the ignorance and lack of understanding of his friends and prepares burnt offerings for them after God chastises them, then humbles himself and repents in dust and ashes, for he knows of his imperfections and observed his covenantal relationship with Deity to sacrifice all his possessions to the Lord. The Lord then accepts Job's prayer in behalf of his friends, then heals him and greatly multiplies all that he has.
Now, the statement I posed to you a while ago. Would you give up your life to save it? What is required? What are we saved from and to? I think you know the answer. To save our life we have to give it up. We must give up our individual will to follow the counsel of Christ, who is our Savior, in order that he will claim us as his. Our personal agency is the one gift he and Heavenly Father gave us that we have total power over. Let us regift it to the giver. Let us accept with joy, humility and total surrender the Godhead as your first leadership and counsel, grow in faith, repent daily, be baptized weekly, invite the Holy Ghost to work with and within us, be worthy, attend the temple, serve others, work like our life depends on it, discover our talents and use them.
We know the drill. Gift your life to Christ. We will find happiness and more. He will save us from this world that we may have eternal life with him that we may walk again with him on our long journey toward godhood. Joseph Smith said: In the beginning, God didn’t rest until he created mankind in his own image. In the end He won’t rest until mankind creates in itself the likeness of God. He will save us to our eternal family and bestow upon us eternal increase. There is no other way.