Rescue in Unity
by Elder Chi Hong (Sam) Wong
Elder Wong made history by being the first one ever to deliver a general conference talk in a non-English language. Way to go Elder Wong!!!!
Elder Wong's modern-day analogy of this Biblical story really helped me to "liken the scriptures to myself". The name of his talk is Rescue in Unity, but if I were in charge of choosing it, I would have titled it RAISE THE ROOF! WHOOT WHOOT!
Elder Wong tells the account found in Mark 2:1-5 of a man suffering with palsy. He was unable to move without help. "This man could only stay home, waiting for rescue." He then likens it to our day by saying "They [his rescuers] could not wait for him to come to church by himself. They had to go to his home and visit him. They had to seek him out, and so they went. The man was being brought to Jesus.
"Do we know anyone in our life who is afflicted with spiritual palsy, someone who just cannot come back to the Church by himself or herself?"
I can think of a few people who are waiting to be rescued (whether they know it or not). Am I doing all I can to go to them and bring them to Jesus?
So these rescuers are successful at getting the stricken man out of his house and to the house where Jesus was, but they ran into a problem. "Things did not happen as smoothly as planned. There were obstacles along their way of "rescue." But they did not give up.
THEY DID NOT GIVE UP!
How many times have I extended an invitation to church or even just to visit someone in their home and have been rejected. Problems will arise. Do not give up! I must keep trying. The best things never come easy.
I am assigned to visit teach with a woman who is inactive. She's all for going when I schedule the appointments, but then she will cancel at the last minute leaving me to go visiting teaching by myself. This happens every time! I'm embarrassed to admit that this frustrates me. Why should I even try to include her when she's just going to cancel on me anyway? It would be much easier to give up, say I've tried, quit trying to include her, and do our assignments by myself. However, this talk has taught me otherwise. It's motivated me to keep trying.
"The work to assist Jesus Christ in saving souls. . .was never too demanding."
I'm sure you're familiar with the rest of the story. Since they couldn't get the man in through the door, they came up with a Plan B. They brought him up onto the roof (no easy feat, I'm sure), raised the roof and lowered the man down.
In our culture, we sometimes use the saying "Raise the Roof". The roof represents limitations that often loom over us. "Raise the Roof" begs we work together to increase our mutual potential. (source)
"This rescue assignment needed everyone working together. At the crucial moment, it would take careful coordination to lower the man with palsy from the roof. The. . .people would have to work in unity and in harmony."
"In order to assist the Savior, we have to work together in unity and in harmony. Everyone, every position, and every calling is important. We have to be united in our Lord Jesus Christ."
Finally the sick man was brought before Jesus. "Jesus showed mercy on him and healed him- not only physically but spiritually: "Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.""
This story had a happy ending. This groups efforts were not in vain. I think our efforts, great or small, to help heal those who are afflicted with "spiritual palsy" will also also yield success. Maybe not in the timing we would like, but eventually.
In the conclusion of his talk, Elder Wong brings to our attention verse 5 of this scripture account.
"When Jesus saw THEIR faith" - not just the palsy man's, or the Elder Quorum president's, but their faith.
"Our combined faith will also affect the well-being of others."
"Who were those people that Jesus mentioned? They could well include the four who carried the man with palsy, the man himself, the people who had prayed for him, and all those who were there listening to the preaching of Jesus and cheering for the soon-to-come miracle. They could also include a spouse, a parent, a son or daughter, a missionary, a quorum president, a Relief Society president, a bishop, and a faraway friend. We should all help one another. We should always be anxiously engaged in seeking to rescue those in need."
As the mother of a child who is currently suffering from "spiritual palsy" I know this to be true. I, by myself, cannot heal him. I have tried countless times, with no success. In order for my son to be healed, it will take the faith and effort of lots of people working together, never giving up hope when the task seems impossible.
I think of my 91-year old Gram. She grew up hating "Mormons" and was very against the Church. With the faith and help of bishops, family, visiting and home teachers, neighbors, and ward members, her heart was healed and she was brought unto Christ. Just last weekend, Gram was sealed to her family in the Provo temple. It took 90 years, but no one gave up and a miracle happened.
May I testify with Elder Wong that
"Jesus Christ is a God of miracles, Jesus Christ loves us all and has the power to save and heal, both physically and spiritually When we assist Him in His mission of saving souls, we too will be rescued in the process."
What are we waiting for? Let's RAISE THE ROOF!