One evening our family was driving home after one of Vaughn’s bike races. We drove around a corner and found ourselves at the top of a small hill with a river with a floating bridge on it at the bottom. It was a windy day and so the scene before us was incredible. On one side of the bridge the water was very turbulent with white capped waves.
The other side of the bridge was vastly different. It was calm.
The bridge was only two lanes wide and therefore the water on either side was relatively close. It was all in the same weather conditions, the same wind, the same temperature, the same time of day, yet the contrast between the two sides of the bridge was remarkable.
The floating bridge created a barrier between safe and troubled waters. Creating a spiritual barrier is vital to have calm waters in the elements of life. There is power in keeping the commandments of God. There is power in following the promptings of the Holy Ghost. There is power in applying the atonement of Jesus Christ. It often does not change our circumstances, but it calms the waters.
God created all things spiritually before they were created physically. (Moses 3:5) If we want to construct a barrier to give us relief from the turbulent water we should also follow this pattern. We first create the blueprint of our testimony spiritually as we pray, study the scriptures, and gain knowledge of Christ’s teachings, but our barrier is not yet completed and we are not yet protected from those white capped waves. This first step is a lot of work and requires a lot of growth and sometimes leaves us wondering why we are not yet surrounded by calm waters because we feel like we have accomplished our task. Faith without works is indeed dead. (James 2:26) The second vital step is still required. We build our barrier by applying the knowledge we have received in our lives and only then the safe space of calm waters is created.
“Ultimately, the Savior is interested not just in what we know but in spiritual intelligence – in how we apply what we know for righteous purposes.”
(Increase in Learning, David A. Bednar, p. 74)