Not sure on the title, but nothing else comes to mind right now. Besides, the title is personally significant to me, especially right now.
Elder Pieper wrote an article for the March 2010 Ensign (Trials and Testimony). That article includes a phrase that has lingered in my mind for many days now:
Reliance on a personal testimony of the Savior and His gospel is essential in order to remain faithful during times of testing and crisis.
Aside from being an accurate assessment of the value of our testimonies, there are two subtle elements that did not escape my attention and have, in a good way, haunted me.
First–Elder Pieper made this declaration in a way that emphasizes the pre-existent nature of our personal testimonies in relation to our success meaning that being able to rely on a personal testimony of the Savior during difficult times requires us to have the testimony before the trial, not during or even after. While our testimonies may and should be strengthened by our experiences, our success in navigating the stormy waters of life depends more on the as yet unproven faith we place in the Savior and His Gospel.
Rather than waiting to see where the Shepherd would lead us before taking that first step, we must walk with Him so that we know Him. And another way–We cannot step from the safety of the ship to walk on water with Him unless we first recognize and trust Him before ever getting our feet wet.
Second–Remaining faithful during trials and testimonies requires a personal testimony of the Savior. To put it in financial speak, you can only withdraw so much from a spiritual credit card before finding yourself spiritually bankrupt. We must make regular meaningful and significant deposits towards our personal testimonies.
All of us, at some point or another, have relied on the testimonies of others be it a parent, a spouse, a child, a friend, or another, but to truly survive and grow from any crisis or period of testing, we must rely on our own testimonies.
I noticed the careful addition of the word testing to the things to which we must remain faithful. When facing life’s difficulties, we must remember that the Shepherd would have us walk the more difficult path sometimes so that our own potential and growth might be discovered. In a very personal way, then, our personal testimonies of the Savior in regards to our personal trials and testing result in personal growth. And not to over use the word, but the Savior is personally interested in each trial for each of us.
I, like many, have often found myself dancing across the gulf that increasingly separates the Savior from the World. I’ve found that when I go farthest from Him, it is because the personal nature of my relationship with Him and my testimony of Him has become not quite as personal as it once was. I find that I’ve grown complacent and comfortable in my own strength and that when He whispers His warning voice, I have not listened not because I couldn’t hear, but because I couldn’t recognize. Maybe more significant, I have found that the warnings do not often come as specific directions to watch out, duck, or run. Rather, they come well before the trial in phrases such as, “Read your scriptures more faithfully,” “Pray with your spouse,” and “Go to the Temple.”
These warnings aren’t given so that we might avoid the temptations and testing of life but so that our personal testimonies are established and strong enough that when the storm rages we can both hear and recognize the Master speaking to us saying, “Peace be still. Be not afraid.”