"Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. " --- John 8:10

Sunday, January 26, 2014

When Arrows Block Out the Sun

When the arrows of life are sufficent to darken the sun, when all hope is gone and all light is gone, do we fight on anyway?


I don't have a ton to say this week. We had zone conferences with trainings from President and the APs. I jundoed a lot. We taught some lessons, met some new investigators, went to a bathhouse again. Pretty average week for the most part.

Only one thing to really report and that's a concept that I can't really get out of my mind.

I was listening to a talk from Elder Maxwell about something that I can't remember anymore. The part I remember is an allusion that he made to the Battle of Thermopylae. Typical history major, huh?

Anyway, the part he referenced came at the start of the battle. If any of you are unfamiliar with the Battle of Thermopylae, which, by the way, is Greek and therefore incredibly tricky to spell for someone who hasn't cracked a history book for a year, the battle took place a few hundred years before Jesus was born in a small mountain pass on the Greek coastline. The Persians had assembled an army of hundreds of thousands and traveled hundreds of miles hell bent on burning Athens to the ground. Every major city state in Greece besides two surrendered to Persian messengers long before the army arrived. Only Athens, who were faced with destruction, and Sparta refused to surrender.

Leonidas, a king of Sparta, tried to rally his forces to the defense of the Athenians, but was refused by other Spartan leaders from leading the military against the Persians. So he took his three hundred "body guards" to a little pass by the sea to stop the march of the Persians, aided by only a handful of allies. Here's where Elder Maxwell comes in. Before the onset of the battle, one of the Persian messengers made a comment about the impossibility of victory that went something to the effect of "Persian arrows are numerous that they will block out the sun." In response, some unnamed Spartan retorted, "Then we shall fight in the shade!"

One of the most epic one liners in history. But what does it mean for us?

What follows is the reason why the Spartans are more legend than man.  In the face of overwhelming, even impossible odds, the Spartans fought anyway. For three days, the little band of three hundred held their pass, repulsing the most powerful army that had ever been assembled and slaying tens of thousands of the best Persia had to offer. And then they fell. Victims of treachery, surrounded and hopeless, the Spartans fought and died to the last man.

When the arrows of life are sufficent to darken the sun, when all hope is gone and all light is gone, do we fight on anyway? When we are truly alone and can't see far enough to put one foot in front of the other anymore, do we turn around and go back? Or do we stumble on anyway until our light, too, is extinguished?

I ask because I'm not certain, and leave the answers to you.

Elder Whitlock