The Arm of Flesh


In December of 1974 I was riding cross country with three fellow students beginning at Cedar City, Utah. We were traveling to Maryland. The owner and driver of the small Toyota in which we were riding decided to drive the distance without stopping to sleep. I was riding shotgun with two girls in the back seat. I could see after spending many hours on the road that the driver was getting drowsy. I watched as his head would bob up and down. It was scaring me so I offered to drive. He emphatically refused and continued to drive. I fastened my seat belt and tried to keep silent but the constant bobbing of his head kept me riveted in my seat. Finally I became angry and told him to pull over and let me drive. He again refused, this time with anger in his voice. His act of terror lasted for several more hours till the girls in the back began to join me in asking him to pull over. Finally , he gave in, pulled over and let me drive. He fell asleep before I got the car out of the turn-off. I could never figure out his problem with letting someone else drive. I found over the next few years that others were just like him. On several occasions I have been a passenger in a car were the driver refused to pull over even though it was clear that they were falling asleep. To this day I don’t know why it is that certain people want to rely only on themselves at the peril of death!

Perhaps it is the same mentality of those of us who strictly rely on “the flesh” the entire course of our lifetime, instead of seeking from the Lord help and guidance. Joseph Wirthlin once said:

“The natural consequence that comes to those who depart from the way of the Lord is that they are left to their own strength. While in the heat of our success we might assume that our own strength is sufficient, those who rely upon the arm of the flesh soon discover how weak and unreliable it truly is…This pattern is repeated not only in the lives of individual people but by cities, nations, and even the world. The consequences of ignoring the Lord and His prophets are certain and often accompanied by great sorrow and regret. ( “Journey to Higher Ground,” Liahona, Nov 2005, 16–19).

Perhaps you have been an unwilling passenger in a car with someone who is set on driving to a destination, or death, whichever comes first. It is frightening! It is no less frightening to watch someone, or more so, be someone hell-bent on going through life without getting divine directions from the Lord. Do we travel through the road of life half asleep, relying solely upon our own strength at the expense of our eternal safety. While losing my temporal life would be a great tragedy, even more so would be losing my soul simply because I am too proud to ask for heavenly help. Let us rely on the Lord! He will be there to steer us to safety in the long journey we call life.

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