His name is Dave and he is from England. We visit with him whenever we see him around town. He talks to all the American missionaries, perhaps because he likes to talk to someone who speaks his English. On this day, as usual, he wanted to discuss religion
I have read in the Bible about a “bottomless pit.” A pit with no bottom? That is a horrible thought! If I don’t have my name written in some “book of life’” then I will be cast into a bottomless pit? What kind of a God would do a thing like that?
We wanted to tell him that the “bottomless pit” is a term for the realm of Satan and those who follow him. But Dave was already talking about something else.
Then there is a “lake of fire and brimstone, ever burning but never consumed.” Ever burning? Never ending? That is even more horrible!
We wanted to tell him, “A man is his own tormentor and his own condemner. Hence the saying, “They shall go into the lake that burns with fire and brimstone” [see Revelation 21:8]. The torment of disappointment in the mind of man is as exquisite as a lake burning with fire and brimstone.” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith , 224).
We thought of a comment made by Russell M Nelson:
“I am reminded of military days long ago when our platoon heard shouts from a sergeant: “Attention!” “Right face!” “Left face!” “About face!” We learned to respond to those orders with instant precision. In retrospect, I don’t recall ever having heard his command to “face upward.” Yet scriptures tell us to “look to God and live.” (Russell M Nelson April 1996)
But Dave was talking again.
And what about prayer? I don’t think a God would answer my prayer. When was the last time you had an answer to your prayers?
We started to answer that we pray for protection every day.
We might have told him about one of our trips to Casoy:
“We drove around and through the puddles from the recent rains. On one mountain curve we saw a big truck coming down the mountain. Elder Hall pulled far to the left to let it by. As he did so, the truck bucked violently and the pickup stopped. Elder Hall sat for a few moments with his hands on the steering wheel. Then he stuck his head out of the window. He looked at the front of the pickup and then toward the back, then down into the deep ravine below. He sat back in the seat, then looked out again. He put the pickup in reverse and carefully backed out onto the road. We drove on, feeling thankful to be alive.
A while later, I asked:
So what did you see when you looked out the window?
Well, it looked like the rain-soaked soil on the edge of the road gave way under the tire of the pickup. There was about a three foot hole there.
Elder Hall paused.
It looked like the front tire dropped into the hole and bounced back out—behind the hole!”
We might have told Dave about our trip to Barangay Cabagdalan, far in the mountains from Balamban, when we took Elder Codinera from Lamac to his home there:
“We met a huge gravel truck on the narrow road. Elder Hall pulled as far as he could to the right to let the truck pass. As he turned the tire to pull back onto the road, the front passenger tire slipped off the edge of the concrete roadbed and into a drainage ditch. He tried to back out, but the back of the truck slid toward the ditch. Elder Codinera quietly slid out of the back seat.
Elder Hall turned the motor off and got out. The front tire had slipped deep enough into the ditch that the pickup was high-centered on the concrete. The back tire was about six inches from the ditch.
He didn’t have a shovel. He didn’t have a jack. We were on a remote mountain road. All he could think was that he was almost 70 years old and there was no way he was going to get out of that muddy ditch.
Elder Hall climbed back into the pickup. His shoulders slumped as he spoke.
At that moment, Elder Codinera came back with a watermelon-sized rock that he placed behind the front tire. Two men in a pick-up stopped in front of us. Without saying a word, they found more rocks where there appeared to be none. They literally built a bridge behind the tire. Elder Codinera came with a narrow piece of concrete about three feet (1 meter) long to put on the top. One man stood in front of the pickup. The other two prepared to lift along the side.
Okay. Back up now! Slowly!
We backed onto the road. The men waved and climbed back into their pickup.”
We might have told Dave that not only does God answer prayers, but He sends his angels to have charge over His children.
But Dave was still talking. He would not listen. We said good-bye and wished him luck.
As we drove down the road, a hen clucked to her chicks. They quickly ran to her, and were saved from the speeding truck.
Satan tries to lure all of us to the edge of the abyss and pull us down into the bottomless pit of his domain. We can be safe only when we listen to the voice of our Savior, and come to Him.
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem … how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! (Matt 23:37)