23 February 2016

Every Last One

I like this scene from Disney's Robin Hood a lot:

Robin Hood and Little John runnin' through the courtyard,
Got a cart of villagers and tryin' to get away,
A forgotten baby rabbit calls for help with king's guards close behind.
Robin scoops the baby up from them and saves the day.

It gets to me, the concept in that scene—Robin Hood about-facing into the mouth of the beast in order to save that last little one who is in danger.

But I didn't realize why it gets to me until just recently, when I read a rather obscure verse from the Book of Mormon:

"Go to and gather together thy flocks, both male and female, of every kind; and also of the seed of the earth of every kind; and thy families; and also Jared thy brother and his family; and also thy friends and their families, and the friends of Jared and their families." (Ether 1:41)

These words the Lord speaks to the Brother of Jared struck me for the first time in the 20+ times I’ve read this story. The Lord is about to Babelize the known world, and in answer to one humble man’s pleas that he and his family be spared, the Lord gives this answer: Escape this place. Not only you, but your families. And not only your families but your brother and his family. And not only them, but all your friends on both sides and their families. Leave no one behind.

The Lord goes to such lengths to detail this caravan; it’s as if He wants to make sure no one is left behind. He could have said something generic like “all your loved ones,” but he made a specific and comprehensive list, something that showed how individually He knew this amalgamation of people, and how he cared about them as each one — individuals He did not want left behind. Not one.

When I was little and still played with dolls I went through a nightly ritual. Every single doll had to be off the floor, nestled around me, covered with a blanket, and nose showing so I could make sure each of them could breathe. I used probably three or four different blankets, and by the time each doll was safely settled I couldn’t move for fear of brushing one or more of them onto the floor again. But I didn’t feel right unless they were all safe around me. Every last one.

Could it be the Lord is like this, but on a far more perfect scale?

I who played mother to my dolls couldn’t imagine leaving one out of bed. And the Lord promises that even a mother’s love and devotion to her child’s well being can’t compete with His devotion to His children on earth. (Isaiah 49:15).

Robin Hood turned back to save the very last peasant. The Lord declares that He will gather His people, His chosen ones, around Him, sweeping through “the four corners of the earth” to find those who are scattered and believe themselves lost. (2 Nephi 21:12)

None of us are lost to Him. He loves unlike any father. And He is thorough. He promised Abraham, “in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.” (1 Nephi 22:9) That means something different when you consider the thoroughness of God.

We are not forgotten. Even tucked away where we sometimes find ourselves, lost and in the dark and wandering, wondering, or just trying to breathe. He sees. He knows our names. He will turn back to rescue us.

He keeps painstaking track of each child. He forgets none. He loses none. And He will leave none behind who choose Him. Not one. 

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