Boyd Matheson: Hanging on by a thread? A thread is all the Savior needs

‘As long as we hold on to our end of the thread, [the Lord] will forever hold onto His end and that thread will bind us to Him like a mighty cord,’ writes Boyd Matheson

This past week I was texting with a dear friend who, through no fault of her own, is in the middle of a gut-wrenching, soul-searing series of infuriatingly unfair trials. She is one of the strongest and most faithful and faith-filled souls I know. She confided that while she was keeping her faith, at times she felt that she was hanging on by a thread.

Without thinking I was impressed to reply, “A thread is all the Savior needs. And as long as we hold onto our end of the thread, He will forever hold onto His end, and that thread will bind us to Him like a mighty cord.” 

On a Sunday morning I was in the bishop’s office praying, and again this same thought came to my mind about my friend who felt she was hanging by a thread. I looked up at a New Testament painting I have on the office wall depicting the woman who had suffered 12 grueling years with a blood condition that had clearly exhausted her physically, monetarily, spiritually and emotionally. It could be said that the faith and future of that certain New Testament woman were indeed hanging by a thread.  

Matthew 9:20-22 reads:

“And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment:

“For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole.

“But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.”

A Believing Woman Caitlin Maxfield Connolly | United States | Oil on panel and fabric A woman with an issue of blood boldly and faithfully reached out to touch Christ’s garment, believing she would be healed. In response Christ said, “Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole” (Matthew 9:22). Of this woman, Caitlin Maxfield Connolly said, “Like her, I find myself desiring to be made whole again, and like her, I pray my faith can allow me to use the Atonement and experience a feeling of healing as I continue throughout my mortality.” Purchase Award winner Church History Museum | Welden C. Andersen, Church History Museum

I love how in this particular painting, the woman who had been sick and suffering is holding onto a thread from the hem of the Savior’s garment. In the press of the crowd that was following Jesus to see if he would heal Jairus’ daughter, who lay dying, the woman had simply grasped a thread. Fortunately for her, all the Savior needed was for her to catch hold of a thread. The weaving together of her faith and His compassionate power would heal and bless her and has inspired faith and hope in others for over 2,000 years.

If ever there was a wordsmith for the Word (Jesus Christ), and the word of hope, it would be Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Countless Latter-day Saints over the years and around the world have held onto his words of faith and hope and promises of good things to come. The threads spun from the words of his prophetic pen and the witness of his apostolic voice have propelled a million hope-filled memes and launched countless courage-creating quotes while bringing peace and quiet confidence to hearts hanging on by a thread. 

Like a strand of golden thread, Elder Holland has written, “To any who may be struggling to see that light and find that hope, I say: Hold on. Keep trying. God loves you. Things will improve.” Such a golden thread is hope-filled and spirit-spun and will bind the humble holder of the other end to Jesus. Elder Holland is truly a weaver of threads for all to hold onto in difficult days or trying times.

Likewise, President Russell M. Nelson has declared to those hanging on by a thread: “Dear friends, the road ahead may be bumpy, but our destination is serene and secure. So, fasten your seatbelt, hang on through the bumps, and do what’s right. Your reward will be eternal.” 

What I know now is that prophets and apostles, leaders and friends, ministers and neighbors can provide such strengthening threads, as can temple worship, scriptures and humble prayer. The veil often parts with heavenly threads fluttering in the spiritual breeze for us to reach for and grab on to.  

When you find yourself feeling that you are hanging on by a thread, hold on. A thread is all the Savior needs and as long as you hold onto your end of the thread, He will forever hold onto His end, and that thread will bind you to Him like a mighty cord.

— Boyd C. Matheson is bishop of the Manila 9th Ward, Pleasant Grove Utah Manila Stake, and hosts an afternoon program on KSL NewsRadio in Salt Lake City.

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