Brian Santiago speaks on how to row through life’s rough waters

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Brian Santiago, senior associate athletic director at BYU, shared his advice on navigating through life’s rough waters at Tuesday’s devotional.

Santiago began the devotional with a story about an eventful trip he took to Lake Powell. Santiago had always heard how amazing Lake Powell was, so he was delighted for the opportunity to join his friends on a vacation there.

Santiago and his group arrived at the dock after dark with only the moon to light their path. Their boat driver launched the boat into the lake with some hesitation and pointed them in the direction of the houseboat in which they would be staying. Soon a storm gathered over the lake and the water began rocking the boat until they slammed into a sand bar.

The driver’s daughter then got out and pushed the boat back into the water, allowing them to get to the houseboat.

“The next morning, I awoke to one of most breathtaking places on Planet Earth: crystal-clear water surrounded by red rock cliffs, pure sand and a perfect blue sky with abundant sunshine,” Santiago said. “That experience has proven to be a metaphor for our journey through life. We must pass and press forward through the storms of life to find the calm, reassuring peace that comes from being safely on the Lord’s side.”

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Brian Santiago tells how to sail safely through the stormy waters of life. (Photo by Sarah Strobel Hill)

He went on to explain that each of us has a choice to stay on the Lord’s side. There are three things that can help us in that effort: being at peace with God through our personal integrity, following the promptings of the Holy Ghost and perseverance.

First, we must be totally honest with God and show Him our integrity.

“The adversary teaches us to hide, and when we make mistakes it is our human nature to hide,” Santiago said. “Who are we hiding from? We win when we are honest with our fellow men, ourselves and God.”

He shared a story about two women who interviewed for the head coach position of the BYU women’s golf team. Both were very qualified, and Santiago wondered how he would decide which one to hire. As one coach got up to leave an interview, she stopped and told Santiago there was something she needed to tell him. Many people told her that sharing this information would prevent her from getting the job, but she explained that she was expecting a child. Her honesty was a blessing.

“We would not have to worry about how she would lead the golf program — her demonstration of integrity made all the difference in the world, and she was offered and accepted the job shortly thereafter,” Santiago said.

Santiago explained that the promptings of the Holy Ghost also help us stay on the Lord’s side. Sometimes the rough waters of life can make it difficult to listen.

“It takes courage and commitment to follow the promptings of the Spirit because they may frighten us as they lead us to walk along new paths, sometimes paths that no one has walked before, paths of the second mile, of acting totally differently from how worldly people act,” Santiago said.

To illustrate the last principle, perseverance, Santiago shared a story about a close friend named Julie whose husband was killed, leaving her to watch after their six sons. Some time later Santiago called his friend to see how she was doing.

“Her response has been an inspiration to me and others as she carries on: ‘I don’t know how I’m doing, but I keep rowing my boat,'” Santiago said. “I believe as Julie taught me that day, the Lord will take the other oar and help us row as we navigate our path safely on the Lord’s side.”

As each of us have integrity, follow promptings of the Holy Ghost and persevere, we can make it through life’s storms.

“I pray that each one of us can find peace and comfort in knowing that the Savior of the world will help us row our boats into His outstretched arms,” Santiago said.

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