It's once again my privelege to be able to write a little blog post on here today. It was my opportunity a few weeks ago to do a cameo on Elder Bevan's blog where I wrote about General Conference and the need to study the addresses that have been given to us over the years because they are scripture. Today, I want to thank Elder Wright for giving me this chance to talk a little bit more about a somewhat related subject; maybe sort of an expansion of what I was talking about last time.
Everyone faces challenges in their lives. We all get a little bit of everything. Some challenges are serious and difficult to overcome, sometimes even life-threatening. Others are much more minor, but still have the potential to slow us down for a little bit. However, there is no obstacle that cannot be overcome. Not one. The scriptures say, "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it" (1 Corinthians 10:13). (Temptations can also be intrepreted to mean trials here as well.) We are spirit children of a Heavenly Father who loves us and wants us to return to Him. He has provided a plan to guide us throughout our mortal journey. If we follow this plan, we will be rewarded with eternal life in God's presence and joy forever.
When faced with our challenges, it is often difficult to remember that God really does love us and that he really wants the best for us. A question often asked by those plagued with difficulty is "Why me?" It is only natural to react this way initially. But there is a better way to face our trials. Instead, ask yourself something like "What can I learn from this experience?" or "How will I work to overcome this challenge?" Analyzing our problems and challenges like this will help us to have a much more positive approach to everything that comes to us in life, no matter how great or small the predicament in which we find ourselves. And the Lord Himself has always provided us with ways to overcome anything that burdens us.
The gospel of Jesus Christ and His commandments provide many solutions for overcoming life's daily struggles and greatest trials. I wish to mention four in particular:
1. Daily personal and family scripture study
The scriptures can be a powerful source of strength for us as individuals and families. The prophet Nephi in the Book of Mormon extends to us a wonderful promise related to the scriptures. "...Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do" (2 Nephi 32:3). How about that for a promise? Not sure what to do about something? Feast upon the words of Christ! They'll tell everything you need to know! But it gets better.
2. Following the inspiration of the Holy Ghost
The Holy Ghost is a being of spirit. He, unlike our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, does not have a body of flesh and bone. But being how he is gives him a wonderful power. His presence and influence can be felt simultaneously in multiple locations. His presence is manifest in two different ways: (1) the power of the Holy Ghost and (2) the gift of the Holy Ghost. The power of the Holy Ghost can be felt by anyone that is not yet baptized by priesthood authority. The gift of the Holy Ghost is conferred upon those who have taken upon them the covenant of baptism. When we receive this gift of the Holy Ghost, we are promised that he will be our constant companion, as long as we keep ourselves worthy and in places where he can follow us. Remember Nephi's promise about the words of Christ? He gives us a strikingly similar promise two verses later. "For behold, again I say unto you that if ye will enter in by the way, and receive the Holy Ghost, it will show unto you all things what ye should do" (2 Nephi 32:5). Still not sure what to do about something? Listen to what the Holy Ghost tells you! He'll show you everything you need to know! So with the combination of the words of Christ (scriptures) and the guidance of the Holy Ghost, we will be shown and told all thingswhat we should do! It's not really leaving anything out, is it? But let's keep going. There's more.
Some people may get to this point and say that all of this talk about scriptures and the Holy Ghost is all fine and good, but oftentimes we don't understand what we read, or we don't know what the Holy Ghost actually feels like, or even how to receive his guidance in the first place. Our Father in Heaven has given us prayer as a means of verbal communication with Him so that we can express our thoughts and feelings about everything that is going on in our lives. True, He does know everything that goes on with us daily and He knows our thoughts, but He has asked that we pray to Him in faith to seek His will concerning us. And if we trust Him, that will will be made manifest unto us, somehow or by some way. Prayer is where we can ask the questions that we need answers to, ask for help with our difficulties, and express gratitude for the multitude of blessings that we have already received. Prayer is a good tool to use to clear up our doubts and fears. It is a source of strength and spiritual renewal.
4. Faithful church attendance
Being in church among people with great faith and their own share of trials and difficulties is another great source of strength. There's strength in numbers, right? We're not meant to toil and labor during our days here on Earth just by ourselves. We're surrounded by people who are more than willing to reach out and help us! In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we believe in serving one another and lifting up those who are weighed down by difficulty and sadness. When we are faced with seemingly insurmountable trials, we need not withdraw into ourselves. There are many willing to help. The doctrines and principles of the gospel taught by inspired teachers and leaders bring comfort and guidance. Let these comforting messages fill your life and give you hope for the future.
I want to conclude by sharing my testimony that Heavenly Father does indeed love us. He has not left us here on the earth to struggle helplessly. He would never do that. It is not part of the plan! He has provided numerous resources, many beyond those I have named and described, to provide us with joy that can last throughout the duration of our lives and on into eternity. Our Savior Jesus Christ has sacrificed Himself, as a perfect man, so that all of us can receive exaltation and eternal life. He loves us and understands everything that we suffer because He has already suffered it. I repeat what I said earlier. There is no obstacle that cannot be overcome. Christ has made it possible. Seek after Him. Seek after His words. They will bring you the comfort and guidance that you seek.