Sunday, November 9, 2014

There is Help & Happiness Ahead

A few years ago Jeffery R. Holland shared an experience he had when he was headed to graduate school 2500 miles from home. He and his small family put everything they had in a trailer and hitched it to their old car. After driving only 34 miles the car over heated and they were stranded. He had to leave his family and walk 3 miles to the nearest town where a man offered to take him back to his car. Elder Holland said they drove slowly back to St. George and had the car looked at but they could not find anything wrong with it. They started their journey again and at the very same spot the car overheated again. He had to walk the three miles to the same man’s home for help once again. Many years later he drove that same road with his wife. Their children were now grown and raising children of their own, yet Elder Holland said:

Yet in my mind’s eye, for just an instant, I thought perhaps I saw on that side road an old car with a devoted young wife and two little children making the best of a bad situation there. Just ahead of them I imagined that I saw a young fellow walking toward Kanarraville, with plenty of distance still ahead of him. His shoulders seemed to be slumping a little, the weight of a young father’s fear evident in his pace. In the scriptural phrase his hands did seem to “hang down.” 15 In that imaginary instant, I couldn’t help calling out to him: “Don’t give up, boy. Don’t you quit. You keep walking. You keep trying. There is help and happiness ahead—a lot of it—30 years of it now, and still counting. You keep your chin up. It will be all right in the end. Trust God and believe in good things to come.” (“An High Priest of Good Things to Come”, Elder Jeffery R. Holland, General Conference, October 1999)

Like Elder Holland, I look back over the many years that my wife and I have traveled and have witnessed the many times that we have had help from friends, family, strangers and the Lord. If I had the opportunity to go back and see that young family as we were just starting our journey through life, I would say “hang on, it is worth every struggle, all of the good times and bad times”. I also know that Heavenly Father and His son have been there with us when we needed them. The scriptures promise:

And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up. (Doctrine & Covenants 84:88)

And again he has given us this promise:

Behold my Spirit is upon you, wherefore all thy words will I justify; and the mountains shall flee before you, and the rivers shall turn from their course; and thou shalt abide in me, and I in you; therefore walk with me.  (Moses 6:34)

The promise that the Savior will be there by our side in good times and especially in hard times is sure. I know that these promises are real. Ten years ago I was stricken with pancreatitis and the doctor told my wife that I might not survive. I was given a blessing by my bishop and was told that it was not time for me to go and that there would be angels standing by to help when needed. Obviously I did survive that experience and I know that during the six months that my family and I went through that experience that there were angels, seen and unseen, there to help us. We had the help of our home teacher who came and mowed our lawn and provided many other hours of service. There were other ward members and friends that provided meals, and helped my wife and I in so many different ways. We were so grateful for the many acts of kindness that we were given during that difficult struggle.

Mt St. Helens eruption on May 18, 19080
On May 18, 1980 we were living near Vancouver, Washington only 30 miles from Mt. St. Helen’s when it erupted sending a pyroclastic flow of 2000 degrees out of the mountain destroying everything in it’s path within 230 square miles of the side that blew with the force of a bomb 500 times than the one that was dropped on Hiroshima ( 57 lives were lost; most of them were from individuals that were not supposed to be in the area that was restricted at that time. There were about 7,000 big game animals lost and it is estimated that the total damage was about 1 Billion dollars in homes destroyed, jobs lost and the effect on the economy of the area.  The destructive eruption went in the direction that was wilderness and not populated areas. If it had come in our direction many more lives and property would have been destroyed. I am sure that the Lord’s hand was round about us all that day and that the effect of that mountain’s eruption was turned out of it’s more destructive course.
A car destroyed near Mt. St. Helens

There have been many other experiences we have had that I know the Lord had his hand in directing and protecting the lives of our family members. Though it is easy to look back and see the Lord’s hand in our lives it is difficult to see it when you are experiencing hard times. My message to all who are struggling to never lose hope, the promise of the Lord is sure that his angels will be round about you and his spirit in our hearts. Elder Holland testifies:

“My declaration is that this is precisely what the gospel of Jesus Christ offers us, especially in times of need. There is help. There is happiness. There really is light at the end of the tunnel. It is the Light of the World, the Bright and Morning Star, the “light that is endless, that can never be darkened.” 3 It is the very Son of God Himself. In loving praise far beyond Romeo’s reach, we say, “What light through yonder window breaks?” It is the return of hope, and Jesus is the Sun.  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. Christ comes to you in His “more excellent ministry” with a future of “better promises.” He is your “high priest of good things to come.” Some blessings come soon, some come late, and some don’t come until heaven; but for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, they come.” (“An High Priest of Good Things to Come”, Elder Jeffery R. Holland, General Conference, October 1999)

I can also testify that through the gospel of Jesus Christ we can find true happiness and that as we live worthy, the Lord will be with us on our right hand and our left, and his angels will be round about us to bear us up. I know that help and happiness will be ours as we keep the commandments and give thanks for the many blessings that the Lord provides.

I invite you to watch this five-minute video clip of Elder Holland's experience with his young family and the help he needed and received called "Good Things to Come".

Your comments and questions are welcome.

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