Sunday, November 18, 2018

Surviving Spiritually

Today (Sunday October 18, 2018) in our sacrament meeting Silas Smith talked about a friend from his high school days. Todd was one the first friends he made when his family moved to a new community and went to a new high school. Todd became involved in the popular crowd and strayed from the Gospel and God’s commandments. Because of his popularity, Todd did not hang out with Silas and his other friends.

Todd’s life changed when he was involved in an accident that paralyzed him from the neck down. His “friends” stayed with him for a while but eventually stopped coming to see him. Silas and his friends, however, did not abandon him and continued to be with him and encourage him. Eventually Todd began to read the scriptures and do the things he needed to get back on the gospel path. One day Todd told Silas that the accident was the best thing that happened to him. He was headed in the wrong direction and could have never come back, but because of the accident he would eventually be ok and have eternal life.

That is a pretty good outlook and I am not sure I would be that strong. When I face adversity my first reaction is why is this happening to me? When we feel this way, we must remember what Elder Neil L. Anderson taught in the past October General Conference:

“We each understand that difficulties are part of life, but when they come to us personally, they can take our breath away. Without being alarmed, we need to be ready. The Apostle Peter said, “Think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you.” Along with the bright colors of happiness and joy, the darker-colored threads of trial and tragedy are woven deeply into the fabric of our Father’s plan. These struggles, although difficult, often become our greatest teachers.” (Wounded)

One of the other speakers in today’s sacrament meeting, Cathy Gorge, talked about what is happening in Paradise, California where the campfire wildfire has destroyed over 12,000 homes and there has been 76 confirmed deaths and almost 1,300 people unaccounted for. A bishop of one of the wards said that every member of the ward has lost their homes. He told the Church news that as he was leaving home on the morning before the fires started, he was prompted to go back and get his family out. He did, and he also sent messages to his ward to evacuate as well, all church members and missionaries are safe and accounted for. (Church News)

Photo by John Locher/AP Photo

Elder Anderson reminded us that we will all, even those who keep the commandments of God, experience trial in our lives:

Although the details will differ, the tragedies, the unanticipated tests and trials, both physical and spiritual, come to each of us because this is mortality. Wounds of the soul are not unique to the rich or the poor, to one culture, one nation, or one generation. They come to all and are part of the learning we receive from this mortal experience.”

Elder Anderson give several suggestions that will help when we are faced with adversity.

1. Never Give up - no matter how long the problems persist we will get through them.
2. Pray with all your heart - strengthen your faith in Jesus Christ, he will not leave us comfortless.
3. Take your wounded hear and your family names to the temple as frequently as possible.
4. Look forward - your troubles and sorrows are real, but the will not last forever. 

Photo by Noah Berger/AP

Elder Anderson concludes by reminding us:

“No injustice, no persecution, no trial, no sadness, no heartache, no suffering, no wound—however deep, however wide, however painful—will be excluded from the comfort, peace, and lasting hope of Him whose open arms and whose wounded hands will welcome us back into His presence, and God shall wipe away all our tears.” (Wounded)

Speaking in an April 2018 general conference address President Russell M. Nelson said:
“In coming days, it will not be possible to survive spiritually without the guiding, directing, comforting, and constant influence of the Holy Ghost.” (Revelation for the Church, Revelation for Our Lives)

I have had trials, but nothing compared to the ones mentioned here. I can only pray that I will have the faith and testimony to survive spiritually when more difficulties come alone. I also hope that I have the compassion to help others when they face adversity and together, we will all help each other endure and overcome our afflictions.

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