A bomb was dropped on me yesterday. A bomb that shattered my idyllic perception of the world and my trust in so many things that had once seemed certain. It left me feeling frightened, disoriented, doubtful, and so very, very alone.
I do know that one thing in this world is "eternal, unchanged evermore," and that is the reality that Heavenly Father lives and loves me, and that His Gospel is true.
I know now better than ever that is absolutely vital to cling to the iron rod. There are more pitfalls and distractions in this world than ever before, and if we are not fully focused and exactly obedient, the adversary will take us down. We cannot afford to fall. There is too much at stake.
And while I am grateful for that lesson, my head has been spinning with all kinds of doubts and fears. Will I be able to make it? Am I strong enough to resist the temptations of the adversary? What about the ones I love? What about my future family? Do I have what it takes to effectively teach my children to keep the commandments? Is there any way for me to be safe?
Last night, my visiting teachers came over. (They are so wonderful!) While we were chatting before the lesson, a guy from our ward came by talked with us through the window. "How are you doing?" asked McKenzie, one of my visiting teachers. "We haven't seen you since they changed the FHE groups."
"Oh yeah," he replied. "Since they changed them I don't really go any more."
"I'm just so busy right now. When I'm older and it's more important, I'll do it then."
"You are always going to be busy, and isn't FHE important now as much as ever?" she asked with love and concern in her voice.
"Yeah, I guess you're right," he said, and the conversation moved forward. I don't know if that young man thought more about it, but I sure did, and we returned to that concept in the visiting teaching lesson.
"It's just like I was saying earlier," McKenzie continued, "this is such a critical time in our lives. This is the time when we are making habits that we will have throughout our lives." And then it hit me. If I work right now to establish good habits of daily prayer and scripture study, they will become a part of who I am.
In a world so filled with dangers and distractions, it is more important than ever to stay focused on living the Gospel. If we don't put all of our effort into maintaining our relationship with the Lord and being worthy for the companionship of His Spirit, we will fall. We cannot succeed without God. We have to be doing the simple things each day, or our adversary will succeed.
But if we are constantly striving to have the guidance of the Lord, if we decide to never give up and never give in, if we remain comitted to doing the small and simple things, we will have the protection of the Lord. And we will succeed.
"It requires a conscious effort to diminish distractions, but having the Spirit of revelation makes it possible to prevail over opposition and persist in faith through difficult days and essential routine tasks," Sister Julie B. Beck promises. "Personal revelation gives us the understanding of what to do every day to increase faith and personal righteousness, strengthen families and homes, and seek those who need our help. Because personal revelation is a constantly renewable source of strength, it is possible to feel bathed in help even during turbulent times." Yes, it is possible to stay strong and be safe, even in this wicked, wicked world.
I find comfort in the words of Winston Churchill to the British Parliament in May of 1940, another time when there was much fear for the future and very little to have faith in. Somehow in the midst of such darkness, Churchill found hope and extended it to his fellow men, not just in his time but for decades to come.
We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering. You ask, what is our policy? I will say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark and lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: victory; victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival....But I take up my task with buoyancy and hope. I feel sure that our cause will not be suffered to fail among men. At this time I feel entitled to claim the aid of all, and I say, "Come then, let us go forward together with our united strength."
I too, "take up my task with buoyancy and hope." I know that the Lord is with me, with all of us in our fight to do what is right. I know that He lives and loves us. I know that He will never forsake us. I know that He has provided a way to have peace and happiness in every season of our lives, and that is in the teachings of His Gospel. And I know through the sweet reassurance of the Spirit that in time, everything will be OK.
Shall we not go on in so great a cause?