Life can be tough. Making a living, raising a family, avoiding life’s pitfalls and dealing with the obstacles that we try to avoid can be challenging. The adversary sets snares for each one of us, our families, friends, and children. But intermingled with the hardships that we face are instances of euphoria that keep us and help us endure. Grounded in the gospel is a happy and celebratory situation—not a condemnation with which we have to deal. A couple examples follow:
There was a situation a few years ago that was particularly challenging for my family. We are a tightly knit bunch and tried to come together, but the challenge we faced was tearing us apart. We have always been a close family and cherished the times we have shared together, but somehow this vice was our nemesis—probably the most difficult challenge any of us ever faced. Though I was supposed to be the leader in the family, I felt like giving up, but that was not an option. At times I would wonder if this was more than my family could bear. I know I should have been asking “What are we supposed to learn from this?” but the natural man in me caused me to cry “Why is this happening to us?”
During this particular time, my son was dabbling in one of his passions—writing music. He composed the lyrics and the music and produced the songs. His best tunes were those where he was able to celebrate his passions and remember acute times during his life, both good and bad. He released these experiences on the stanzas of his music and expressed them in the lyrics that he crooned. In the early days, he used to play his music at the park or around places where people frequented like outside a movie theater. The reception he got was positive and he began to get requests for his music in various venues. He eventually produced several CDs. I still listen to these songs today. They bring back memories and emotions that take my breath away and help me realize how blessed we have been. The Lord’s hand has been apparent in helping us through these obstacles and somehow these songs help remind me of this. Today, I am able to see the wisdom and benefits that have come as a result. I really appreciate this knowledge. And I am grateful for this melodic personal history of sorts that captured these memories for us and have branded them deep into our hearts and minds.
My family recently had the opportunity of celebrating the decision an extended family member made to go on a mission. Before long, we were receiving letters from her while she was serving for several weeks in the MTC. She marveled at the wonderful opportunity it was to be there and feel of the Spirit that abundantly graces the halls in those hallowed buildings.
Still she marveled at how much work it was and the intensity of the call. She captured her sentiments in a phrase she learned there: “Little growth in a comfort zone. Little comfort in a growing zone.”
As I prepared to write this article, my mind reflected on the conversations I had with my dad when I was just a small boy. He taught us from the scriptures when he told about Daniel’s interpretation and King Nebbechanezzer’s dream of the stone cut out of the mountain without hands that rolled forth until it filled the whole earth. He explained that this stone represented the kingdom of God on earth. This scriptural account came to mind because the Church’s missionary effort alone has fulfilled this prophecy. I was overcome with the magnitude of the resources, energy, and success of the programs of the Church: missionary, family history, humanitarian, temple, and influence all across the world. This article reveals only a portion of this immense effort, and even then it’s stunning.
Gratefully, the Lord’s programs are perfect and compensate for our weakness and imperfections. As we align ourselves with Him, we enjoy the benefits and blessings of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
“And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that theymay be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them” (Ether 12:27).
“Fear not, little children, for you are mine, and I have overcome the world, and you are of them that my Father hath given me;
“And none of them that my Father hath given me shall be lost” (Doctrine and Covenants 50;41,42).
In 1989, Walter Penning formed a consultancy based in Salt Lake City and empowered his clients by streamlining processes and building a loyal, lifetime customer base with great customer service. His true passion is found in his family. He says the best decision he ever made was to marry his sweetheart and have children. The wonderful family she has given him and her constant love, support, and patience amid life's challenges is his panacea.