Performing beautiful musical renditions is not my strong point, so I am grateful for those who share their musical abilities. Near and far, we are fortunate with today’s technology to enjoy their talents.
Have you ever found yourself weeping at the end of a particularly moving rendition of a song? I have, and I think you probably know what I am talking about. When I think of this question, my mind returns to the mission field in Finland more than three decades ago.
The Finns are a particularly noble people with a passionate love for their country and freedom. Over decades of conflict, they have fought tenaciously for their liberty. The harsh climate where they live requires of them their very best, and yet they make the most of their circumstances. Despite these challenges, they have built warm, comfortable homes and pleasant, beautiful communities. I still treasure the many good memories available and abundant in that country among the Finns.
While I was there, the World Games were taking place in Helsinki. Our missionary work had to take on a different tone during this particular week because literally every TV was tuned into the games. Like typical Olympic events, the national anthem of the mother country was played for the gold-medal winner. We gleaned many occasions when the United States national anthem was played. This was during the era of Carl Lewis who secured many gold medals.
Allegiance for our country and appreciation welled deep within our hearts. What I remember most about this time, however, is what occurred when the Finnish fans would hear their national anthem play. They would join in song with gusto. Tears would stream down their faces as they sang the words of their national anthem to their beloved country.
The significance of this to me is that because the cost was very dear that was extracted from them to gain their freedom, their appreciation and devotion was similarly prized.
That is just one example that stands out to me. Another instance that comes to mind occurred on occasion when my father would listen to Josh Groban’s You Raise Me Up. Tears would stream down his cheeks as he listened to that song and considered its implications and the source of strength that he received through the Savior Jesus Christ.
I share these examples with you, because this kind of thing happened again to me recently. Only instead of the lyrics and melody of a song, the impetus for these feelings came from a sermon delivered by Elder Jeffrey R Holland during the April conference. Did you hear it?
He recounts “Among the realities we face as children of God living in a fallen world is that some days are difficult, days when our faith and our fortitude are tested. These challenges may come from a lack in us, a lack in others, or just a lack in life, but whatever the reason, we find these excuses can rob us of the songs we so much want to sing.“
Now for me to simply quote an excerpt from this talk is like taking a few notes from a page of a symphony. It doesn’t do the rendition justice. You simply must hear it in its entirety and in context.
Among many great suggestions in his message, he recommends that we embrace the Apostle Paul’s counsel to “hope for that [which] we see not … [and] with patience wait for it.” When we fall short or the stanzas of our life do not transpire the way we expect or hope, enduring to the end is sometimes all we can do. Indeed, enduring to the end is all we can do.
The adversary tries to deceive us. He will promote the concept that we are not good enough. His minions preach that the world is going to pot and our government, circumstances, and efforts are lost causes. There is pain and suffering in our midst and all across the world. But there is also good, and we can be part of the outreach to improve lives and eliminate pain and sorrow.
In fact, that is the best remedy I know of for hardship and suffering. Lose yourself in the service of others and watch your happiness blossom. It happens every day in 421 missions all across the world, in thousands of neighborhoods and schools, in temples, and among the downtrodden, hopeless, and those in despair. We have not been forsaken. The Lord Jesus Christ prepared the way, wrought the atonement in our behalf, and set an example we should follow. He is here in our midst.
Even at the height of the hardship that we face, we are blessed with words of wisdom and sermons of song in the form of hymns, which are proclaimed every week in our church meetings. Pick one; any of them. The sermons delivered through these lessons give us hope in the midst of despair, peace amid conflict, and strength and appreciation when we feel tired and consumed.
The hymns and good music buoy us up until we can savor and sing forever the song of redeeming love.
And that is a song I long to sing.
In constructing their national pride, the authors of Finnish accord set examples worthy of admiration.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland – I plead with each one of us to stay permanently and faithfully in the choir.
Showcasing the talents of gifted artists, Celine Dion and Josh Groban perform a favorite anthem.
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.