We are surrounded by angels on both sides of the veil.
Today is a unique circumstance in time. I could elaborate ad nauseam on the amazing uproar and chaos that is rampant on all sides of the globe. Every which way one turns, there is conflict and disorder. But the bedlam that so often crowds our television screens and appears in print in our papers is no longer a surprise. In fact, the media all around us has become like the unnamed magazine where every edition purports a new and more outlandish claim than the last.
Everyday folks like you and I are wondering where these challenges come from. Strong and healthy church-attending members may feel lost and vulnerable at times. Depression, anxiety, stress, and the deprived were terms we reserved for the outcasts or at least the destitute. But today they are part of our everyday conversations and many of our lives.
How can that be?
Disturbances during the last days can be overwhelming. No wonder when in need of a gift that could be of significant help to them, Christ’s disciples were promised peace.
1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
Scriptures have warned of these days for years. When I was a child, it was inconceivable and difficult to see or actually imagine. As an adult, this description is pervasive every which way we turn.
Yet we can still be a people of hope, happiness, and courage.
How is that possible?
“The scriptures are replete with the promise that God’s grace is sufficient. This is the one arena where no one has to claw or compete,” states Elder Jeffrey R. Holland.
“Buy milk and honey, without money and without price” is the way the Savior describes the salvation He has won for all mankind. Everything He does is to rescue and benefit the world. His love for all us is so great that He willingly laid down His own life for us, and He calls us His friends.
And now abideth faith, hope, and charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
1 Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.
2 Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.
25 Behold, doth he cry unto any, saying: Depart from me? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; but he saith: Come unto me all ye ends of the earth, buy milk and honey, without money and without price.
29 And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s,
30 But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.
19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.
“Our Savior, Jesus Christ, is the Light of the World, and He beckons us to follow Him. We must look to Him at all times and especially so if there are dark and stormy nights when the tempest of doubt and uncertainty, like a rolling fog, creeps in. Should the pointed fingers “from the other side of the river of water, [where] a great and spacious building [stands]” (1 Nephi 8:26) appear to be directed at you in the attitude of mocking, demeaning, and beckoning, I ask that you immediately turn away so that you are not persuaded by cunning and devious means to separate yourself from truth and its blessings”
However, this alone will not be enough in this day when perverse things are being spoken, written, and portrayed. Elder Robert D. Hales taught us, “Unless you are fully engaged in living the gospel—living it with all of your ‘heart, might, mind and strength’—you cannot generate enough spiritual light to push back the darkness” (Robert D. Hales, “Out of Darkness into His Marvelous Light,” April 2002). Surely, our desire to follow Christ, who is the Light of the World (see John 8:12), means we must act on His teachings. We are spiritually strengthened, fortified, and protected as we follow the word of God” (Ian S. Arden, “Seek Ye Out of the Best Books,” October 2017).
Elder Marion G. Romney explained what price is required:
“When earth life is over and things appear in their true perspective, we shall more clearly see and realize what the Lord and his prophets have repeatedly told us, that the fruits of the gospel are the only objectives worthy of life’s full efforts. Their possessor obtains true wealth—wealth in the Lord’s view of values. …
“I conceive the blessings of the gospel to be of such inestimable worth that the price for them must be very exacting, and if I correctly understand what the Lord has said on the subject, it is. The price, however, is within the reach of us all, because it is not to be paid in money nor in any of this world’s goods but in righteous living. What is required is wholehearted devotion to the gospel and unreserved allegiance to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. …
“A half-hearted performance is not enough. We cannot obtain these blessings and be like the rich young man who protested that he had kept the commandments from his youth up but who went away sorrowful when, in answer to the question, ‘What lack I yet?’ Jesus said unto him,
“‘If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor … and come and follow me.’ (Matt. 19:21.) Evidently he could live everything but the welfare program.
“There can be no such reservation. We must be willing to sacrifice everything. Through self-discipline and devotion we must demonstrate to the Lord that we are willing to serve him under all circumstances. When we have done this, we shall receive an assurance that we shall have eternal life in the world to come. Then we shall have peace in this world” (In Conference Report, Oct. 1949, pp. 39, 43–44).
My beloved Aunt Geri and Uncle Keith are part of some of my finest memories as a small child. We used to regularly go to their home in Las Vegas, and I remember that a highlight for me was swimming in their pool. Later, they served in the temple for many years. Her words and testimony are treasured memories for me today. Her story of Keith during a difficult time when her husband’s health failed him inspires me. She nevertheless continued working in the temple—and attending was a blessing in her life.
Joseph Smith spoke these words as he journeyed to Carthage: “I am going like a lamb to the slaughter; but I am calm as a summer’s morning; I have a conscience void of offense towards God, and towards all men.”
He and Geri both expressed the sentiment that because of our faith in Jesus Christ, we can be confident and void of fear or apprehension, even during challenging times.
Remember, we are surrounded by angels.
“He Lives” – BYUI Devotional by Bonnie Moon
“Settle This in Your Hearts” – Neal A. Maxwell, October 1992
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.