I’ve heard from several people over the last few weeks that it seems like the world is ending. From earthquakes to subway fires to the pandemic that is sweeping through every nation and community, I can certainly understand why people feel panicked. Yet it’s made me wonder: why don’t I feel afraid?
To be perfectly honest, my lack of fear has really surprised me; after all, the scriptures about the Second Coming have always really freaked me out. (To be clear, I’m not saying that the Second Coming is about to happen — after all, none of us knows when it will happen; I’m only saying that the thought of pestilences, wars, and similar things that will happen prior to the Savior’s return has always frightened me.) I always thought that if a situation like this pandemic were to occur, I’d be a nervous wreck.
But through it all, the one emotion that has encompassed me has been peace. Peace that no matter what happens, our Father’s plan will not be thwarted. The righteous will prevail and all will be well in His kingdom. He remembers His children and makes a way for them to be happy in the eternities.
I can’t say that I will live to see the Lord’s return. I can’t even say with surety that if I were to get COVID-19, I would survive. I can’t say that worse, more painful or scary things won’t come once this virus makes its pass through the world.
I realize that sounds kind of terrifying — yet I’m not afraid, because the one thing I can say is that I know none of this is taking God by surprise. I don’t know which trials God causes or simply allows to happen, but I do know that He consecrates all of our trials if we turn to Him. He makes a way out of these hardships, whether here on earth or in heaven.
The Lord knew that frightening things would happen prior to His return. Yet He didn’t say, “Yikes, watch out!” or “You should all be very afraid” — what He did say, over and over, was “Fear not.” And while no one on earth can give us a complete assurance that we shouldn’t worry, the God of heaven and earth certainly can. If there’s anyone we can trust, it’s Him — the One who sees all.
In fact, the reason the Lord gives us these “scary” things before His coming isn’t to make everyone’s life miserable — it’s to give everyone an opportunity to repent and to make their lives better and right with God. It’s an opportunity to come closer to Him; to turn to Him. These tragedies are painful, yet they are also merciful in that they allow us to recognize the things in our lives we need to change to be ready to meet Him before it’s too late.
As I’ve thought about all that is going on in the world, I’ve had a specific scripture come to my mind more than once:
“He doeth not anything save it be for the benefit of the world; for he loveth the world, even that he layeth down his own life that he may draw all men unto him. Wherefore, he commandeth none that they shall not partake of his salvation” (2 Nephi 26:24).
Absolutely everything He does is for the good of the world, and that will never, ever change.
So amidst this time of turmoil, fear, and chaos, we can feel peace, comfort, and hope knowing that God takes care of His children and that He remembers His followers.
Just think of it: He’s consistently taken care of us through his prophets. Before the huge recession of 2008, the Lord told us through President Gordon B. Hinckley to get out of debt; then, when the recession hit, those who had taken that advice were able to pull through financially. Similarly, the Lord has told us for years and years to have food storage; then, when the shelves were empty and the stores were in total upheaval, we were prepared. He told us to prepare spiritually at home and not rely on church meetings for our spiritual needs; then, when church has been suspended for an indefinite amount of time, we’ve been ready.
He’s always taken care of us, and He’s not going to leave us now.
So all we have to do is adhere to His counsel and trust that good things will come for those who strive to follow Him.
During this time when so many are fearful and afraid, may the words of a familiar hymn be our mantra:
“Be still my soul the Lord is on thy side
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain
Leave to thy God to order and provide
In every change He faithful will remain
Be still my soul thy best, thy heavenly friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end”
Throughout my life, I can say with complete confidence that the Lord has remained faithful to me “in every change.” Though there have been times when I’ve turned from Him, He has never turned from me. He is my constant; my rock.
I know He remembers us, loves us, and will care for us in all the ways that we need.
And that’s why I’m not afraid.
Amy Carpenter is the site manager and editor for LDSBlogs.com. She served a full-time mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Denver, Colorado, where she learned to love mountains and despise snow. She has a passion for peanut butter, dancing badly, and most of all, the gospel.