We are engaged in a fierce battle. Does that surprise you? It’s true. No, I am not talking about national security or the COVID-19 virus. Even with all the uproar in the homeland, it is much more serious than that. This clash is not just a life or death situation. This impacts families, friends, and everyone on earth with eternal implications.
Conflicts abroad, political unrest at home, vices, addictions, epidemics, diseases, despair, suffering, and sorrow are rampant. The misery index is an economic indicator, created by economist Arthur Okun, which tries to put a number to the situation, considering such things as inflation, unemployment, crime, and financial hardship. These contribute to despair, depression, and social anxiety, but even that is only a partial picture of reality. What about disease, fear, rejection, abuse, and spiritual poverty?
There are many difficulties related to living in our day, but the Lord knows this and prepared a way for us to be able enjoy peace in the midst of this chaos. Can that really be?
Before you throw in the towel and say that it is all too much to take, l have a bit of encouragement to share with you. We are gratefully not alone in this challenge. We have amazing models of faith all around us after which we can pattern our lives. There are many examples from all walks of life of individuals who have dedicated a lifetime pursuing goals and giving all they have to achieve a particular end result. People spend untold hours working toward an objective, but the challenges can seem overwhelming at times. Nevertheless, these folks pursue their aims with ambition, dedication, and endurance. We can learn a lot from these examples. Forgive me for sharing just a couple of my heroes with you for the purpose of building confidence and assured success despite the numerous challenges of our day: my father, Kent Davis, Gordon B. Hinckley, Spencer W Kimball, and hundreds more.
I had the opportunity of attending BYU during the glory days of football: McMahon, Young, Boscoe, and Detmer, to name just a few. The consistency of the program became its legendary passing attack. Lavell Edwards’ dominance started slowly but lasted for years. Known as the quarterback factory, BYU began a passing scheme that served it well for many decades. But even then, its real strategy was building men more than achieving football supremacy.
We had the distinct pleasure of hearing Lavell Edwards speak at the 25-year reunion for my BYU graduating class a number of years ago. It may have been his final public address.
I wouldn’t try and win a football game on my own without a team, I won’t fight a battle alone or try to win a war all by myself, and I won’t successfully complete the test of life single-handedly either. My capacity is assured when I implement the great plan of happiness God has prepared for the success and realization of our potentials. When I’m part of the winning side, I cannot lose. I will not fail.
Keep trying even when the going gets really tough—that is what is required of us. We don’t have to be perfect. We don’t have to be the best. We don’t even have to be good. What is required is that we keep trying, and the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ will carry us through.
True. None of us earn our salvation. It too is a gift from a merciful and loving Heavenly Father. But the desire to be part of the Kingdom of God and live in harmony with Him for eternity is up to us. The Lord has given us methods to enhance that desire and build a strong connection with Him. They are called commandments and they lead to covenants, which further build our rock-solid confidence in and enduring commitment to Him.
Whose side are you on? Now is the time to suit up and catch the vision that others see.
Of course, we are not talking about football—not really. The fierce battles we face involve much more significant issues and times throughout our lives. But the similarities are undeniable. I have never had the opportunity to stand behind the offensive line as a quarterback and feel the adrenaline rush that must occur after the football is hiked and enormous linemen plunge forward to protect you, often putting their health and well-being at risk to save yours. And your team gives its all to successfully pull off the play that you called to win the game. Can you imagine the camaraderie and appreciation that exists between teammates that are truly fighting for one another? I can only imagine that sensation is similar to the gratitude we feel for those that wage war against life’s battles in our behalf. The prophets of old and those today, family members, Church authorities, honest and upright government officials, and great examples struggling for us are worthy of our respect and admiration. They have earned it.
Significant battles of every kind happen down the track, on the court, and in the field—but none of them, however surreal, compare to our assured victory through the triumph of God. With Him, we can all be winners even when everything else falls apart in our lives and vies for survival. With God, we can’t lose.
You’re thinking that your situation is unique? That is okay. Jesus Christ intimately specializes in personally healing the afflicted and addressing the suffering in unique situations for every individual. Significant battles occur in the heart and mind on operating tables, down the corporate hallways or in the board room, during rocky times, and in the midst of wherever you may be struggling currently. Your situation is known. He understands your hardships and suffering, and the great miracle of His Atonement is that He can heal you and replace hardship with peace, exchange despair with hope, swap anguish and discord with increased harmony. Peace is the sentiment created through the assured victory and triumph of God. With Him, we are victorious even now—in this very moment—when everything else is falling apart and crumbling around us. Our power to carry burdens can be increased more than enough. We are not forsaken. With God we are all winners.
It is true that teams need to devise a playbook and strategy to face our battles. Armies need disposition of forces with a solid plan of action. And we too need guidance in our homes and lives. What father has never faced a challenge with absolutely no idea how to overcome the obstacle in his way?
But I speak from experience when I tell you that our own efforts are not enough. I can imagine the naysayers chanting “Stand up and be a man!” or “Step up to the plate and show your mettle!”
That’s okay. I know that our families are depending on us, and we need to be strong and protect them in the midst of challenging times. And that takes real courage. But the men I admire most have the stable characteristic of humility about them and are honest, true, and valiant. Their strength does not come from themselves alone.
Appreciation and demonstrated kindness exhibit the marvelous qualities of the Savior, engendering courage in the middle of our battles and making good men great.
Our potential for happiness is only beginning. Our decisions now to follow Jesus Christ move us toward our ultimate purpose and assured victory, no matter our battles.
Even in seclusion, we can honor, follow, and emulate Him.
“The future of this world has long been declared; the final outcome between good and evil is already known. There is absolutely no question as to who wins because the victory has already been posted on the scoreboard. The only really strange thing is all of this is that we are still down here on the field trying to decide which team’s jersey we want to wear!” – Jeffrey R. Holland
Grab your neighbor and join me and for the greatest victory of all time—today, tomorrow, and forever.
If the desire is strong enough, our performance is assured.
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.