Where can I turn for peace?
Where is my solace
When other sources cease to make me whole?
When with a wounded heart, anger, or malice,
I draw myself apart,
Searching my soul?
The questions of the soul posed in Emma Lou Thayne’s stirring hymn “Where Can I Turn for Peace?“ are the same questions that many are asking today. As we live through what feels like a science-fiction movie come to life, with freedom-restricting “social distancing” rules dominating much of our activity, with the stress of isolation — both physical and emotional — constantly rearing its ugly head, how can we navigate through and find the peace and solace that we seek?
Where can we turn for peace? The answer is simple. We can turn to Jesus Christ, the source of peace.
In Matthew 11:28-30 we read:
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
That invitation is still open and in force today.
But so many are feeling “heavy laden” right now. Single parents with children are working from home and trying to take care of themselves and their children at the same time. Working couples with school-age children are now working from home with all the children at home too. How do they cope? How do we cope and find the balance between working effectively, having family time, and making sure we get personal self-care? How do we keep from totally stressing out and going crazy?
Where, when my aching grows,
Where, when I languish,
Where, in my need to know, where can I run?
Where is the quiet hand to calm my anguish?
Who, who can understand?
He, only One.
Turn to Him. In the words of the Father, as we have been reminded so eloquently by our beloved prophet, President Russell M. Nelson, “Hear Him.”
But how do we hear Him? That is a question we have been invited to ponder deeply by President Nelson. We can take the time to think about the restoration and the multitude of ways the Savior has communicated with us since then, including scriptures and the sweet spirit that comes as we bear our testimony of the Savior. We can hear Him through prayer and feel His words in our hearts and minds. What are the other ways in which we can hear Him?
He answers privately,
Reaches my reaching
In my Gethsemane, Savior and Friend.
Gentle the peace he finds for my beseeching.
Constant he is and kind,
Love without end.
He does answer privately. He reaches our reaching. In our personal Gethsemane, He is there as our Savior and Friend. He alone can give us His peace which surpasses all understanding. He is constant and always kind. His love is eternal!
As we pass through trials, it is well to remember the Lord’s words to Joseph Smith as he languished in Liberty Jail as found in Doctrine & Covenants 121:5-8:
If thou art called to pass through tribulation; if thou art in perils among false brethren; if thou art in perils among robbers; if thou art in perils by land or by sea;
If thou art accused with all manner of false accusations; if thine enemies fall upon thee; if they tear thee from the society of thy father and mother and brethren and sisters; and if with a drawn sword thine enemies tear thee from the bosom of thy wife, and of thine offspring, and thine elder son, although but six years of age, shall cling to thy garments, and shall say, My father, my father, why can’t you stay with us? O, my father, what are the men going to do with you? and if then he shall be thrust from thee by the sword, and thou be dragged to prison, and thine enemies prowl around thee like wolves for the blood of the lamb;
And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.
The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?
Because He descended below all things, Christ knows how to succor us in our time of need, as described in Alma 7:11-12:
11 And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
12 And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.
We may be passing through trials right now, but this too shall pass. Jesus Christ is in charge and He know how to help us navigate through uncharted waters. He is aware of us and aware of what is happening in the world. As we turn to Him, as we seek to hear Him and put our trust in Him, it is my testimony that, come what may, we will be safe and prosperous in Him.
Randall McNeely is a husband, father of five, and author. He is also a singer/songwriter and has written several patriotic songs, children’s songs, and multiple religious hymns. The best known is 'Oh Jesus, Savior of Mankind', which won a Special Recognition award in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints 2008 Music Submission contest. He and two of his daughters have also recorded and released the children’s song Everybody Speaks Smile! Randy has a firm testimony of Jesus Christ. He is the light and the life of the world. It is said and written of Him that "He went about doing good." In doing so, He weaved light into the hearts and souls of all with whom He came in contact, both in word and deed. Randy's desire is to have the same said of him. He wants to have the words and lyrics he writes uplift, inspire, and bless others. To read more articles by Randy visit his Pure Testimony website at www.puretestimony.org.