I have been participating in a healthcare survey about the effects of a worldwide pandemic on society as a whole. It has been interesting to see how the survey questions have changed over these many months. They started out asking questions about changed work schedules, homeschooling, online classes, unemployment, and economic issues. About the sixth month into this crisis, there was an abrupt change. Many of the questions became mental health questions. Reading between the lines, I was able to see that the healthcare industry is becoming as concerned about our mental health as they are about protecting us from a potentially deadly virus. As I answered survey questions for the last time this morning, I found myself venting rather strongly in the “comments” section. I realized that I have some work to do in the area of trusting God and finding peace.
As I have studied the October 2020 General Conference talks, I have been amazed at the prophetic counsel given. Over and over again, we were told exactly how to find peace. Overcoming the challenges that we have been facing is a daunting task, but prophets, seers, and revelators, as well as other Church leaders, have not only told us it is possible, but necessary. This is a time to show what we are made of—trust God and find peace.
President Nelson spelled it all out for us.
How are we to deal with both the somber prophecies and the glorious pronouncements about our day? The Lord told us how with simple, but stunning, reassurance: “If ye are prepared ye shall not fear.” (Doctrine and Covenants 38:30)
What a promise! It is one that can literally change the way we see our future. … I urge you to take steps to be temporally prepared. But I am even more concerned about your spiritual and emotional preparation (President Russell M. Nelson, “Embrace the Future with Faith,” Oct. 2020 General Conference).
I have taken President Nelson’s counsel seriously. I have reorganized, restocked, and added items to my temporal emergency preparedness supplies. That was relatively easy once items became available again in the marketplace. Spiritual and emotional preparation is an ongoing challenge, but I’m slowly getting there. It ebbs and flows in conjunction with my day-to-day faith.
President Nelson gave us the pattern for us to follow in order to trust God and find peace. I have found great comfort in his words.
“First, … [C]reate areas where [you will] be safe—places of security. … Second, … [prepare] [your mind] to be faithful unto the Lord. Third, … never [stop] preparing …—physically or spiritually. … [A]s turmoil rages around us, we need to create places where we are safe, both physically and spiritually. When your home becomes a personal sanctuary of faith—where the Spirit resides—your home becomes the first line of defense. … [Y]our endowment has given you constant access to God’s power as you have honored your covenants with Him. … [O]ur spiritual foundations must be solid. … [O]ur faith increases every time we exercise our faith in Him. … The Book of Mormon is our latter-day survival guide. … Life without God is a life filled with fear. Life with God is a life filled with peace. This is because spiritual blessings come to the faithful. Receiving personal revelation is one of the greatest of those blessings. … The adversary never stops attacking. So, we can never stop preparing! The more self-reliant we are—temporally, emotionally, and spiritually—the more prepared we are to thwart Satan’s relentless assaults (“Embrace the Future with Faith,” id).
My attempts at trusting God and finding peace have been met with variations of success. I think I’ve been pretty successful in creating a sanctuary of peace in our home. That part has been easier for me because I am no longer raising children. When your home consists of two somewhat rational adults, creating that sanctuary is much easier than when you are trying to create a peaceful sanctuary with tired and cranky children. However, I have yet to fully lay claim to God’s power through my endowment. I struggle with this. This is an area where I am constantly striving to improve. I know I have that power at my fingertips; the problem is being humble enough to access it. Trusting God is all about being humble.
President Nelson spelled out for me that my spiritual foundation must be on firm ground, and that happens by exercising faith in my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, and being willing to listen to the Holy Ghost. I love that he pointed out that the Book of Mormon is our survival guide. When I am actively studying and pondering the scriptures, particularly the Book of Mormon, it is easier for me to humble myself and listen to the Holy Ghost.
Some parts of my patriarchal blessing remind me to seek for spiritual blessings. I found President Nelson’s words stabbing at my heart because I know that spiritual blessings come to the faithful—and my faith ebbs and flows daily, sometimes hourly. I’ve prayed repeatedly over these very difficult months for personal revelation, but admittedly, I have not put in the groundwork preparation for receiving that particular spiritual blessing. Until I can trust God consistently, I don’t think I will ever be good at receiving personal revelation, nor at finding peace.
During the pandemic, I have repeatedly given myself a good talking to about enduring to the end. I’ve told myself over and over that this is a temporary thing, and that I just need to endure it. Each time I do that, I find myself more frustrated than I was before I gave myself this advice. Yes, we all must endure this, but we must learn from it as well. Trials are supposed to help us get better at self-mastery. This should be a time of great spiritual learning for all of us.
“[L]et us not just endure this current season. Let us embrace the future with faith! Turbulent times are opportunities for us to thrive spiritually. They are times when our influence can be much more penetrating than in calmer times” (“Embrace the Future with Faith,” id).
I have a lot to learn about trusting God, and until I can fully and consistently do that, peace will be sporadic and fleeting. Half the battle is knowing what is wrong so you can fix it, right? There’s a great line in the movie Apollo 13 where the engineers are told to “work the problem.” I have learned that I have a problem, and I have identified that problem. I just need to work the problem. My goal is to actively seek opportunities every day to trust God. I’m hoping that after a while, it will become a habit. Here’s hoping that as I contemplate the birth, life, ministry, and atonement of Jesus Christ this Christmas that I will learn to trust Him, and to trust my Heavenly Father. Here’s hoping that by doing so, I’ll more actively listen to the promptings of the Holy Ghost. Here’s hoping that we all will find peace.
Tudie Rose is a mother of four and grandmother of ten in Sacramento, California. You can find her on Twitter as @TudieRose. She blogs as Tudie Rose at http://potrackrose.wordpress.com. She has written articles for Familius. You will find a Tudie Rose essay in Lessons from My Parents, Michele Robbins, Familius 2013, at http://www.familius.com/lessons-from-my-parents.