- We are living through turbulent times. A great storm of evil has come upon the earth. The winds of wickedness howl about us; the waves of war beat against our ship.
- Through the still, small voice of His Spirit, the Lord will protect us, help us, and guide us.
Elder Hales talks about the Brother of Jared in the Book of Mormon. He shares that the Brother of Jared didn't just see a problem, he took a solution to the Lord. We as parents need to look for solutions and ask the Lord to bless our efforts as we raise our children in these turbulent times.
- As parents and leaders, we must remember that “it is not meet that [the Lord] should command in all things.” Like the brother of Jared, we must carefully consider the needs of our family members, make a plan to meet those needs, and then take our plan to the Lord in prayer. This will require faith and effort on our part, but He will help us as we seek His assistance and do His will.
In our lives, we will be protected by listening and doing what the Lord's prophets have taught us. There is safety in following the Lord's leaders.
- The living prophets have counseled us time and again to put our lives in order—to eliminate debt, to store food and other essential items, to pay our tithing, to obtain appropriate education, and to live the commandments. Have we obeyed these essential instructions?
Our children need to see our faith in action so that their faith is strengthened. Their fear of the future will be decreased as they follow our example of faith in action.
- They need to see us continuing to pray and study the scriptures together, to hold family home evening and family councils, to serve faithfully in our Church callings, to attend the temple regularly, and to be obedient to our covenants. When they see our steadfastness in keeping the commandments, their fears will subside and their confidence in the Lord will increase. By showing our faith through tribulation, we assure them that the fury of the adversary is not fatal.
Just because we listen to the prophets and make good decisions in our lives, doesn't mean we will be without trials. We all have experiences that will cause us to be tested. But our faith will see us through those experiences in a strong manner.
- Each of us must go through certain experiences to become more like our Savior. In the school of mortality, the tutor is often pain and tribulation, but the lessons are meant to refine and bless us and strengthen us, not to destroy us.
- Tests of our faith are priceless opportunities to discover how deeply the Master cares about the welfare of our souls to help us endure to the end.
Elder Hales speaks about the Saviors final days and what we can learn when we change our perspective a bit. We can look at the last days as trials and pain, or we can look at the good that was done in those same moments.
- When we observe the last week of the Savior’s life from our earthly perspective, our first impression may be one of suffering and destruction. We may see only the Savior’s mother and others weeping at the cross, soldiers afraid, the earth in great commotion, rocks broken up, the veil of the temple rent in twain, and three hours of darkness covering the land. A similar scene of storms and destruction unfolded in the New World. In short, we see the terrible tempest raging.
- But look again—this time through the eye of faith.
- In the last, most agonizing weeks of His life, consider that Jesus taught, testified, lifted, blessed, and strengthened those around Him. He raised Lazarus from the dead, taught about His Father, set the temple in order, gave several parables, witnessed the widow offering her mite, instructed His disciples about the signs of His Second Coming, visited the house of Simon the leper, instituted the sacrament, washed the feet of the Apostles, and taught His disciples to love one another. He testified of His divinity as the Son of God and taught of the Comforter—the Holy Ghost. In His great Intercessory Prayer, He prayed to His Father for His Apostles and all who believe on their words, “that they might have [His] joy fulfilled in themselves.”
- In His darkest hour, the light of peace and joy did not fade. It grew brighter! After His death, He appeared to Mary Magdalene. What joy must have been felt that morning as the news spread: “He is risen”! In time He came to the women on the road, to Cleopas and a disciple who were traveling to Emmaus, to the Apostles and disciples in the upper room, to Thomas, who doubted, and to others. Again, there was joy and rejoicing in the Atonement and the Resurrection.
- But this was not all. In vision, President Joseph F. Smith—a prophet, seer, and revelator—saw the Savior’s visit to the spirit world.
He promises us that the light of Christ will shine in our lives as we exercise our faith.
- My brothers and sisters, however dark conditions may seem in this world today, whatever the storms we are facing personally, in our homes and our families, this joy can be ours now. Sometimes we don’t understand death, illness, mental and physical disabilities, personal tragedies, war, and other conflict. Some of these are a necessary part of our mortal probation. Others, as Enoch foresaw, are part of the preparation for the Savior’s Second Coming, when “the heavens shall be darkened, and a veil of darkness shall cover the earth; and the heavens shall shake, and also the earth; and great tribulations shall be among the children of men, but,” said the Lord, “my people will I preserve.” And when Enoch saw all these things, he “received a fulness of joy.”
Elder Hales ends by sharing his testimony of the Savior.
- I bear special witness with joy and rejoicing that He did come into this world, suffered for our sins, and will return again. Our faith in Him and obedience to His commandments will bring “a perfect brightness of hope” and dispel the darkness and gloom of despair in these troubled times. The One who had power to calm the elements of earth has power to calm our souls, to give us refuge from the storm.
Elder Hales shares a message of hope. We will not be without trials in our lives. But through our faith, we can be given peace and joy while enduring life's struggles. There is hope in the Savior and all that he offers.