Desperate Times

In these desperate times
This I plead
When all else fails
Remember me

Desperate Times ~ Killswitch Engage

Desperate times are all around us. Though they’ve existed since the dawn of time itself, sometimes it seems they are raging more fiercely in this day and age. Whether across the world or in our own homes, calamities are always near. So what can we do? How can we pull through these desperate times? The Savior taught us not to rely on the world, for “the world passeth away.” We cannot put our trust in the world, because the world will fail us.

But everything is in the world, right? If the world fails, what’s left? What won’t fail? In the Book of Mormon, the prophet Moroni teaches,

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail. (Moroni 7:46)

Charity never fails. Charity is what we can rely on. But what is it? Moroni continues in verse 47,

But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.

Charity is the pure love of Christ. It is His love for us. It is the perfect love that we are all trying to achieve. It is the love that brings peace to war. It is the love that turns enemies into friends. It is the love that made a perfect Man suffer and die for the sins of mankind. So how can we obtain this love?

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen. (verse 48)

We must pray to our Father in Heaven, with all the energy of heart. We must sincerely seek after this love if we hope to be filled with it. Only through charity are we able to endure the trials of life. When desperate times come, turn to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.

I testify that charity never faileth. It endures all things. And when all else fails, remember Jesus Christ and pray for charity.

Worthy to Suffer

Persecution is never fun, especially when it’s only from doing what we believe is right. At some point, to some degree, we’ve all had to deal with people yelling at us or mocking us for what we do or what we believe.

As a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and therefore a representative of the Lord Jesus Christ, it happens frequently in my life and the lives of my fellow missionaries. At first it was a bit difficult to deal with, but as time went on I grew to a better understanding of these circumstances.

During the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gave this counsel in Matthew 5:10-12,

Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

If others try to bring you down because you believe that Jesus Christ is the Savior, so be it. You are blessed for it. This knowledge always comes to mind whenever I’m put in such a situation. It’s not always easy, and I often wonder why anyone would want to mock someone simply because they want to be a follower of Jesus Christ.

The apostles of the New Testament faced persecution all their days. They were often unjustly arrested, brought before councils of corrupt Pharisees, and wrongly imprisoned and tortured.

On one such occasion, Peter and John were brought before the Sanhedrin after just escaping out of prison with the help of an angel. The Pharisees had commanded them to discontinue preaching in the name of Jesus Christ and the two apostles boldly withstood their threats and told them they would obey God rather than the council.

One from the council, a man named Gamaliel, stood and told his fellow Pharisees to leave the apostles alone, saying that if their work was of men it would pass, and if it was from God then they shouldn’t fight against it.

Acts 5:40-42

And to him they agreed: and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.

And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.

And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.

Peter and John were released, but not after being beaten. When they were finally free from the council, they rejoiced for their suffering, or rather, that they were being allowed to suffer for Jesus Christ’s name. And on top of that, they continued to preach, showing that they feared God more than they feared man.

Now, I can’t say I’ve been unjustly arrested and imprisoned, and I have yet to be beaten up for my beliefs. But for the persecution that I have faced, I am grateful that I am counted worthy to suffer it. This can be the case for any of us that suffers persecution for our Christian beliefs.

I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior, and that He lives. I know that Jesus Christ restored His church to the earth through the prophet Joseph Smith. I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God, and is another testament of Jesus Christ. I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only true and living church on the earth today. If I suffer mockery and other persecutions for my faith, so be it. I will be grateful to be counted worthy to suffer such shame for Christ’s name, and I know that I will be blessed.

Our Father’s Deepest Love

Through the Atonement, Jesus Christ took upon Himself every affliction the world has to offer. Whether it be the spiritual pain of sin, the physical pain of an injury, or the emotional pain of an aching heart, He has felt it all. In the Book of Mormon, the prophet Alma explains the purpose of this in Alma 7:12,

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.

Succor simply means to support or to help. In this verse, Alma explains that Christ took (living before Christ’s mortal ministry, Alma speaks in future tense) upon Himself every pain and sickness so that He knows exactly how it feels, so that He knows exactly how to comfort us when we come upon those obstacles in our own lives.

Once Christ was lifted upon the Christ, He had endured everything, except one thing: complete loneliness. In order for the Atonement to be complete, Jesus Christ had to suffer the entire realm of afflictions. And so we read in Mark 15:34,

And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

Through all the hate and scourges, God had still been with Jesus. But now, hanging there on the cross, Christ felt His Father’s presence leave Him. Perhaps Jesus did not know that such a thing would happen, or perhaps He understood completely and still could not help but ask His Father, “Why hast thou forsaken me?”

There is no doubt in my mind that Heavenly Father was pained and grieved beyond comprehension at even the thought of having to leave His Only Begotten Son. It would not surprise me if our Father in Heaven hid himself in the deepest corner of the universe, so great was His anguish. But He knew that it had to be done. In order for the Atonement to be complete, Jesus had to experience the entire spectrum of sin and pain, which included knowing what it felt like to be completely alone, without even God at His side.

I know that this was done out of love. It was perhaps the hardest thing God has ever had to do, but He did it because He knew that it was the only way for His plan to succeed. I am grateful that my Heavenly Father let Jesus be, allowing Him to be able to succor you and me in our own afflictions no matter what they are.

 

Pieces

I’ve come undone
But You make sense of who I am
Like puzzle pieces in Your eye

Then I’ll see Your face
I know I’m finally Yours
I find everything I thought I lost before
You call my name
I come to You in pieces
So You can make me whole

This is a portion of the lyrics of a song called “Pieces” by one of my favorite bands, RED. The song is about how life often breaks us down and shatters us into pieces. We lose the sense of who we are. We become disorganized, lost, unsure of what to do and how to live our lives. Sometimes we try and put the pieces back together ourselves, but we can’t. We struggle, get frustrated, and sometimes make the problem worse. We need Christ in our lives. He is the One that can put back the pieces and restore us.

Jesus Christ’s atonement did more than just pay for our sins. When Christ suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane, He not only suffered for our mistakes but felt every type of pain, anguish, and sorrow we could ever possibly experience. He knows every heartache, every vent of frustration, every slump of depression, everything. He knows exactly how to comfort and heal us.

Matthew 11: 28-30

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.

When we find ourselves with broken pieces, with no way of putting them back in place ourselves, the only thing we can do is turn to Christ and take His yoke upon us. Through Christ’s atonement we can not only be healed of our sins, but receive peace and comfort through the course of our struggles.

Whatever the trial, I testify that Jesus Christ knows exactly what each and every one of us goes through. When we understand this, we can come to Him and He will make our burdens light.

To all who may read this: I invite you to take Christ’s yoke upon you and allow Him to bear your burdens. If we use His atonement, He will give us strength, He will give us peace and comfort, and He will make our burdens light.

 

“I give unto men weakness…”

We all have our trials, our challenges, and our weaknesses. Weakness is an inevitable part of life, and many wonder why we have them. If God loves us so much, why does He allow us to suffer from tribulation? Why does he allow us to be tempted?

The prophet Moroni had weakness. Strong as he was at speaking, he had absolutely no confidence in his abilities to write impressively:

Ether 12

23And I said unto him: Lord, the Gentiles will mock at these things, because of our weakness in writing; for Lord thou has made us mighty in word by faith, but thou has not made us mighty in writing; for thou has made all this people that they could speak much, because of the Holy Ghost which thou has given them;

25 – Thou hast also made our words powerful and great, even that we cannot write them; wherefore, when we write we behold our weakness, and stumble because of the placing of our words; and I fear lest the Gentiles shall mock at our words.

Moroni, at least in his eyes, could not write well. He stumbled over words and how to place them, and was afraid that in the future others would read his words and laugh at them. The Lord gave him this counsel:

26 And when I had said this, the Lord spake unto me, saying: Fools mock, but they shall mourn; and my grace is sufficient for the meek, that they shall take no advantage of your weakness;

27And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.

Weakness plays a critical role in our lives. Having weakness brings us closer to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Through our trials we gain an understanding of our need for Them, and as we turn to Them for comfort and strength, our relationship with Them grows deeper. Our faith increases. Our testimonies becomes mightier. Our love for our Father in Heaven and our Savior Jesus Christ enlarges. And, as the Lord promises, our weaknesses evolve into strengths.

In fact, weakness is something we should embrace. A lesson we can learn from Paul:

2 Corinthians 12

9And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

10Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

Paul understood the necessity of weakness, and how it can bring us closer to Christ. He recognized the strength one can receive when they humble themselves and use Christ’s Atonement to lift them up.

I know that through Christ, our weaknesses can be made into strengths. I know that we are given our weakness because God loves us and He wants us to grow. For how can we expect to become stronger if we allow ourselves to be swept away by the currents of tribulation? We must fight against them and look steadfastly to Christ to aid us during our times of trial and weakness.

I add my testimony to Paul’s and testify that God has given unto us weakness to bring us closer to Him and to the Lord Jesus Christ.