The Savior revealed the perfect priorities for our lives, our homes, our wards, our communities, and our nations when He spoke of love as the great commandment upon which “hang all the law and the prophets.” We can spend our days obsessing about the finest details of life, the law, and long lists of things to do; but should we neglect the great commandments, we are missing the point and we are clouds without water, drifting in the winds, and trees without fruit.
Without this love for God the Father and our fellowmen we are only the form of His Church—without the substance. What good is our teaching without love? What good is missionary, temple, or welfare work without love?
Love is what inspired our Heavenly Father to create our spirits; it is what led our Savior to the Garden of Gethsemane to make Himself a ransom for our sins. Love is the grand motive of the plan of salvation; it is the source of happiness, the ever-renewing spring of healing, the precious fountain of hope.
As we extend our hands and hearts toward others in Christlike love, something wonderful happens to us. Our own spirits become healed, more refined, and stronger. We become happier, more peaceful, and more receptive to the whisperings of the Holy Spirit.
Let our hearts and hands be stretched out in compassion toward others, for everyone is walking his or her own difficult path. As disciples of Jesus Christ, our Master, we are called to support and heal rather than condemn. We are commanded “to mourn with those that mourn” and “comfort those that stand in need of comfort.”
It is unworthy of us as Christians to think that those who suffer deserve their suffering. Easter Sunday is a good day to remember that our Savior willingly took upon Himself the pain and sickness and suffering of us all—even those of us who appear to deserve our suffering.
In the book of Proverbs we read that “a friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” Let us love at all times. And let us especially be there for our brothers and sisters during times of adversity.
It is important to understand that His healing can mean being cured, or having your burdens eased, or even coming to realize that it is worth it to endure to the end patiently, for God needs brave sons and daughters who are willing to be polished when in His wisdom that is His will.
Recognize that some challenges in life will not be resolved here on earth. Paul pled thrice that “a thorn in the flesh” be removed. The Lord simply answered, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” He gave Paul strength to compensate so he could live a most meaningful life. He wants you to learn how to be cured when that is His will and how to obtain strength to live with your challenge when He intends it to be an instrument for growth. In either case the Redeemer will support you. That is why He said, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; … For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
When you feel you can do no more, temporarily lay your challenges at His feet. The scriptures tell you how.
Success in righteousness, the power to avoid deception and resist temptation, guidance in our daily lives, healing of the soul—these are but a few of the promises the Lord has given to those who will come to His word. Does the Lord promise and not fulfill? Surely if He tells us that these things will come to us if we lay hold upon His word, then the blessings can be ours. And if we do not, then the blessings may be lost. However diligent we may be in other areas, certain blessings are to be found only in the scriptures, only in coming to the word of the Lord and holding fast to it as we make our way through the mists of darkness to the tree of life.
If you need a transfusion of spiritual strength, then just ask for it. We call that prayer. Prayer is powerful spiritual medicine. The instructions for its use are found in the scriptures.
One of our sacred hymns carries this message:
Ere you left your room this morning,
Did you think to pray? …
When your soul was full of sorrow,
Balm of Gilead did you borrow
At the gates of day?
Oh, how praying rests the weary!
Prayer will change the night to day.
So, when life gets dark and dreary,
Don’t forget to pray
(“Did You Think to Pray?” Hymns, 1985, no. 140).
Some frustrations we must endure without really solving the problem. Some things that ought to be put in order are not put in order because we cannot control them. Things we cannot solve, we must survive.
If you resent someone for something he has done—or failed to do—forget it.
Too often the things we carry are petty, even stupid. If you are still upset after all these years because Aunt Clara didn’t come to your wedding reception, why don’t you grow up and forget it?
If you brood constantly over a loss or a past mistake, look ahead—settle it.
We call that forgiveness. Forgiveness is powerful spiritual medicine. To extend forgiveness, that soothing balm, to those who have offended you is to heal. And, more difficult yet, when the need is there, forgive yourself!
I repeat, “John, leave it alone. Mary, leave it alone.”
Purge and cleanse and soothe your soul and your heart and your mind and that of others.
A cloud will then be lifted, a beam cast from your eye. There will come that peace which surpasseth understanding.
The Lord said, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).
“If ye love me, keep my commandments.
“And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
“Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
“I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you” (John 14:15–18).
Time may be a great healer, but it's a lousy beautician.
In "The Family: A Proclamation to the World," the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles declare that "successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities" (Liahona, Oct. 1998, 24; Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102).
By analyzing these principles, we can see that the majority of them are related to and complement each other and that the power that makes it possible for them to be incorporated into our lives comes from the atoning sacrifice of our Redeemer and Savior Jesus Christ.
These principles, once applied, will act as a light that will illuminate each member of the family and, in a progressive way, will lead us to integrate other related values and principles which will strengthen family relationships. We know that "he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day" (D&C 50:24).
If we succeed in establishing and maintaining our families by applying these principles, we will be able to observe the powerful impact that these will have in situations that affect our homes day by day. Any hurts caused by the friction of living together will heal. Offenses will be forgiven. Pride and selfishness will be replaced by humility, compassion, and love.
The principles that we choose to incorporate into our lives will determine the spirit that we contribute in our relationships with others. When we adopt a principle, its influence radiates from us and can be felt by others.
The Lord is the ultimate caregiver. We must surrender ourselves to the Lord. In doing so, we give up whatever is causing our pain and turn everything over to Him. “Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee” (Ps. 55:22). “And then may God grant unto you that your burdens may be light, through the joy of his Son” (Alma 33:23). Through faith and trust in the Lord and obedience to His counsel, we make ourselves eligible to be partakers of the Atonement of Jesus Christ so that one day we may return to live with Him.
Our Savior waits for us to come to Him through our scripture study, pondering, and prayer to our Heavenly Father. Great blessings and lessons come from overcoming adversity. As we are strengthened and healed, we can then lift and strengthen others with our faith. May we be instruments in the Lord’s hands in blessing the lives of those in pain. I give you my testimony that God lives and that Jesus is the Christ and that He waits for us to come to Him to give us counsel and compassionate caring.
“For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent;
“But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I;
“Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit” (D&C 19:16–18).
It is interesting to note that, other than in the book of Job and a few other places, there are very few scriptural references to physical or mortal pain. The pain most frequently spoken of in the scriptures is the pain and anguish of the Lord and His prophets for the disobedient souls.
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