In the past year I have met thousands of Latter-day Saint women in many countries. The list of challenges these sisters face is lengthy and sobering. There are family troubles, economic tests, calamities, accidents, and illnesses. There is much distraction and not enough peace and joy. Despite popular media messages to the contrary, no one is rich enough, beautiful enough, or clever enough to avoid a mortal experience.
"Challenges, difficulties, question, doubts—these are part of our mortality. But we are not alone. As disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, we have enormous spiritual reservoirs of light and truth available to us. Fear and faith cannot coexist in our hearts at the same time. In our days of difficulty, we choose the road of faith. Jesus said, 'Be not afraid, only believe' (Mark 5:36)."
(As I immigrated to America) The Prophet Joseph Smith was at the pier. At first glance I could tell it was him, by his noble expression. He came on board to shake hands and welcome us by many encouraging words, and express his thankfulness that we had arrived in safety. As he could not stay with us, he sent Apostle Geo. A. Smith to preach on board. “What did you come here for?” asked he. “To be instructed in the ways of the Lord,” answered someone. [Apostle Smith said,] “I tell you, you have come to the thrashing floor, and after you have been thrashed and pounded you will have to go through the fanning mill, where the chaff will be blown away and the wheat remain.” (The troubles of Nauvoo were just coming upon them).
The great test of life is . . . not to endure storms, but to choose the right while they rage.
I know that each one of you faces overwhelming challenges. Sometimes they are so concentrated, so unrelenting, that you may feel they are beyond your capacity to control.
Don’t face the world alone. “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” (Prov. 3:5.)
In many ways, the world is like a jungle, with dangers that can har
m or mutilate your body, enslave or destroy your mind, or decimate your morality. It was intended that life be a challenge, not so that you would fail, but that you might succeed through overcoming. You face on every hand difficult but vitally important decisions. There is an array of temptations, destructive influences, and camouflaged dangers, the like of which no previous generation has faced. I am persuaded that today no one, no matter how gifted, strong, or intelligent, will avoid serious problems without seeking the help of the Lord.
I repeat: Don’t face the world alone. Trust in the Lord.
The learning of man has its limitations. And sometimes, as in our circumstance in rural Mexico, the combined learning of many experts cannot be applied when we need it most. We have to place trust in the Lord.
A chosen occupation is only a means to an end; it is not an end in itself.
The end for which each of you should strive is to be the person that you can become — the person that God wants you to be. The day will come when your professional career will end. . . . The career that you will have labored so hard to achieve — the work that will have supported you and your family — will one day be behind you.
Then you will have learned this great lesson: Much more important than what you have done for a living, is what kind of a person you have become.
Keep learning and preparing for your ultimate graduation day. From time to time ask yourself these questions: 'Am I ready to meet my Maker?' 'Am I worthy of all the blessings He has in store for His faithful children?' 'Have I received my endowment and sealing ordinances of the temple?' 'Have I remained faithful to my covenants?' 'Have I qualified for the greatest of all God's blessings — the blessing of eternal life?'
There are three parts to the plan. You are in the second or the middle part, the one in which you will be tested by temptation, by trials, perhaps by tragedy....
Remember this! The line ‘And they all lived happily ever after’ is never written into the second act [of a play]. That line belongs in the third act, when the mysteries are solved and everything is put right. …
Until you have a broad perspective of the eternal nature of [the plan], you won’t make much sense out of the inequities in life. Some are born with so little and others with so much. Some are born in poverty, with handicaps, with pain, with suffering. Some experience premature death, even innocent children. There are the brutal, unforgiving forces of nature and the brutality of man to man. We have seen a lot of that recently.
Do not suppose that God willfully causes that which, for His own purposes, he permits. When you know the plan and the purpose of it all, even these things will manifest a loving Father in Heaven.
But it is evident that the contest between good and evil, which began with that war, has never ended. It has gone on, and on, and on to the present.