He who is not everyday conquering some fear has not learned the secret of life.
Great works are performed, not by strength but by perserverance.
If you are going through hell, keep going.
I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:
And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids of those days will I pour out my spirit. [Joel 2:2829]
Dreaming dreams and seeing visions. The Lord's spirit upon all flesh--sons and daughters, old and young, servants and handmaidens. I may be wrong, but I can't imagine an Old Testament verse of any kind that could have helped this boy prophet more. He is being called into the battle of his life, for life itself, or at least for its real meaning and purpose. He will be driven and hunted and hounded. His enemies will rail and ridicule. He will see his children die and his land lost and his marriage tremble. He will languish in prison through a Missouri winter, and he will cry out toward the vault of heaven, "O God, where art thou? . . . How long. . . .O Lord, how long?" (D&C 121:13). Finally he would walk the streets of his own city uncertain who, except for a precious few, were really friend or actually foe. And all that toil and trouble, pain and perspiration would end maliciously at Carthage--when there simply were finally more foes than friends. Felled by balls fired from the door of the jail inside and one coming through the window from outside, he fell dead into the hands of his murderers--thirty-eight years of age.
If all this and so much more was to face the Prophet in such a troubled lifetime, and if he finally knew what fate awaited him in Carthage, as he surely did, why didn't he just quit somewhere along the way? Who needs it? Who needs the abuse and the persecution and the despair and death? It doesn't sound fun to me, so why not just zip shut the cover of your Triple Combination, hand in your Articles of Faith cards, and go home?
Why not? For the simple reason that he had dreamed dreams and seen visions. Through the blood and the toil and the tears and the sweat, he had seen the redemption of Israel. It was out there somewhere--dimly, distantly--but it was there. So he kept his shoulder to the wheel until God said his work was finished.
When our best efforts are not quite enough, it is through His grace that we receive the strength to keep trying. The Lord says: "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."
When we seek the Lord's help to change us, then we have this promise: "He who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more."The Lord does not give up on us. He says, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." The joy and peace we receive when we know we have been forgiven is a divine blessing. That peace comes in the Lord's time and in His way, but it does come.
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