“Where is my solace?” In this line from Emma Lou Thayne’s stirring hymn “Where Can I Turn for Peace?”, we hear echoes of the world’s cries as they suffer floods, a terrifying tsunami, terrorist attacks, uncertain economic conditions, raging firestorms, and rising crime.
In the United States there is currently a campaign waging for the Presidency. A plank on every candidate’s platform is the promise to restore hope. People are willing to overlook almost every fact about the candidate of their choice in their deep need to once again feel hope.
The secular world does not understand that without the Savior and the atonement of Jesus Christ, there is no hope. They put aside their doubts about moral integrity and experience at the magic of that one word – “hope.”
As a nation and a world, we are struggling with dominions and principalities of darkness that we cannot see or define. The only sword we have to defend ourselves is adherence to and belief in the covenants we have made with our Heavenly Father through the grace of Jesus Christ. In the words of Mormon, who faced challenges that would cause the strongest among us to quaver, “Know ye not that ye are in the hands of God? Know ye not that he hath all power?” (Mormon 5:23)
Who is in Charge?
Someone very close to me is facing the kind of challenges that would give most people nightmares – a critically ill husband, economic uncertainty, complex problems with family members. One night, when everything seemed dark wherever she looked, and I feared for her ability to handle it all, she sent me an email that relieved me considerably. She had stepped back from the problem and remembered where she was going and that the Lord was the one who could trump Satan and all his efforts to derail her family from their eternal purpose.
I knew then that she was going to be okay. She was trusting the Lord. A line from Elder Scott’s talk, “Trust in the Lord,” came to mind. He said, “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.”
Another quote from an article by Neal A. Maxwell, “I Am But a Lad,” also applies to this circumstance. “Trust yourselves to the Lord who sees the end from the beginning – and all that is in between! He sees you as you are, but also what you may become!”
It is hard to see the world we live in disintegrate in wickedness. When I was depressed, I couldn’t bear to watch the news. It was too threatening, too frightening. But now that I am well, I have become somewhat of a warrior, determined to save as many people as the Lord puts in my path by giving them the true knowledge of the enabling and saving power of the atonement of Jesus Christ.
We are All Warriors
We are all warriors. Have you ever wondered why Mormon kept all the war chapters in the Book of Mormon? My son taught me the answer as he served in Georgia on his mission. He said words to the effect, “We are in a war here – a war with Satan. I am learning a lot from the way Captain Moroni fought. Everything is an allegory. There is a lot of instruction there on how to fight this war.”
During these wars, all victory depended on personal righteousness of those who were fighting. We see what happened when the City of Zarahemla turned wicked and Pahoran was thrust from the judgment seat. The wickedness within his country (or within ourselves) was a far greater threat to the people than the Lamanites (the world). Captain Moroni was forced to deal with the insurrection within before he could again turn to the battlefield.
We will not find solace by leaning on the arm of flesh – that is through legislation or outside agencies. Our solace must come through our individual relationship with the Lord. As Elder W. Craig Zwick said in his October 2003 conference talk:
No matter what our age or circumstance, we all have a need to know that we have power in the present and hope in the future … To be in the hands of God would suggest that we are not only under His watchful care but also that we are guarded and protected by His wondrous power.
There is such peace when we put ourselves in this “watchful care,” that we can endure anything. I am reminded of my dear nephew. As he lay near death from melanoma cancer at the age of 23, he said to his desperate parents, “It’s all right. Don’t you know that all things work for good for he who loves the Lord?”
Satan did not win the fight for my nephew’s soul. He went into paradise brandishing the sword of his faith and personal righteousness because of his belief in the covenants he had made.