How much does it take to break you? As I look through my address book, every person on there has major challenges they’re dealing with:
One is thinking they might have to close their business due to increased costs. Another has a grown grandchild who turned on them and read them the riot act, in a shocking rejection they weren’t expecting.
A young married is depressed that she and her husband will probably never be able to buy a home. A friend my own age has two children who have quit the church and are pushing their anti views on other family members.
One has a daughter who screams at them and defies house rules, blaming them for all her misery. Another is looking at two separate surgeries by the end of the year, and has no one to take care of her.
A girlfriend of mine is going through a divorce ten times worse than the worst one you’ve heard of. The son of some acquaintances is heavily addicted to drugs and has had to be banished from their home.
Another family is opposed to their local school’s agenda, but can’t afford for one of the parents to home school. An elderly friend refuses to watch the news because today’s politics give her nightmares and high blood pressure.
It’s rampant—Satan is working harder than ever to destroy God’s children and shatter our families.
I see various reactions, from complete collapse to denial, from curling up in a sobbing ball to striking out in anger and frustration. Some just go numb, walking in a daze. The world is turning up the heat and too many people are crumbling under the pressure.
How can we cope? How can we prevail and press forward against such a hurricane of injustice and evil? How can we “be of good cheer” when chaos swirls about us?
Here are five things to consider:
First of all, widen your view and look at the big picture. I mean the big, eternal picture. God is absolutely aware of you and of every heartache you’re enduring. In the grand scheme, you are being trained for heaven. You need trials in order to develop forgiveness, fortitude, patience, tenacity, and reliance upon God. You need traits that will make you a strong warrior. With Him, you can get through anything. Look at the newly announced 2023 Youth theme: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13). I sometimes quote this scripture in talks, and emphasize the word all. Sometimes the Lord rescues us. Sometimes He teaches us how to tackle what looks like the impossible. Sometimes He allows us to wait, as He has something better in mind for us.
A big part of this is remembering that Christ’s Atonement is not just to forgive our sins as we die… we can enact its power and peace right now, as we meet the struggles of mortality head on. We are meant to find that indescribable joy while we’re still in the thick of it. Pray for that enabling power and peace to envelope you right now.
Second, grow your faith. Stop wringing your hands and lying awake at night. Stop complaining. Stop searching for answers in the wrong places. Rely upon God. Post some scriptures in your home, to remind you of this. There are 20 excellent ones here.
You know, the first principle of the gospel is “Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.” Make it first in your heart, as well. I’m not saying any of this is easy. I’ve had those sleepless nights and frantic days. But I know that when I pray and truly muster all the faith I can, I’m more at peace with trying situations. When you’ve done all you can, you can turn it over to God. When I exercise faith, I feel closer to God, and I’m happier.
Third, don’t forget whose authority our Church has—get a Priesthood blessing to help you meet this challenge.
Fourth, remember who wins this. Don’t catastrophize and think things will be ruined for eternity. If you do your best to live a good, Christlike life, keep your covenants, and repent, you will be blessed beyond your imagination. Loved ones can repent and grow on the other side of the veil. God can and does work miracles in this life. Satan will ultimately be defeated.
Fifth, have resolve. Be stubbornly faithful. Be determined that setbacks will not define who you are. Look at the things that matter most in your life and focus on those. Stay the course, stay in the boat, and stay strong.
C.S. Lewis once said, “When the whole world is running towards a cliff, he who is running in the opposite direction appears to have lost his mind.” Don’t be afraid to go in the opposite direction of the crowd. I know this is really hard. But trust in promptings from the Holy Ghost. Believe in your beliefs! If you feel yourself doubting or wavering, get answers from the right sources. Reach out to inspired friends and leaders. Satan would have us sink into confusion. See his tactics and push them away.
God will never put you in a trial you cannot prevail against with his help. When we rely upon the greatest Being in the universe, we cannot fail. He will always help us and give us what is right for us. We may not agree at first, but in time we will see His wisdom.
Yes, the world is becoming more like Babylon, astoundingly so. But we can survive and we will survive, by putting our trust in God.
Hilton teaches Seminary. She is also an award-winning playwright, and the author of many best-selling Latter-day Saint books. Those, her humor blog, and YouTube Mom videos can be found on her website.