When I was serving in a YSA Ward in Arizona USA, one young lady bore her testimony, expressed her gratitude for her many blessings and revealed that her life was going so well that she was praying for some adversity so she could prove her faithfulness. My first thought was “You don’t have to pray for adversity, it will come.” And secondly, “If things are going so well, why not prove your faithfulness by serving others?”
I appreciate the faithfulness and service each of you give right now. For many of you, your faithfulness is being proved in the midst of adversity including illness, troubling situations back home, and even the passing of loved ones. Thank you for staying on the covenant path and helping to gather Israel on both sides of the veil. Sometimes we might feel alone or discouraged or wonder if it all worth it. Please remember: the Lord has never forgotten you! He knows you by name and he knows your circumstances. He can use adversity to help each of us grow and progress and become wiser and stronger mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.
At the beginning of 2020, how many of us could have predicted the world-changing effect of Covid-19, the world-wide pandemic that affected us so deeply? In the October 2020 General Conference, Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles taught us that “…God uses adversity to bring about His purposes.”
“There are still a lot of unknowns about this virus,” Elder Uchtdorf said, “But if there is one thing I do know, it is that this virus did not catch Heavenly Father by surprise. He did not have to muster additional battalions of angels, call emergency meetings, or divert resources from the world-creation division to handle an unexpected need…” “… We will endure this, yes. But we will do more than simply grit our teeth, hold on, and wait for things to return to the old normal. We will move forward, and we will be better as a result…”
Elder Uchtdorf reminds us of two things: “First, the righteous are not given a free pass that allows them to avoid the valleys of shadow. We all must walk through difficult times, for it is in these times of adversity that we learn principles that fortify our characters and cause us to draw closer to God. Second, our Heavenly Father knows that we suffer, and because we are His children, He will not abandon us.” And look where we are now.
The adversity of the worldwide pandemic did not stop the work of the Lord. It became an opportunity to find new and creative ways to share the gospel throughout the world. Contacting and teaching through technology has been and continues to be very effective and has reached some places where missionaries have never been.
Elder Uchtdorf concludes: “God has revealed and will continue to reveal His almighty hand. The day will come when we will look back and know that during this time of adversity, God was helping us to find better ways—His ways—to build His kingdom on a firm foundation. I bear my witness that this is God’s work and He will continue to do many unimaginable things among His children, His people. God holds us in the palm of His caring and compassionate hands.” (God Will Do Something Unimaginable, General Conference, October 2020).
May the Lord continue to bless each of us in whatever types of adversity we may face. And may we continue to find and create more opportunities to serve as we move forward in the ongoing restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ!
[Note: The ideas and suggestions contained in these articles are not intended as a substitute for consultation with a qualified mental health professional. In addition, if you are experiencing thoughts of self-harm or suicide, please seek medical or mental health assistance immediately. In the U.S., call or text 988 to reach the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Or use the Lifeline Chat at 988lifeline.org/chat/. Services are free and confidential.]