A former member of my ward sent me a text one day. It was a lovely expression of love and comfort to help me through a particular ordeal she knew I was going through. She opened up and shared some of her trials as well. And she included a particular scripture that has brought her great peace:
Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed. (D&C 123:17)
What wonderful advice. I was still basking in the glow of that entire concept when I got a phone call from another dear friend. This one is going through a divorce and was sharing her struggles with me. It was heart-wrenching to hear of all she has endured. And then she said, “But there’s a scripture that has really helped me. It’s D&C 123:17.”
“Oh—you mean the one about the arm of the Lord?” I asked. I was almost speechless at the coincidence that wasn’t a coincidence.
“Wow—you know that one. I’m impressed,” she said. No, I am not a great scriptorian who has every chapter and verse memorized. I was simply living through an incredible miracle that God had orchestrated. I might add that I hadn’t spoken with either of these women in a few of years. And now, on the same day, they both reached out.
Twice in one day He had the Holy Ghost prompt a friend to tell me about this particular scripture. Not only that, but on several previous occasions, He has used my telephone to do it. This is sort of a wink or a smile between God and me—he knows I’m a “talker” and this is one of the ways my Father in Heaven likes to contact me.
I was very touched by the first message. But the “second witness” really clinched it. Now I was motivated and had a scripture to guide me every day. I began to see the layers of wisdom in that one short verse.
I’ve always known I was born with a basically cheery nature. I love the quote of Elder Holland’s where he reminds us that Christ spoke of “being of good cheer” so often that he almost thinks of it as a commandment. But to see that in this scripture felt personal. Yes, we must not give in to discouragement or even a downcast mood as we go through life. Certainly there are times when we all feel despair, but we have to fight it, quickly get up again, focus on Christ, and be cheerful.
Not only that, but we’re told in that verse to do all things that lie in our power. Have I done these? Have I gotten a Priesthood blessing? Have I fasted? Have I turned to the temple? Have I perhaps overstepped and tried to do things that are not in my power? Is it time to stand still? I think it is. It’s time to admit that I’ve done all I can, and now must rely completely upon the Lord.
And then look at the two promises in that verse. If we do this, then we can have faith and the utmost assurance that we will see the salvation of God. Wow! And then, the second incredible guarantee, we will see His arm revealed. That is an absolute promise of a righteous result. God will ultimately reach in and reveal His power. What’s hurting us or frustrating us will be in His hands, and will be resolved as it should be.
Think how many things are out of our control. Actually, don’t think about it, because it’s a monumental field. We kid ourselves that we can impact this or that, but in reality, there is very little in this world that is under our control. We exert influence, we do our part, and we make a bit of difference here and there. But the vast majority of the world’s problems—and our individual problems—are out of our power to change abruptly. We want it all done now and try, in our impatience, to work miracles. But that’s God’s department. It’s what he does. So, when we need a monumental victory, we definitely need to turn it over to the One who can actually do it.
This verse brought me untold peace. I find myself getting worked up and then I remember to stand still. Stillness is rather sacred, don’t you think? It’s when we can hear promptings, gain insights, and feel close to Heaven. We weren’t told to turn our efforts elsewhere, but to simply stand still. What perfect advice for me, as I tend to go through life in a rush, with lists and goals to reach, constantly busy (and there are reasons for that, but that’s another topic for another time).
Regardless of the reasons, this was counsel I needed. It’s okay to be still. You don’t have to be thinking of ten things at once. Just breathe. Just wait. Let go.
What a blessing this was, and how grateful I am to two women who followed what had to be a prompting, to share D & C 123:17 with me. Because of this scripture, I know that we will always have troubles, but we need not always have worries. Such a difference.
Trials will arise, because we are being trained for heaven (we knew the job was dangerous when we took it). But by exerting faith in the Lord, we can have peace through our mortal struggles. We can have immense confidence in His love and care, and the ultimate victory, which will always be God’s.
Hilton is 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.