President Russell M. Nelson, then President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, told the following story:
'On a recent flight, our pilot announced that we would encounter turbulence during our descent and that all passengers must fasten their seat belts securely. Sure enough, turbulence came. It was really rough. Across the aisle and a couple of rows behind me, a terrified woman panicked. With each frightening drop and jarring bump, she screamed loudly. Her husband tried to comfort her but to no avail. Her hysterical shouts persisted until we passed through that zone of turbulence to a safe landing. During her period of anxiety, I felt sorry for her. Because faith is the antidote for fear, I silently wished that I could have strengthened her faith.' He added, “When we speak of faith—the faith that can move mountains—we are not speaking of faith in general but of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ” (Russell M. Nelson, Liahona May 2014).
Like this woman’s perilous journey, we face obstacles and trials in this life, events that can make us doubt our faith and make us lose assurance that we need prophets, seers, and revelators on our ‘flight’ leading us to eternal life.
A few years ago, I accepted the assignment of driving Church leaders to a conference that was to be held about 330 km away from the city of Lubumbashi. I used to drive regularly on this road, which was very difficult due to its poor condition, potholes, and ravines. No one could drive on it without having a bad experience. So, we decided to take a back road that we thought would be a bit more practical than the poorly-maintained main road. We were certain to get there without any problem, as usual — but unfortunately, this time, that was not the case. We were involved in a serious accident — one that prevented us from reaching our destination. There we were — right in the bush with no means of communication and with a vehicle that could no longer be useful to us because it was completely damaged. Thankfully, there was no loss of human life although the vehicle was completely damaged, and no one was injured except for some scratches on the driver.
Knowing the importance of the task at hand for the leaders whom I was driving that weekend, meaning the Area Seventy, the Mission President at the time and his counselor, I was completely devastated! I blamed myself and took upon me all the responsibility for this accident eventhough I did not know the cause of this unfortunate incident and was not even responsible.
After observing that we were all unhurt and seeing that I was blaming myself, the Area Seventy approached me and said: We do not know why this accident happened, but God only knows. We will be able to understand this unfortunate incident in the days to come — do not blame yourself but let us thank God that we were not seriously injured. My heart was calmed a bit and I found a relief because of the words he had uttered during this difficult time of our journey. I have always been grateful for the way he looked at the incident and how that had comforted me. I am very grateful for Elder Joseph W. Sitati and for his example to me at that time.
On our earthly journey, we all face very challenging, distressing and overwhelming times. How we look at these events and the way we turn to Heavenly Father, His plan, and the teachings we receive from our prophets determine how we are preparing ourselves and progressing to return to our heavenly home.
The challenges and trials on our mortal journey are not obstacles to divert us from Heavenly Father's plan of happiness, but opportunities to grow to become like Him. Do we not read the following in the Pearl of Great Price: 'And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them; and they who keep their first estate shall be added upon; and they who keep not their first estate shall not have glory in the same kingdom with those who keep their first estate; and they who keep their second estate shall have glory added upon their heads for ever and ever” (Abraham 3:25-26).
To remain on our qualifying path and receive more glory we must:
1. Look at trials with an eye of faith.
2. Confide in God unwaveringly.
3. Have an eternal perspective supported by the knowledge of the plan of salvation.
LOOK AT TRIALS WITH AN EYE OF FAITH AND OBEY THE COMMANDMENTS
President Henry B. Eyring, then Second Counsellor in the First Presidency, taught: 'The great test of life is to see whether we will hearken to and obey God’s commands in the midst of the storms of life' (Henry B. Eyring, Liahona November 2005).
Whatever challenges we face, if we can see with an eye of faith the glory that awaits us, we will be comforted as Job and we will withstand because we will have the knowledge of what we will be exactly after this life.
CONFIDE IN GOD UNWAVERINGLY
We must remain steadfast in our faith and trust the Lord. Elder Ulisses Soares, then of the Quorum of the Seventy, taught: 'If we are steadfast and do not waver in our faith, the Lord will increase our capacity to raise ourselves above the challenges of life' (Ulisses Soares, Liahona May 2017).
Elder Richard G. Scott, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, counseled the following to the saints: 'Trust in God and in His willingness to provide help when needed, no matter how challenging the circumstance. Act courageously on that prompting and be patient and understanding when God lets you struggle to grow and answers come a piece at a time over an extended period” (Richard G. Scott, Liahona May 2003).
CONTINUE TO SEEK THE WILL OF GOD THROUGH SCRIPTURE STUDY
We must seek the will of God by studying the scriptures with an eye of faith to find the guidance that we need to develop our trust and assurance in the fulfilment of the plan of salvation. Elder Neil L. Anderson, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, said: 'In the crucible of earthly trials, patiently move forward, and the Savior’s healing power will bring you light, understanding, peace, and hope (Neil L. Anderson, Liahona, November 2018).
By focusing our efforts of the gospel study in our homes as recently counseled by President Russell M. Nelson in following the Come Follow Me curriculum as families, our homes will be the sanctuaries of faith and the Holy Ghost. Our homes will be refuges for when times are bad, and we will be given the blessings that are promised to those who have faith in Him and seek His will.