April 28, 2020 - Letter from the First Presidency
A couple of days ago, I was considering just how much I wanted everything to be OK. I’m sure that many of us have had the same thoughts. I imagine that all of us want to get through this and to have our lives return to what they were. However, I suspect that if we all looked back upon our lives, we might realize that the feelings of wanting everything to be alright is an ongoing desire. You and I can probably remember times in which things were not going as we had wanted or expected, and we longed that all would be alright again. Perhaps that struggle presented itself when our parents didn’t let us do as we wanted to do. Perhaps the struggle presented itself when our children didn’t want to do as we wanted them to do. Maybe you, like I, get frustrated when something in the house breaks down, or when the car broke down during a trip, or when our computer crashed. Many of us as teenagers were frustrated when a friend commented upon our choice of clothing. People often become frustrated when health issues have changed their life and activities are limited.
We should then ask the question; “What is alright?” Each of us may have a different set of conditions to which we cling that make us feel that the world is alright, or when the situation is alright.
I wonder how Nephi must have felt when his bow broke: “And I Nephi, went forth to slay food, behold, I did break my bow, behold, my brethren were angry with me, because of the loss of my bow, for we did obtain no food.” 1st Nephi 5:22
We might consider how Nephi felt when he was bound up with cords for four days and the ship was “about to be swallowed up in the depths of the sea.” (1st Nephi 5:196) Once the bands were loosed, he “did praise him all the day long.” (verse 199) God had a purpose in those events.
In our desire to have everything be OK, we are taking our concepts of what is alright and placing them above God’s. Only He can know totally the reasons for any situation. His purposes will be revealed as time continues. And because that is true, it is in His mind and will that we find the highest conditions of things being OK and ultimately all right. How hard we often struggle and worry about the when and how things will again be alright. But, perhaps, instead of us going back to a previous condition, God wants us to have changed as we went through the situation and then come out closer to His goal when the situation is over. In Section 22, we find that very familiar scripture which reads: “and there is no end to my works, neither to my words; for this is my work and my glory, to bring to pass the immortality, and eternal life of man.”
What more could we ask for? Only in God is everything as it should be. Remember when Moses heard these words; “I AM THAT I AM.” And He continued to say; “Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.” (Exodus 3:14)
If all things are “alright” with Him, then we should place our trust and faith in him. He has the ultimate goal in mind for us. He wants us to be prepared for life with him. That goal is for all mankind. When we can accomplish that level of trust, we can then more easily praise God in all things and get through what ever situation we find ourselves in. May this day be one of those in which we come through it more like what God wants us to be. May we find that the great I AM has brought us through it. And then we can, as did Nephi, praise him all the day long.
Terry W. Patience
For the First Presidency