Faith in Adversity Talk

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This is a talk that I gave in church in March 2015.

Faith in Adversity

Family intro . . . 

Lessons That I’ve Learned as a Nurse

I’m very passionate about my work as a nurse. Nursing has opened a lot of doors for me and has taught me many important life lessons. As a nurse you are caring for people in their most vulnerable times. I see many miracles and many tragedies every single day. It’s helps me to put my life into perspective. I used to work on the Trauma Floor with Sister Moss. While working on the Trauma floor, I realized that life can change in an instant and that we must treasure each and every day. Matt worked in the ER and had the same experiences. I’d see people who would leave for work like they do every day, and then have their lives changed forever because of an accident.  

My favorite patient was a man who was severely injured due to a boating accident where he was caught in a propeller. He was in the hospital for months with a very long and painful recovery ahead of him and yet, every time I took care of him, he was so optimistic and positive. He lifted up everyone around him. When I’d enter his room, I’d feel the Holy Ghost there.

He recognized God’s hand in his life through this tragedy. The propeller was only millimeters from severing his sciatic nerve and other vital organs. He almost bled to death in a remote area of Utah while on a church sponsored youth trip. He received a priesthood blessing. The doctors didn’t understand how he could have survived such a horrific injury but he knew how. He gave credit to God and shared his story with everyone. His optimism, hope and peace came from one place, and that was Jesus Christ. His faith in Jesus Christ and his recognition of God’s hand in his life brought him and others around him much peace, hope and even joy during this difficult time.

Being with Babies and Families in the NICU

I have been there many times as babies in my unit have passed away or when a devastating diagnosis is presented to parents. I have seen the anguish of parents as they let their little one go or the exhaustion that they face from having a baby in the NICU for more than a year. Sometimes it’s hard to understand the reason that we have to pass through these difficult trials, but the knowledge that comes from the restored gospel can help us to find peace in troubling times. A knowledge of God’s plan of salvation helps us to understand the big picture.

Life Isn’t About Avoiding Trials

Life isn’t about avoiding trials. It’s about enduring them well when the do come. The Lord didn’t keep it a secret that we would test our faith and our obedience. He said “We will prove them herewith to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them.”

The Lord spoke these comforting words to the Prophet Joseph Smith:

“Know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good. The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?”

We need to view each trial as an opportunity for growth. Someday we will understand the why.

Elder Pino’s Daughter

In Elder Pino’s talk in the April 2009 General conference, he shared the story of when his little daughter drowned while playing in the ocean. He said,

“The moments that followed were extremely difficult, filled with anguish and pain for the loss of our youngest daughter. That feeling soon turned into an almost unbearable torment. However, in the midst of the confusion and uncertainty, the thought that our children had been born under the covenant came to our minds, and through that covenant, our daughter belongs to us for eternity.

“What a blessing it is to belong to the Church of Jesus Christ and to have received the ordinances of His holy temple! We now feel that we are much more committed to be faithful to the Lord and endure to the end because we want to be worthy of the blessings that the temple provides in order to see our daughter again. At times we mourn, but ‘we do not mourn as those without hope’

This faithful family came to understand that when adversity arrives in our lives, the only true source of comfort is God.

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).

Alma 7

In Alma 7:11-12 we learn that there is no infirmity, affliction, or adversity that Christ did not feel in Gethsemane.

11 And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.

 12 And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.”

3 Nephi 17:7

“7 Have ye any that are sick among you? Bring them hither. Have ye any that are lame, or blind, or halt, or maimed, or leprous, or that are withered, or that are deaf,or that are afflicted in any manner? Bring them hither and I will heal them, for I have compassion upon you; my bowels are filled with mercy.”

Did you hear that? He said that if we are afflicted in any manner (emotionally, spiritually), we can go to him and he will heal us. I have felt his healing power in my life as I’ve repented and as I’ve been overwhelmed with sadness from difficult times. I have felt of His healing power and I know that it’s real.

Jesus Christ said,

“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” He is our source for peace and strength.

Mosiah 24:13-15

The Book of Mormon talks about the people of Alma who were enslaved and persecuted by Amulon.  They prayed in their hearts to God for help.

 13 And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord came to them in their afflictions, saying: Lift up your heads and be of good comfort, for I know of the covenant which ye have made unto me; and I will covenant with my people and deliver them out of bondage.

 14 And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions.

 15 And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord.

Heavenly Father won’t take our problems and challenges away. But he will strengthen us so that we can better endure them.

The Wise Man Built His House Upon a Rock

Do you remember the story about the wise man building his house upon a rock and the foolish man building his house upon the sand?

The Savior said:

“Therefore, whoso heareth these sayings of mine and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, who built his house upon a rock—

“And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not, for it was founded upon a rock.

“And every one that heareth these sayings of mine and doeth them not shall be likened unto a foolish man, who built his house upon the sand—

“And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell, and great was the fall of it” (3 Nephi 14:24–27).

Notice that the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew against both houses! Living the gospel does not mean that we will everlastingly escape adversity. Rather, it means that we will be prepared to face and endure adversity more confidently.

My Repelling Story

While working at the Utah Boys Ranch, I took a group of kids backpacking in Escalante for a week. We were backpacking Calf’s Creek and were going to repel down the 200 foot waterfall. We got to the waterfall and began to set up the anchors and ropes.

There were large boulders at the top of the waterfall. My boss jumped on them and pushed with all of his might to ensure that they were secure. We secured the 2 anchors to the boulders so that we could use them to repel down. My boss and I clipped in to the anchors and my friend began to repel. As she went over the edge of the cliff, both boulders slipped and all 3 of us almost fell to our deaths. But with extra strength from Heavenly Father, my boss and I held the ropes with our hands and with our backs, we pushed against the boulders until my friend could safely make it down to the bottom.

It was a very scary experience but I learned a great lesson. We need strong anchors in our lives. A testimony of Jesus Christ and our faith in Him is our strong anchor. When life’s storms come, we can rely on Him to help us get through. He is a sure foundation.

Helamen 5:12

 12 And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.

Quoting the words of the prophet Ether:

“Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men.”

Our faith in Jesus Christ will help to anchor our lives when hard times come. We need a sure anchor. A sure foundations to help us through life’s difficult times. Jesus Christ is someone who we can rely on no matter what. He will always be there. Heavenly Father will always be there for us. He will never abandon us.

He Will Never Abandon Us

When I was 19, I had the opportunity to work in the orphanages of Ecuador for 3 months. While working in a baby orphanage that was run by Catholic nuns, I had an experience that I won’t ever forget. In the room, there were 40 cribs all lined up in a white room. This orphanage was very short of help and for that reason, there were strict rules at that time that you weren’t allowed to hold or play with the babies. You could only pick them up to take them to the changing table. They would even prop the bottles up for their feedings. These amazing nuns were doing the best that they could with their limited resources. It was heartbreaking to see all of these sweet babies who were completely alone in the world.

One day, while I was in the room alone changing diapers, I noticed a group of babies that were smiling and cooing and laughing. Although I could not see any angels, I knew that they were there with those sweet babies. These babies had no earthly parents to care for them, but they have a Heavenly Father who loves them and will never abandon them. They are his children and so are we and he won’t ever abandon us either. He loves us and he wants to help us to return back to his presence.

O God, Where art thou?

The Prophet Joseph Smith, who knew a lot about the storms of life, exclaimed in anguish during one of his most difficult moments:

“O God, where art thou? And where is the pavilion that covereth thy hiding place?” (D&C 121:1).

Then, as the Prophet raised his voice, the consoling words of the Lord attended him, saying:

“My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes” (D&C 121:7–8).

Center Our Lives on Christ and Nothing Can Ever Go Permanently Wrong

President Howard W. Hunter said:

“If our lives and our faith are centered on Jesus Christ and his restored gospel, nothing can ever go permanently wrong. On the other hand, if our lives are not centered on the Savior and his teachings, no other success can ever be permanently right” (The Teachings of Howard W. Hunter,ed. Clyde J. Williams [1997], 40).

Testimony

I know that God lives. I know that he sent His Son, not only to help to redeem us from our sins but so that he could strengthen us through His Atonement. Jesus Christ has the power to help us. We must build our foundation on Him and as we do, we will be able to have joy, peace and an eternal perspective as we pass through the difficulties and challenges of this life.

I have felt His power in my life. I have been strengthened beyond my own capacity to face difficulties. I have felt Him heal my troubled heart and give me hope for a better world and a better future. I know that He lives and I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

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