by Kari Diane Pike
To say that we live in uncertain times is an understatement. When you think about it though, has there ever been a time when life could be deemed certain? I don't think so. After all, the only thing that doesn't change in life is the fact that everything changes. And yet, if we look at our situation through a gospel lens, are things really that uncertain? Confused? Yep...me too. I have been going around and around in mental circles trying to decide who's right, who's wrong, and who's just plain out of their mind. I read and study and surf the web trying to educate myself on people, places and events. Most of what I see and hear is bickering, name-calling, insults, and fear mongering. Even when I agree philosophically with a party or person, it hurts my heart to hear their vicious attacks of the other side. There has to be a better way.
Mosiah 21-23, in The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ, touched me recently as my husband read to our family the account of the people of King Limhi and their bondage to the Lamanites. These people were enslaved and afflicted and they cried to King Limhi, asking to be able to go to battle to try to free themselves. They murmured, they complained, and they pestered King Limhi until he finally consented. Three times the people of Limhi went to battle, full of pride, anger, and revenge. Three times they were soundly beaten back by the Lamanites. Finally, they "humbled themselves to the dust" and in that humility they "did cry mightily to God." The Lord heard their prayers, and in his own time, he blessed the people of Limhi with the ability to bear their burdens. In the mean time, Ammon and his brethren preached the gospel to them, and King Limhi and his people entered into a covenant with God to serve him and keep his commandments. Now as they tried to figure out how to "deliver themselves from bondage," they did so with humility and hope, with open eyes and ears, and softened hearts. They found a way to escape, and they were delivered out of the hands of their enemies.
In another example, Mosiah 23:27-28 tells us about the words of Alma to the people who were driven out into the wilderness by King Noah and then attacked by the Lamanites. "But Alma went forth and stood among them, and exhorted them that they should not be frightened, but that they should remember the Lord their God and he would deliver them. Therefore they hushed their fears, and began to cry unto the Lord that he would soften the hearts of the Lamanites, that they would spare them, and their wives, and their children." The hearts of those Lamanites were softened, and in the Lord's time, the people of Alma were delivered from bondage.
We need to stand for truth and righteousness in the Lords' way--with humble hearts, asking the Lord to not only give us the words to say and write that will testify of him and his truths, but also the ability to express the love that he has for every one of his children. No matter what we say, as we stand up for what we believe, there is going to be opposition. Opposition is expected. What is important is that we are respectful and do not give any just cause for that opposition. Opposition can, and actually does, shed more light on the issues at stake. We don't need to create fear and hate with inflammatory language. Seeing someone harassed or treated rudely simply because they disagree is generally appalling to fair-minded people. The humble efforts we make can and will influence others for good.
There is hope. We can find answers and peace and safety in this life. Fear not. Be humble. Be prayerful. Be involved...and Trust in the Lord.