As this is my last time speaking with the fine men of our stake high council, they certainly decided to assign me a great topic and some great people to speak alongside with. This General Conference last week was certainly a fantastic one, one that personally fed my Spirit in ways that I hadn’t noticed before. I certainly hope it fed yours as well.
The topic I was assigned was Elder L. Todd Budge’s talk from the Saturday Afternoon Session titled “Consistent and Resilient Trust”. Before I start with his talk, I have a personal experience I would love to share. An entry to a journal I keep reads: “Experience with doing my own Endowments (and afterward)”. I’d like to focus on the “and afterward” part of that title. For some context, I had done my endowments and was asked if I’d like to be a temple worker until I left for my mission, which I joyfully accepted.
“[I’d] set up an appointment with the temple presidency for the next day at 9:30 am. I had my temple clothes, just in case they decided to put me to work right away, and I began my journey over. I decided to take some back-roads to avoid lengthy construction on the main highway. However, as I was traveling, I hit a deer. I remember quite vividly how time slowed down and I assessed all possible outcomes of what was about to happen. 1) I could swerve to avoid the deer and most likely roll my vehicle or 2) I could hit it directly and see what happens. I chose the latter and braced for impact.
I slammed on my brakes. I hit the deer dead center in my car. The deer flipped up over the hood and hit the passenger side of my windshield, causing the passenger airbag to deploy. The driver’s side [however] did not deploy. The deer rolled off my car as my tires are squealing to a stop. During that time, however, I felt a strong presence with me and around me.
Once all was said and done, the car did not look good. But it was drivable. I know that hitting the deer was something from Satan thrown at me but the Spirit protected me and prevented the situation from becoming so much worse. Satan was mad that I was going to the temple to do more of the Lord’s work and he wanted to stop me. While it did put a bit of a delay on that, I simply rescheduled for later that day and went and was set apart as an ordinance worker. I know that [the] Lord works in ways that we may not understand but if we follow His commandments and follow His word, we will be protected from whatever Satan may throw our way.”Wesley Thacker, “Experience with Doing my own Endowments (and Afterwards)“
Satan is constantly trying to get us to walk away from the path of righteousness. Elder Budge beings:
“Our son Dan got very sick on his mission in Africa and was taken to a medical facility with limited resources. As we read his first letter to us after his illness, we expected that he would be discouraged, but instead he wrote, ‘Even as I lay in the emergency room, I felt peace. I have never been so consistently and resiliently happy in my life.’
We knew that the happiness he described was not simply pleasure or an elevated mood but a peace and joy that come when we surrender ourselves to God and put our trust in Him in all things. We too had had those times in our lives when God spoke peace to our souls and caused us to have hope in Christ even when life was hard and uncertain.”Elder L. Todd Budge, “Consistent and Resilient Trust“
This modern-day life is a very challenging time for everyone upon the Earth now and anyone who will joins us upon the Earth before the Second Coming. However, it is not something that we should fear. And we won’t fear it so long as we are prepared. Coming from a blog I follow, they recently published the following:
“…The Savior’s Second Coming will happen suddenly. It will catch the unprepared off guard. We need to be refined and purified by Him in order to be prepared for that day.”Book of Mormon Study Notes, “What Does the Book of Mormon Teach About the Second Coming of Jesus Christ?“
Challenges are something that we face on a day-to-day basis. Some may even be long such as challenges with addiction and other like-related items. But we should not mourn our challenges, our sorrows, our trials. Rather, we should rejoice in these.
“The good news of the gospel is not the promise of a life free of sorrow and tribulation but a life full of purpose and meaning—a life where our sorrows and afflictions can be “swallowed up in the joy of Christ.” (Alma 31:38). The Savior declared, “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:23).”Elder L. Todd Budge, “Consistent and Resilient Trust“
What lovely words are spoken by the Lord himself here. The Lord truly is aware of each and every one of us. He knows our thoughts, our feelings of anguish, happiness, confusion. Our desires, our intentions, our wants, our needs, among many others. The Lord knows all.
Perhaps we can draw similarities to the Jaredites. Their journey to the promised land was not an easy one, similar to our journey through mortality.
“‘They were many times buried in the depths of the sea, because of the mountain waves which broke upon them.’ (Ether 6:6). Yet it is recorded that ‘the wind did never cease to blow [them] towards the promised land.’ (Ether 6:8, 1 Nephi 18:8). As difficult as it is to understand, especially at the times in our lives when the headwinds are strong and the seas are turbulent, we can take comfort in knowing that God in His infinite goodness is always blowing us toward home.”Elder L. Todd Budge, “Consistent and Resilient Trust”
On Wednesday, I had the amazing experience of serving as an Ordinance worker within the temple for the first time. At first, I had no idea what I was doing but the brothers and sisters I was serving alongside with helped me feel peace in what I was doing. It felt like they truly cared and were just constantly excited about a new Elder serving alongside them. I even got to perform some of the ordinances myself that day. The temple is a place where God can ‘blow’ us toward home.
To close out my talk, I have one more thing to share with you. It is another journal entry of mine but it ties in perfectly with this.
“The Lord trusts us. I first heard that during some missionary training videos. Elder Bednar said that and something along the following. ‘He has put a remarkable amount of trust in this generation. He has given us the amazing advances in technology. However, he also knows the risks that come with that. Benefits outweigh the risks. And he trusts us that we will use these devices in a way that is pleasing to the Lord. And He knows that we will; otherwise, missionaries would not be allowed to use them in the field.'”Wesley Thacker, “He Trusts Us“
I know that this life is hard and it is going to be harder. But we were not put here by accident. We all have a purpose to fulfill. Some’s purpose is different than other’s. But it all has an integral part to the Savior’s Second Coming to the Earth. I know that He is aware of us and He loves every one of us more than we can comprehend. He is always there and is always extending a hand, an invitation to “Come, Follow Me”. He knows you, He loves you, and He is standing ready by your side.