Bagiera and I were asked to talk in church today, and we weren’t given a topic so we were to come up with our own topics. We chose to talk on overcoming trials. This week while preparing for our talks we both were given similar trials. Bagiera’s mom was taken to the ER and I had to take my dad to the ER. Both are doing better which we are very grateful for. Its funny how the lord prepares us for certain things. Sitting here after churchafter the talks are given and alll is said and done, the peace and calm of a job well done take over and we can finally relax for a minute.
The kids have had a blast this summer, Yay-hoo played in the State Cup soccer tournament and after several weekends and over 3000 miles, he and his team made history, becoming the first team from Southern Utah to make it to the finals. We ended up taking second in the State and have since been invited to play in a regional league, playing teams from six different states.
Next we took a trip to Lake Powell with some friends on a houseboat. Such a fun and beautiful place. The kids had so much fun swimming, boating, tubing, fishing, relaxing, playing, cliff jumping, riding Sea Doo’s and dancing on the top deck.
Bagiera took the kids to Salt Lake for a few weeks, to watch after uncle Shaner’s house and dogs while Shane and Whitney were on vacation. They did so many fun things, shopping, seven peaks water park, US Nationals world cup qualifying games, Trafalga fun center, the LDS conference center, natural history museum and wheeler farm. Unfortunately, Bagiera’s purse was stolen with her wallet and her new GoPro camera. While the family was in Salt Lake, I was sick for the first week, and then went on a hike to Havasupai. Such a beautiful place. I loved it and will definiteley go back.
I have attached my talk if it helps anyone else.
Malea and I chose to talk on trials and more on overcoming trials. We all are very familiar with this topic for it is something that has hit home here in this country, in this community, in this ward, and even here in our families. Unfortunately no one is immune to it. Everyone is faced with opposition, roadblocks, setbacks, afflictions, tribulations and failure. The prophet Joseph Smith was quoted with saying, “The envy and wrath of man have been my common lot all the days of my life. . . . Deep water is what I am wont to swim in”
Sometimes we want to have growth without challenges and to develop strength without any struggle. But growth cannot come by taking the easy way. The athlete who resists rigorous training will never become a world-class athlete. We must be careful that we don’t resent the very things that help us to become great and even awesome!.
Not one of the trials and tribulations we face is beyond our limits, We are promised in Corinthians chapter 10 verse 13: “There hath no temptation ataken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be btempted above that ye are able; but will with the ctemptation also make a way to descape, that ye may be able to ebear it.”
Joseph Smith was tried and tested to the utmost and even martyred in his calling to bring forth The Book of Mormon. The early saints suffered much hardship, starvation and even death to escape persecution and establish Zion. Our forefathers suffered much in the ways of wars, humiliation, betrayal and tests of character to separate from oppression and declare freedom for a new country. The Savior Jesus Christ experienced the incredible suffering in Gethsemane and on Golgotha, to become the author of salvation for all. We are all fairly familiar with these trials… wait… are these trials, or are they blessings? The Book of Mormon, Zion, Freedom, Salvation, These sound like blessings, HUGE blessings to me, but ask those who were involved and even responsible for these blessings and at the time they may argue differently. So what is it, a trial or a blessing? I propose that trials are the seeds of divine blessings!
13 years ago my wife and I, sharing our 1st anniversary, decided to take a trip to Lake Powell with my wifes family, a tradition they have had for several years. In preparing for the trip my little brother who was 14 at the time pleaded he wanted to come on the trip with us and my wifes family. I was a little reluctant, my brother, a daring little spitfire, would be a lot to watch after for us two newlyweds over the course of five days. He promised he would be an angel, my parents and my wife consented and although it seemed that it would be somewhat of a trial for me I agreed as well. My brother was ecstatic and turned out to be a big help in packing and preparing for the trip. As we launched our boat and embarked on our adventure I remember being excited and glad that my little bro was there with us. We had a blast that hot week in August and although there were a few times when my patience may have been tried it proved to be a successful trip. Not much of the trial I initially thought it would be, and actually as the story continues it ends up being a major blessing. So we get home and life goes on, school starts, wedding bliss ensues and everything is hunky-dory until, a phone call. One little phone call, a call that can turn your world up-side down. “Come quick, your brother is in the ER and is not doing good!” It’s crazy how many thoughts and images run through your mind in the matter of seconds when presented with such news. Now the real trial begins, faith is tested, resolve is relinquished, understanding is shattered, and character is shaken. Scattered family unites in a matter of minutes, questions erupt, tears flow and prayers are offered. As our shaken family sits in our private waiting room, my father the Paramedic and the many Dr’s who were behind the closed doors solemnly enter our room whispering “He has past”. Standing hand in hand around a lifeless member of our family laying there on that Emergency Room bed, we prayed, for what I don’t remember, but I can remember thinking the second coming couldn’t come fast enough. If any of you have lost a close loved one you may know what I am talking about. Now you see why our little Lake Powell trip was such a blessing. Before the days of camera cell phones and instagram, we luckily snapped a few shots and were able to capture his last living picture while on that trip. I stand before you today a better man from that experience. I learned so many things from my little brother at his passing. That large trial seed was planted and has blossomed into a beautiful priceless blessing. From that blessing I can testify to you that I know the plan of happiness is real, that death is just as much a part of His plan as birth is. I can testify that the veil is thin and that although we may not see it we are constantly surrounded by angels and loved ones especially in our time of great need.
Often the blessings are recognized when we ponder and evaluate our trials. Many times we may overlook the blessings attached to our trials and become so bitter that we allow satan to discourage us. Sometimes we even create our own trials because we failed to learn from a previous trial. Our loving father in heaven is there for us and can even, if we ask, show us the way through our trial and can point out blessings we have received along the way. This story portrays a man and his trial.
A man was sleeping at night in his cabin when suddenly his room filled with light and the Savior appeared. The Lord told the man he had work for him to do, and showed him a large rock in front of his cabin. The Lord explained that the man was to push against the rock with all his might.
This the man did, day after day. For many years he toiled from sun up to sun down, his shoulders set squarely against the cold, massive surface of the unmoving rock, pushing it with all his might. Each night the man returned to his cabin sore, and worn out, feeling that his whole day had been spent in vain.
Noticing that the man was showing signs of discouragement, the adversary decided to enter the picture by placing thoughts into the man’s weary mind. “You have been pushing against this rock for a long time, and it hasn’t budged. Why kill yourself over this? You are never going to move it.” Thus giving the man the impression that the task was impossible and that he was a failure. These troubling thoughts discouraged and disheartened the man. “Why kill myself over this?” I’ll just put in my time, giving just the minimum effort and that will be good enough.
And that is what he planned to do until one day he decided to make it a matter of prayer and take his thoughts to the Lord. “Lord” he said, “I have labored long and hard in your service, putting all my strength to do that which you have asked. Yet, after all this time, I have not even been able to budge that rock. What is wrong? Why am I failing?”
The Lord responded compassionately, “My friend, When I asked you to serve me and you accepted, I told you that your task was to push against the rock with all your strength, which you have done. Never once did I mention to you that I expected you to move it. Your task was to push. And now you come to me with your strength spent, thinking that you have failed. But, is that really so?”
“Look at yourself. Your arms are strong and muscled, your back sinewy and brown, your hands are callused from constant pressure, and your legs have become massive and hard. Through opposition you have grown much and your abilities now surpass that which you used to have. Yet you haven’t moved the rock. But your calling was to be obedient and to push and to exercise your faith and trust in my wisdom. This you have done. I, my friend, will now move the rock.”
At times, when we hear a word from God, we tend to use our own intellect to decipher what He wants, when actually what God wants is simple obedience and Faith in Him…
We don’t and shouldn’t seek out trials, tests and/or tribulations. Our personal journey through life will provide just the right amount for our needs. Many trials are just a natural part of our mortal existence, but they play such an important role in our progress.
Many of us were affected in one way or another by the recent recession. Some forced to start over, others burdened with uncertainty, while others were left to care for loved ones in need. To many this has been a huge trial maybe their toughest yet. I think that we can all agree that most all blessings come after the trial of our faith. Ask the mother of a newborn child, or an olympian standing at the gold medal platform, or a pleased father in heaven watching as his first born walks triumphantly from the tomb. Was that new child, that gold medal, or the atonement achieved without tribulation? Brothers and sisters with the promise of the millenium and the great blessing of a thousand years of peace living with the Savior, I am afraid that we may have more trials to come and that the recent recession is not the final trial before the Savior comes. This should not be cause for alarm, we are promised that if we are prepared we shall not fear. How do we prepare? Simple, pay attention to the prophets and apostles words. Give heed to their counsel. Don’t look for reasons why their words may not apply to you. Invite the spirit into your home and your life, seeks his confirmation in all things.
I offer the words of Elder Vaughn J Featherstone who talks about seeking solace in the Temple.
“The season of the world before us will be like no other in the history of mankind. Satan has unleashed every evil, every scheme, every blatant, vile perversion ever known to man in any generation. Just as this is the dispensation of the fullness of times, so it is also the dispensation of the fullness of evil. We and our wives and husbands, our children, and our members must find safety. There is no safety in the world, wealth cannot provide it, enforcement agencies cannot assure it, membership in this Church alone cannot bring it.
As the evil night darkens upon this generation, we must come to the temple for light and safety. In our temples we find quiet, sacred havens where the storm cannot penetrate to us. There are hosts of unseen sentinels watching over us and guarding our Temples. Angels attend every door. As it was in the days of Elisha so it will be for us: ‘Those that be with us are more than they that be against us.’ Before the Savior comes the world will darken. There will come a period of time where even the elect will lose hope if they do not come to the temples. The world will be so filled with evil that the righteous will only feel secure within these walls. The Saints will come here not only to do vicarious work, but to find a haven of peace. They will long to bring their children here for safety sake.
I believe we may well have living on the earth now or very soon, the boy or babe who will be the prophet of the Church when the Savior comes. Those who will sit in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles are here. There are many in our homes and communities who will have apostolic callings. We must keep them clean, sweet, and pure in an oh-so-wicked world. There will be greater hosts of unseen beings in the temple. Prophets of old as well as those in this dispensation will visit the temples. Those who attend will feel their strength and their companionship. We will not be alone in our temples.
Our garments worn as instructed will clothe us in a manner as protective as temple walls. The covenants and ordinances will fill us with faith as living fire. In a day of desolating sickness, scorched earth, barren waste, sickening plagues, disease, destruction and death, we as a people will rest in the shade of trees, we will drink from the cooling fountains. We will abide in places of refuge from the storm, we will mount up as on eagles wings, we will be lifted out of an insane and evil world. We will be as fair as the sun and as clear as the moon.
The Savior will come and will honor His people. Those who are spared and prepared will be a temple loving people. They will know him. They will cry out, ‘blessed be the name of He that cometh in the name of the Lord. Thou art my God and I will bless thee, Thou art my God and I will exalt thee.’
Our children will bow down at his feet and worship Him as the Lord of Lords, the King of Kings. They will bathe His feet with their tears and He will weep and bless them for having suffered through the greatest trials ever known to man. His bowels will be filled with compassion and His heart will swell as wide as eternity and He will love them. He will bring peace that will last a thousand years and they will receive their reward to dwell with Him.
Let us prepare them with the faith to surmount every trial and every condition. We will do it in these holy, sacred temples. Come, come, come up to the temples of the Lord and abide in His presence.”
Brothers and sisters I commend you for your faith and your ability to bury your trial seeds and also your ability to harvest great blessings from those seeds. I can see the blessings that you have sown. I also commend you for your ability to invoke the spirit in such great measure, the spirit is here I feel it. I also thank you for your love you have shown to my family. Thank You.
In closing I challenge all of us to respond to our trials as President Spencer W. Kimball “There are great challenges ahead of us, giant opportunities to be met. I welcome that exciting prospect and feel to say to the Lord, humbly, ‘Give me this mountain,’ give me these challenges.”