Sojourn in life: `You can't run from trouble'

Bear afflictions

Live through heartaches- Have patience

A small sign with a profound truth provided a theme for President Thomas S. Monson's conference address Sunday morning.

President Monson, first counselor in the First Presidency, said that as he and vacationing family members stood in line for Splash Mountain, a ride at Disneyland, he noticed a sign: "You can't run away from trouble; there's no place that far!"

"These few words have remained with me," President Monson declared. "They pertain not only to the theme of Splash Mountain, but also to our sojourn in mortality.

"Life is a school of experience, a time of probation. We learn as we bear our afflictions and live through our heartaches.

"As we ponder the events that can befall all of us - even sickness, accident, death, and a host of other challenges - we can say, with Job of old, `Man is born unto trouble.' " (Job 5:7.)

President Monson spoke of Job, who kept the faith in the midst of great trials. (Job 1, 2 and 5.)

"It may be safely assumed that no person has ever lived entirely free of suffering and tribulation, nor has there ever been a period in human history that did not have its full share of turmoil, ruin and misery," President Monson said.

"When the pathway of life takes a cruel turn, there is the temptation to ask the question, Why me?' Self-incrimination is a common practice, even when we may have no control over our difficulty. At times there appears to be no light at the tunnel's end, no dawn to break the night's darkness. We feel surrounded by the pain of broken hearts, the disappointment of shattered dreams, and the despair of vanished hopes. We join in uttering the biblical plea,Is there no balm in Gilead. . . . ?' (Jer. 8:22.) We feel abandoned, heartbroken, alone."

He said, "Whenever we are inclined to feel burdened down with the blows of life, let us remember that others have passed the same way, have endured, and then have overcome.

"There seems to be an unending supply of trouble for one and all. Our problem is that we often expect instantaneous solutions, forgetting that frequently the heavenly virtue of patience is required."

He listed some challenges:

Handicapped children, the passing of a loved one, employment downsizing, obsolescence of one's skills, a wayward son or daughter, mental and emotional illness, accidents, divorce, abuse, excessive debt.

"The list is endless," he declared. "In the world of today there is at times a tendency to feel detached - even isolated - from the Giver of every good gift. We worry that we walk alone. You ask, `How can we cope?' What brings to us ultimate comfort is the gospel.

"From the bed of pain, from the pillow wet with tears, we are lifted heavenward by that divine assurance and precious promise, `I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.' (Josh. 1:5.)

"Such comfort is priceless as we journey along the pathway of mortality, with its many forks and its many turnings. Rarely is the assurance communicated by a flashing sign or a loud voice. Rather, the language of the Spirit is gentle, quiet, uplifting to the heart, and soothing to the soul.

"Lest we question the Lord concerning our troubles, let us remember that the wisdom of God may appear as foolishness to men; but the greatest single lesson we can learn in mortality is that when God speaks and a man obeys, that man will always be right."

President Monson noted that Elijah did not question the Lord when he was instructed to go to Zarephath, and the widow there did not question Elijah's improbable promise that, after she fed him, the barrel would have meal and the cruse would have oil until the famine ended. (1 Kings 17:8-14.)

President Monson quoted from a scriptural account of the announcement of the Savior's birth (Luke 2:10-11) and added: "With the birth of the babe in Bethlehem, there emerged a great endowment - a power stronger than weapons, a wealth more lasting than the coins of Caesar. The long foretold promise was fulfilled; the Christ child was born.

"The sacred record reveals that the boy Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.' (Luke 2:52.) At a later time, a quiet entry records that Hewent about doing good.' (Acts 10:38.)

"Out of Nazareth and down through the generations of time come His excellent example, His welcome words, His divine deeds. They inspire patience to endure affliction, strength to bear grief, courage to face death, and confidence to meet life. In this world of chaos, of trial, of uncertainty, never has our need for such divine guidance been more desperate.

"Lessons from Nazareth, Capernaum, Jerusalem, and Galilee transcend the barriers of distance, the passage of time, the limits of understanding as they bring to troubled hearts a light and a way. Ahead lay Gethsemane's garden and Golgotha's hill."

President Monson spoke of the Savior's experiences in Gethsemane (Luke 22:42-44), and said, "What suffering, what sacrifice, what anguish did He endure to atone for the sins of the world! . . .

"Ahead lay Calvary's cross, the acts of depravity committed by those who thirsted for the blood of the Son of God. His divine response is a simple but profoundly significant prayer, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.' (Luke 23:34.) The conclusion came:Father into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus' (Luke 23:46), the Great Redeemer died. He was buried in a tomb. He rose on the morning of the third day. He was seen by His disciples. Words that linger from that epochal event course through the annals of time and bring to our souls even today the comfort, the assurance, the balm, the certainty, `He is not here. . . . He is risen.' (Luke 23:46.) Resurrection became a reality for all."

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