As Latter-day Saint women seek their Heavenly Father through fervent, sincere prayer and earnest, dedicated scripture study, their testimonies will become strong and deeply rooted, said President Thomas S. Monson Sept. 28.
“We will know of God’s love for us,” he said. “We will understand that we do not ever walk alone. I promise you that you will one day stand aside and look at your difficult times, and you will realize that He was always there beside you.”
Speaking at the Relief Society General Meeting, President Monson addressed the topic, “We Never Walk Alone.” The meeting was translated and sent live, via the Church satellite system and the Internet, across the globe. The Relief Society general presidency, Sister Linda K. Burton and her counselors, Sister Carole M. Stephens and Linda S. Reeves also spoke.
President Monson told the worldwide congregation that as he contemplated his opportunity to address them, he was reminded “of the love my dear wife, Frances, had for Relief Society.”
“I, too, love Relief Society,” he said. “I testify to you that it was organized by inspiration and is a vital part of the Lord’s Church here upon the earth. It would be impossible to calculate all the good which has come from this organization and all the lives which have been blessed because of it.”
Relief Society is made up of a variety of women, he said. “There are those of you who are single — perhaps in school, perhaps working — yet forging a full and rich life. Some of you are busy mothers of growing children. Still others of you have lost your husbands because of divorce or death and are struggling to raise your children without the help of a husband and father. Some of you have raised your children but have realized that their need for your help is ongoing. There are many of you who have aging parents who require the loving care only you can give.
“Wherever we are in life, there are times when all of us have challenges and struggles. Although they are different for each, they are common to all.”
President Monson told the congregation that there will be times they will walk a path strewn with thorns and marked by struggle. “There may be times when you feel detached — even isolated —from the Giver of every good gift. You worry that you walk alone. Fear replaces faith.
“When you find yourself in such circumstances, I plead with you to remember prayer.”
God’s children were not placed on this earth to walk alone, said President Monson. “What an amazing source of power, of strength and of comfort is available to each of us. He who knows us better than we know ourselves, He who sees the larger picture and who knows the end from the beginning, has assured us that He will be there for us to provide help if we but ask. …
“Difficult as it may at times be, it is for us, as well, to trust our Heavenly Father to know best how and when and in what manner to provide the help we seek.”
Of course, prayer is not just for times of trouble, President Monson added. “We are told repeatedly in the scriptures to 'Pray always,' (Luke 21:36) and to keep a prayer in our hearts” (3 Nephi 20:1).
Allied with prayer in helping Latter-day Saints cope in the often difficult world is scripture study, said President Monson.
“The words of truth and inspiration found in our four standard works are prized possessions to me,” he said. “I never tire of reading them. I am lifted spiritually whenever I search the scriptures. These holy words of truth and love give guidance to my life and point the way to eternal perfection.
“As we read and ponder the scriptures, we will experience the sweet whisperings of the Spirit to our souls. We can find answers to our questions. We learn of the blessings which come through keeping God’s commandments. We gain a sure testimony of our Heavenly Father and our Savior, Jesus Christ, and of their love for us. When combined with our prayers, we can of a certainty know that the gospel of Jesus Christ is true.”
President Monson told the worldwide congregation that remembering prayer and taking time to turn to the scriptures will bless their lives and make their burdens light.
He spoke of a woman, Tiffany, whose husband had been in medical school and was now in his second year of residency. Because of the husband's busy schedule, care for the couple’s four young children fell to the Tiffany.
“She was becoming overwhelmed, and then she learned that one who was dear to her had been diagnosed with cancer,” President Monson recounted. “The stress and worry began to take a heavy toll on her, and she slipped into a period of discouragement and depression. She sought medical help, and yet nothing changed. Her appetite disappeared and she began to lose weight, which her tiny frame could ill afford. She sought peace through the scriptures and prayed for deliverance from the gloom which was overtaking her. When neither peace nor help seemed to come, she began to feel abandoned by God.”
Tiffany sought medical attention and friends and family stepped in to help. One day Tiffany told a friend trying to help her find something she could eat of her desire for homemade bread. The next day a woman Tiffany barely new delivered a loaf of homemade bread.
“And so it happened that the Lord sent a virtual stranger across town to deliver not just the desired homemade bread, but also a clear message of love to Tiffany,” said President Monson. “What happened to her cannot be explained in any other way. She had an urgent need to feel that she wasn’t alone — that God was aware of her and had not abandoned her. That bread — the very thing she wanted — was delivered to her by someone she barely knew, someone who had no knowledge of her need but who listened to the prompting of the Spirit and followed that prompting. It became an obvious sign to Tiffany that her Heavenly Father was aware of her needs and loved her enough to send help. He had responded to her cries for relief.”
Concluding, President Monson said, “My dear sisters, your Heavenly Father loves you — each of you. That love never changes. It is not influenced by your appearance, by your possessions, or by the amount of money you have in your bank account. It is not changed by your talents and abilities. It is simply there. It is there for you when you are sad or happy, discouraged or hopeful. God’s love is there for you whether or not you deserve love. It is simply always there.”