Trials and tribulations abound. Since Sept. 11, when terrorist attacks killed thousands of people, there is a heightened concern for safety throughout the world.
But trials and tribulations have been on the earth since the time of father Adam. How we respond to them is far more important than the trials and tribulations we face.
As always, the perfect exemplar is the Savior.
Toward the end of His mortal life, the Lord knew He was about to suffer the indescribable agonies of Gethsemane and that His betrayal, arrest, arraignment and crucifixion were soon to follow. He also knew of the perils that the original Twelve would soon encounter. He told them as much when he said, "In the world ye shall have tribulation." (John 16:33.) But He followed that with counsel that should gladden the hearts of righteous people everywhere: "but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." (Ibid.)
Indeed, by taking the sins of all mankind on Himself, the Savior has overcome the world and has given everyone in it the opportunity to not only be free from the pain He suffered but to also obtain exaltation.
The Lord has also provided the key that unlocks the door to eternal life: "If ye love me, keep my commandments." (John 14:15.)
Regardless the circumstances, regardless the trials and tribulations, if we keep the commandments, we will receive the choicest blessings our Father in Heaven has to offer.
Throughout the Book of Mormon the Lord repeats this theme: "If ye keep my commandments, ye shall prosper in the land."
That same principle holds true in our individual lives. While the righteous are not exempt from the trials and sorrows of the world, they will reap a great eternal reward if they keep the commandments, if they hold fast to the iron rod that the Lord in His infinite love and mercy has provided.
As President Gordon B. Hinckley counseled, "We have nothing to fear. God is at the helm. . . . He will shower down blessings upon those who walk in obedience to His commandments." (October 1995 general conference; Ensign, May 1995, p. 71.)
If we do our part, the Lord will surely do His. President Howard W. Hunter said, "If our lives and our faith are centered on Jesus Christ and His restored gospel, nothing can ever go permanently wrong. On the other hand, if our lives are not centered on the Savior and His teachings, no other success can ever be permanently right." (The Teachings of Howard W. Hunter, p. 40.)
As the Lord revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith: "All thrones and dominions, principalities and powers, shall be revealed and set forth upon all who have endured valiantly for the gospel of Jesus Christ." (Doctrine and Covenants 121:29.)
Members of the Church at the time of Joseph Smith had trials particular to their time just as we do for ours. But the principles of righteousness are constant and never ending. What the Lord told them in those days applies equally today: ". . . be of good cheer for I will lead you along. The kingdom is yours and the blessings thereof are yours, and the riches of eternity are yours." (Doctrine and Covenants 78:18.)
The Lord will lead us, providing of course, we keep His commandments. That is a promise He makes regardless of our surrounding environment. "I the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise." (Doctrine and Covenants 82:10.)
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have so much to be thankful for. And that's why, as the Savior admonished the original Twelve, we should be of good cheer.