Located in Leicester, England, is the charming little Staunton Harold Church. Carved above the door is an inspiring inscription that reads: “In the year 1653 when all things sacred were throughout this nation either demolished or profaned, Sir Robert Shirley Baronet founded this church. Whose singular praise it is to have done the best things in the worst times and hoped them in the most calamitous.”
We too can be and do the best things in the worst times. Out of every tragedy, every trial, every heartache, every single disappointment comes an opportunity for spiritual growth and understanding.
Helaman expounds on this sacred truth while teaching his sons, “And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall” (Helaman 5:12).
Our beloved prophet, President Russell M. Nelson, added his testimony to that of Helaman’s during October 2016 general conference when he declared, “When the focus of our lives is on God’s plan of salvation and Jesus Christ and His gospel, we can feel joy regardless of what is happening-or not happening-in our lives." Brothers and sisters, if we are wise and turn to the Savior, through His infinite Atonement we can find peace, comfort and even joy during the storms of life.
The following story illustrates how a dear sister was able to draw closer to the Savior during a challenging time in her life:
After the birth of her third child, a young mother suffered some serious complications. The road to recovery was uncertain but hopeful. After much fasting, prayer and the work of skilled doctors and nurses, she was eventually released from the hospital and reunited with her family.
Her heart was filled with much gratitude that she was able to continue to help her husband raise their children. During the months that followed, she often found herself on her knees thanking her Father in Heaven. Then, after praying, she would rise and go about her daily tasks thinking of what she could do to repay all of those who had sacrificed and served her family during such a trying time.
Her thoughts often turned to her wonderful doctor. She would ponder the following questions, “How do you properly thank someone who helped save your life?” “How do you repay them for doing something for you that you couldn’t possibly do for yourself?”
Then one day as she was pondering the life and ministry of Jesus Christ while preparing to partake of the sacrament, the words to the sacramental prayer resonated in her heart and mind.
The Spirit softly answered, “Jesus Christ did something for you that you couldn’t possibly do for yourself and what does He ask in return? That you always remember Him.” Her heart filled with joy as she was reminded of the power and importance of remembering.
The Hebrew word remember carries the connotation of “to have before your face always” (Deuteronomy 6). This isn’t a casual, “Please don’t forget about Me.” The Savior wants to be an intricate, personal part of our daily lives. If Jesus Christ is before our face always it affects how we speak, what we choose to watch, read, listen to and, most important, how we treat one another.
Elder Dennis B. Neuenschwander, formerly of the Presidency of the Seventy, expounded on this explanation during a BYU devotional, teaching: “The repetitious scriptural reminder to remember takes on added significance when we understand that in Hebrew the word remember has a much broader meaning than does the English connotation of ‘keeping something in mind.’ In the Hebrew context, ‘doing’ is an essential part of the remembering process. Thus, ‘to remember’ is ‘to do,’ whereas ‘forgetting’ is ‘failing to do.’ Having the Lord before our face means that we not only “keep His commandments … that (we) may always have His spirit to be with (us)” but that we also speak, testify and teach of Him daily (Moroni 4:3).
As covenant followers of Jesus Christ, there is sanctifying power in the word remember. As we partake of the sacred emblems of the sacrament each week and reflect upon the Savior’s admonition to “always remember Him”, we are tenderly reminded that when worlds without number hung in the balance, He remembered us. We have always been and always will be before His face.
We can choose to remember our Savior by walking as He walked, loving as He loved, forgiving as He forgave, serving as He served and teaching as He taught. In doing so, we are promised a wonderful blessing, “That (we) may always have His spirit to be with (us).”
It is our prayer that during this season of thanksgiving that we may always remember the matchless gift of a Son and the bounteous blessings that flow from Him. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).