Many of you have no doubt had the same experience I’ve had of late. Grocery stores with long lines, no paper products or bottled water, and eerie rows of empty shelves. There are areas in the world where this is not uncommon, but in the United States and other industrialized nations, that is not the case. I imagine that for many around the world, there have been recent moments that almost felt post-apocalyptic.
Then, as I sat in the last endowment session I’ll likely attend for a while, I felt a familiar sensation gnawing at me. It took just seconds to identify what it was. Mourning. I was starting to mourn the fact that life as I’ve known it — weekly time in the temple, sacrament and other meetings that allow me to renew my covenants and enjoy the camaraderie of my ward family — is changing, at least for a period of time.
As I sat in that temple session, trying to relish every word, my mind flashed to an important message Elder Neil L. Andersen gave several years ago at BYU. When I got home, I read it again and came across this comforting declaration: “As evil increases in the world, there is a compensatory spiritual power for the righteous. As the world slides from its spiritual moorings, the Lord prepares the way for those who seek Him, offering them greater assurance, greater confirmation, and greater confidence in the spiritual direction they are traveling. The gift of the Holy Ghost becomes a brighter light in the emerging twilight.”
I can feel the truth of Elder Andersen’s statement.
Nothing happening in the world today is catching the Lord off-guard. Satan hasn’t pulled a fast one on Him. Circumstances that led to the inception and spreading of the coronavirus were all foreseen by Him who sees all. That is clear, because our leaders have been getting us ready for this very hour.
One of my nephews said this week, “Well, if this virus mess doesn’t convince you that there is a living prophet who has been trying to prepare us for days like these, I don’t know what would.”
Indeed. The fruits of revelation are often more easily seen in hindsight. It is no surprise to those who believe in prophets that more than a year ago President Russell M. Nelson, with 14 others ordained as prophets, seers and revelators, introduced a home-centered, Church-supported curriculum and admonished us to be more intentional about studying and teaching the gospel in our homes.
It is no surprise that two years ago they introduced ministering and asked us to learn to care for each other in a higher, holier way.
During this unusual season when the way we worship and serve the Lord has been modified, let’s make sure we see the ways the Lord is blessing us.
And President Nelson’s counsel from his first address as President of the Church seems even more prescient today. Pleading with us to “increase [our] spiritual capacity to receive revelation,” he added, “I am optimistic about the future. It will be filled with opportunities for each of us to progress, contribute, and take the gospel to every corner of the earth. But I am also not naïve about the days ahead. We live in a world that is complex and increasingly contentious.”
Our complex, highly interconnected world has witnessed this in dramatic fashion as COVID-19 reached pandemic proportions seemingly overnight.
And yet, there is great cause for optimism. In a video released as the Church prepared for the first Sabbath in decades without formal sacrament meetings, President Nelson reassured us that “our Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ know us, love us, and are watching over us. Of that we can be certain.” And he promised us comfort and peace as we continue to “Hear Him.”
Surely this is what Elder Andersen was referring to when he declared that “as evil increases in the world, there is a compensatory power, an additional spiritual endowment, a revelatory gift for the righteous.”
During this unusual season when the way we worship and serve the Lord has been modified, let’s make sure we see the ways the Lord is blessing us. Let’s be sure we identify the compensatory blessings and power He has for those who seek them.
If you identify such experiences that are appropriate to share, the Church News would love to hear about them. You may email your experience to: [email protected].
In a time of darkness, the ministering power of the Light of the World will be even easier to see. How beautiful it will be if, as a global Church family, we don’t just endure this particular challenge but we seek the hand of the Lord in our lives and then share our witness of His mercy, power and peace.