The COVID-19 pandemic has caused hardship and suffering for just about every person on earth. But during this time, each person has been given the opportunity to fulfill the baptismal covenants spoken of in Mosiah 18:9 when Alma taught that followers of Christ are “willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things.”
During a devotional broadcast on Jan. 12, BYU–Hawaii President John Kauwe said that this pandemic, “is giving us an opportunity to show how we can work together as a community — an opportunity to show that, with our shared faith in Christ and commitment to gospel principles, we can lift and care for all. As we struggle to learn and grow through our challenges, some unique to this time, we can develop attributes that make us more like our Savior Jesus Christ.”
While facing trials, followers of Christ can draw strength from Him as they look to Him as the author and finisher of their faith.
President Kauwe shared an experience he had that illustrates the role of Jesus Christ as the author and finisher of one’s faith.
When the Kauwe family recently visited the beach, President Kauwe and his 3-year-old son Kaleo were playing in the sand when they unearthed a crab. The hole they dug was deep and steep, and although the crab attempted to escape several times, it was unable to. But each time it climbed, it disturbed the sand, making the walls rougher and less steep.
Eventually, it stopped trying to escape even though it was just a few more attempts away from escaping. Rather than let the crab remain trapped, President Kauwe and Kaleo widened the edge of the hole and completed the textured path the crab had been making. Still the crab didn’t attempt to escape. It was only when President Kauwe reached in and gently guided the crab out of the sandy hole that it finally went free and ran into the ocean.
President Kauwe then spoke on three lessons from this experience on the beach.
“First, like the smooth, steep walls the crab faced, there are challenges between us and our temporal and spiritual goals,” he said.
Some things in this life can only be learned through overcoming adversity and challenges. Growth through adversity is part of the Lord’s plan, President Kauwe taught. Each challenge encountered provides power to one’s progression.
When equipped with the knowledge that “all things wherewith you have been afflicted shall work together for your good” (Doctrine and Covenants 98:3), one is prepared to find success and joy in life.
“The second lesson we can learn from the crab’s experience is that our active efforts to overcome challenges and progress are vital,” President Kauwe continued.
The crab’s active efforts directly changed its environment, but it soon became exhausted or discouraged and stopped trying to escape. Each person will face challenges that can be equally as exhausting or discouraging, and will face the temptation to slow down or quit. But it is important to persevere.
President Kauwe quoted Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who said, “The blessings that come to us from enduring to the end in this life are real and very significant, and for the life to come they are beyond comprehension.”
The third lesson, President Kauwe said, is that “we are entitled to the guidance and support of the Spirit as we seek to progress in this mortal life.”
President Kauwe and Kaleo wanted the crab to climb out of the hole, but it needed help and encouragement. They only began guiding the crab out after they had completed its path.
“The Lord has promised to help us in similar ways — adding His support to ensure that our efforts will be sufficient to overcome the challenges that we encounter,” President Kauwe said.
When facing challenges that make one feel insufficient, exhausted and in need of rest, “we can be comforted by the faith that the Lord knows our Needs, that He will prepare the path before us, and that He will give us the strength to carry on,” he said.
Like Lehi’s family who overcame trials and challenges in the wilderness before being guided to the Promised Land, “our success in navigating the challenges of this life is assured when we trust our Heavenly Father and have faith in the Atonement of Jesus Christ,” President Kauwe said.
“When we put forth our effort, perseverance and faith, Jesus Christ promises to provide the path and the support necessary for us to overcome all things and complete our progression. He is in a very real way, the finisher of our faith.”