Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Peace in Troubled Times

Sometimes living in today's world can be frightening. These are some words of encouragement and hope I would like to share that I pray will bring peace and comfort in troubled times this wonderful Easter Season. The following is clipped from a talk by Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles- April 2003
" After teaching the multitude, Jesus and His disciples set sail for the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee. It was night and the Savior rested comfortably near the stern, asleep on a pillow. In time “there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship.” Terrified, the disciples awakened Him: “Master, carest thou not that we perish?” 1 His answer was characteristically calm: “Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?” 2 “And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.” 3
He who had created the earth was again commanding the elements. 4 In wonderment, His disciples asked, “What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” 5
We are living through turbulent times. A great storm of evil has come upon the earth. The winds of wickedness howl about us; the waves of war beat against our ship. As Paul wrote to Timothy: “In the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, … Having a form of godliness; but denying the power thereof.” 6

It is true that ominous clouds gather around us, but just as the Savior’s words brought peace to the Apostles in the boat, they bring peace to us today: “And when ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars, be ye not troubled: for such things must needs be; but the end shall not be yet.” 7 “If ye are prepared ye shall not fear.” 8....
As we look into the eyes of our children and grandchildren, we see the doubt and fear of our times. Wherever these precious ones go in the world, they hear about unemployment, poverty, war, immorality, and crime. They wonder, “How can we cope with these problems?”

To find answers, they look back into our eyes and listen to our words. Do they hear us speaking faithfully and hopefully, despite the tribulations of our times?....

I am moved by the extent of the tribulation in the Savior’s experience. Even though He was the Only Begotten of the Father, cunning men sought to take His life from the very beginning. Throughout His ministry, a storm of rumors, lies, and persecutions followed Him wherever He went.
I am especially impressed as I consider the week leading to His death: the chief priests challenged His authority, tried to trap Him, and twice conspired to kill Him. In Gethsemane, while His disciples slept, He suffered the sins of all mankind and bled from every pore. He was betrayed, arrested, questioned, struck, spat upon, and beaten. After interrogation by the ruling council, He was mocked by Herod and finally taken to Pilate, where He was made to stand before an angry mob. Whipped and crowned with thorns, He was forced to carry His cross to Golgotha. Nails were driven into His hands and feet. His body was raised up between common thieves. Soldiers cast lots for His earthly possessions, and vinegar was given to quench His thirst. After six hours,
20 He commended His spirit into the hands of His Father, gave up the ghost, and died.

"The Cruscifixion" Painting by- Harry Anderson


When we observe the last week of the Savior’s life from our earthly perspective, our first impression may be one of suffering and destruction. We may see only the Savior’s mother and others weeping at the cross, soldiers afraid, the earth in great commotion, rocks broken up, the veil of the temple rent in twain, and three hours of darkness covering the land. A similar scene of storms and destruction unfolded in the New World. In short, we see the terrible tempest raging.

But look again—this time through the eye of faith.
In the last, most agonizing weeks of His life, consider that Jesus taught, testified, lifted, blessed, and strengthened those around Him. He raised Lazarus from the dead, taught about His Father, set the temple in order, gave several parables, witnessed the widow offering her mite, instructed His disciples about the signs of His Second Coming, visited the house of Simon the leper, instituted the sacrament, washed the feet of the Apostles, and taught His disciples to love one another. He testified of His divinity as the Son of God and taught of the Comforter—the Holy Ghost. In His great Intercessory Prayer, He prayed to His Father for His Apostles and all who believe on their words, “that they might have [His] joy fulfilled in themselves.”
21

"The Last Supper" Painting by- Ford Madox Brown
In His darkest hour, the light of peace and joy did not fade. It grew brighter! After His death, He appeared to Mary Magdalene. What joy must have been felt that morning as the news spread: “He is risen”! 22 In time He came to the women on the road, to Cleopas and a disciple who were traveling to Emmaus, to the Apostles and disciples in the upper room, to Thomas, who doubted, and to others. Again, there was joy and rejoicing in the Atonement and the Resurrection. 23...
"Mary and the Resurrected Lord"- Painting by- Harry Anderson
My brothers and sisters, however dark conditions may seem in this world today, whatever the storms we are facing personally, in our homes and our families, this joy can be ours now. Sometimes we don’t understand death, illness, mental and physical disabilities, personal tragedies, war, and other conflict. Some of these are a necessary part of our mortal probation. Others, as Enoch foresaw, are part of the preparation for the Savior’s Second Coming, when “the heavens shall be darkened, and a veil of darkness shall cover the earth; and the heavens shall shake, and also the earth; and great tribulations shall be among the children of men, but,” said the Lord, “my people will I preserve.” And when Enoch saw all these things, he “received a fulness of joy.” 25

"The Resurrected Lord"- Painting by- Harry Anderson
On this morning, during this season of the Savior’s birth and Resurrection, I bear special witness with joy and rejoicing that He did come into this world, suffered for our sins, and will return again. Our faith in Him and obedience to His commandments will bring “a perfect brightness of hope” 26 and dispel the darkness and gloom of despair in these troubled times. The One who had power to calm the elements of earth has power to calm our souls, to give us refuge from the storm: “Peace, be still.” 27
I so testify, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen."
Elder Robert D. HalesOf the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

2 comments:

Ellen said...

Alicia, your blog site is very pretty, I love seeing the family pictures! Thanks for your message for this Easter holiday.

We love you guys,
Ellen

Anonymous said...

Alicia,

Your blog site brings me great peace and lifts me up spiritually.

Thank you for sharing your talents, kindness and love with us all.

Love,
Linda