In my youth, I truly believed that as long as I kept the commandments, I would be insulated from the worst of life’s challenges. I remember with excruciating clarity the day that illusion was shattered. It is tempting to believe that a loving God would not ask us to do things that hurt. In this week’s conference talk, Elder Holland said, “To be a follower of Jesus Christ, one must sometimes carry a burden—your own or someone else’s—and go where sacrifice is required and suffering is inevitable.”
As someone whose natural inclination is to avoid not only suffering, but any negative emotions, I have spent an inordinate amount of time thinking about why struggle and suffering is an important part of this mortal experience. In the Lectures on Faith, Joseph Smith said, “A religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things, never has the power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation.”
Salvation is not a cheap experience. Accruing faith requires work. Elder Holland said, “To obtain [such] blessings, may we follow Him—unfailingly, never faltering or fleeing, never flinching at the task, not when our crosses may be heavy and not when, for a time, the path may grow dark.”
I don’t yet have all of the answers regarding these topics, but clinging to precious truths, the things that I know, helps me to stand strong instead of flinching. The truths that make up the core of my testimony, those that have been tested and proven over and over again, are the simplest ones. Heavenly Father knows me. He loves me, He is intimately aware of my situation. He wants my success and happiness even more than I do. Heavenly Father wants to bless me. When I need faith for something I don’t yet understand, when I need to travel roads that bring suffering, I cling to those few precious truths that I know.
Take some time to ponder and identify the things that you no longer need faith for—the things you know. Write down those precious truths in your life that bring you strength when it would be easy to falter.
Following the Lord into any circumstance does not mean that I have to know everything. I can trust the things I do know, until I understand better the things I don’t.