Once I wrote a post called “Jesus Solves All Problems.” I still believe this is true.
With so many problems in the world right now, in the last few days and weeks, it’s hard to know how to answer them all. There are so many things to consider and paths we could take as we move to resolve them all. It is a daunting task ahead of us.
The most effective way, really the only way, is Jesus.
He brings love, peace, and fairness. He is the source of light, truth, and inspiration. Only through Him can we hope to find medical improvements, political solutions, and societal peace.
We need not fear
We are His people, the salt of the earth, the leaven in the bread. He has scattered us so we may work in and lift our communities to increase His influence in the world.
This is why, when we face challenges, we need not fear. But we do have responsibility to trust Him and ask for His blessing.
We know Christ will save us in the end, but He also protects and comforts us in the meantime.
In the midst of fear, injustice, and violence, let us remember what He does for us now, during our trials.
Remember this story from the Book of Mormon, as taught by Elder Bednar:
In the land of Helam, Alma’s people were frightened by an advancing Lamanite army.
“But Alma went forth and stood among them, and exhorted them that they should not be frightened, but … should remember the Lord their God and he would deliver them.
“Therefore they hushed their fears” (Mosiah 23:27–28).
Notice Alma did not hush the people’s fears. Rather, Alma counseled the believers to remember the Lord and the deliverance only He could bestow (see 2 Nephi 2:8). And knowledge of the Savior’s protecting watchcare enabled the people to hush their own fears.
Correct knowledge of and faith in the Lord empower us to hush our fears because Jesus Christ is the only source of enduring peace. He declared, “Learn of me, and listen to my words; walk in the meekness of my Spirit, and you shall have peace in me” (D&C 19:23).
But can we hush the fears that so easily and frequently beset us in our contemporary world? The answer to this question is an unequivocal yes. Three basic principles are central to receiving this blessing in our lives: (1) look to Christ, (2) build upon the foundation of Christ, and (3) press forward with faith in Christ.
Let us consider how we may apply the first principle, to look to Christ.
Elder Bednar goes on to use the example of Peter walking on water, who only began to sink when he looked away from Christ and at the frightful scene around him.
Now this is a great example, you may say, but what about when it is hard to see Christ in this situation? What if we may struggle to find Him, along with His comfort, counsel, and love, when there is so much fear, confusion, and hate?
It may be hard to have eyes to see, but we must pray for eyes to see Him and what He can do for you.
It helps me to remember the story of Elisha. Before now, I had never understood in any measure what it might feel like to be surrounded by an army ready to strike, but I’m starting to relate.
This is what happened when the prophet Elisha and his servant woke up to find the enemy, the Syrians, surrounding his city, Dothan:
Therefore sent [the king of Syria] thither horses, and chariots, and a great host: and they came by night, and compassed the city about.
And when the servant of the man of God [Elisha] was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do?
And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.
And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.
And when they came down to him, Elisha prayed unto the Lord, and said, Smite this people, I pray thee, with blindness. And he smote them with blindness according to the word of Elisha.2 Kings 2:14-18
Elisha’s servant was fearful. But he turned to someone who could commune with God for help and answers.
Elisha doesn’t even seem phased.
What can we do?
So what can we do when we are like Elisha’s servant? We can turn to the prophet of the Lord for counsel and guidance, and the words of other servants of God as found in the scriptures.
We can also ask the Lord in prayer to open our eyes to see that He is there, that He has sent help before we even knew to ask for it. We may or may not see legions of angels, but I trust that we will feel their presence as well as the love and power of God’s hand.
Once we exercise faith to begin to “Look unto [Him] in every thought; doubt not, fear not” (D&C 6:36), he will give us strength and knowledge sufficient to hold our gaze and come unto Him.
Furthermore, it is essential to remember that the Lord did not only open the eyes of the servant to see the army of angels around them. When the faithful prayed for aide, He blessed them. We can have faith that, someday, the Lord will liberate His people and answer their prayers.
We may not be a prophet or apostle of the Lord like Elisha or Elder Bednar, but we do still have responsibility as members of His Church. We also are entitled to certain blessings. Elder Uchdorf taught:
Brothers and sisters, we are charged with studying the word of God and heeding the voice of the Spirit, that we may “know the signs of the times, and the signs of the coming of the Son of Man.” (D&C 68:11)
We are, therefore, not ignorant of the challenges of the world, nor are we unaware of the difficulties of our times. But this does not mean that we should burden ourselves or others with constant fear. Rather than dwelling on the immensity of our challenges, would it not be better to focus on the infinite greatness, goodness, and absolute power of our God, trusting Him and preparing with a joyful heart for the return of Jesus the Christ?
As His covenant people, we need not be paralyzed by fear because bad things might happen. Instead, we can move forward with faith, courage, determination, and trust in God as we approach the challenges and opportunities ahead.
We know we must move past our fear and act in faith.
There are a lot of things that we could—and should—do to solve our problems right now.
Social media activism? Police reform? Peaceful protests? Violent protests? Unleashing the military to restore peace?
Unpacking these options and their varying levels of effectiveness, morality, and lunacy?
As much as I would love to do especially the latter, and perhaps will at a later time, I am prioritizing this post. I’m putting my money where my mouth is and standing by this claim:
The most important thing we need right now is Jesus.
Only He can replace anger with love. Only He can replace fear with comfort. Only He can replace death with life. Only He can replace devastation with hope.
Only He can truly heal hearts and nations. He is the source of truth and righteousness. He is the Prince of Peace, and He will someday return to reign over all creation.
I implore you to look to Him. Come unto Him. Let Him teach you, heal you, and comfort you from inside out.
I would like to end with the recent promises, counsel, and apostolic blessing from the Prophet of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is, besides personal prayer, our most direct link to heaven in these dark times.
We pray that you will begin anew truly to hear, hearken to, and heed the words of the Savior. I promise that decreased fear and increased faith will follow.
Talk about the temple with your family and friends. Because Jesus Christ is at the center of everything we do in the temple, as you think more about the temple you will be thinking more about Him. Study and pray to learn more about the power and knowledge with which you have been endowed—or with which you will yet be endowed. …
Dear brothers and sisters, I express my love for you. During this time of tension and uncertainty, and invoking the authority vested in me, I would like to confer upon you an apostolic blessing.
I bless you with peace and increasing faith in the Lord.
I bless you with a desire to repent and become a little more like Him each day.
I bless you to know that the Prophet Joseph Smith is the prophet of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ in its fulness.
Should there be illness among you or your loved ones, I leave a blessing of healing, consistent with the will of the Lord.
I so bless you, adding once more my expression of love for each of you, in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen.
President Nelson, April 2020 General Conference (emphasis added)
As an aside, I also feel motivated to add that, if you do not currently have a testimony of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, now is a really good time to pray about it. Ask God in sincere prayer to know if this is Christ’s Church, led by a prophet and apostles who speak for Him on this earth. Once you know this for yourself, I promise you the greatest peace, comfort, and knowledge anyone has to offer. I can testify for myself that my connection with Christ, through His Church, has been my greatest and only real comfort in this time.
How has Christ healed you? How are you looking (or how will you look) to Him at this time?