• Delicious
  • Digg
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Linkedin
  • Youtube

You need to upgrade your Flash Player to version 10 or newer.


-God and Angels in the midst of our fiery crucible of life's experiences.

The true disciples today maintain faith the revealing, loving God, in His atoning Son Jesus Christ, in the latter-day Restoration with its empowering visitations, its prophets and apostles and its plain and “precious scriptures”(1). As the Restored Church comes “out of obscurity,” our stern challenges are disclosing further the distinctiveness of the Church(2). And matching our behavior more closely with our beliefs brings relentless reminders about the ongoing duties of discipleship.

The imperfect people like you and me often would like to know the “why” when we face difficult trials and unfortunate events. The overarching questions asked by the bereaved and the burdened is simply this: “Why? Why are we struggling with this misfortune, when others relate miraculous experiences?” These are natural questions, understandable questions. But what we often forget is that mortality was intended, in a manner of speaking, as the season of unanswered questions. Mortality has a different, more narrowly defined purposes. Alma taught that our mortality is a proving ground, a probationary state and a time to prepare to meet God(3). The mortal calisthenics are designed to increase our capacity for happiness and our ability to trust in the Lord’s promise that “all things must come to pass in their time”(4).

It is through nurturing humility and submissiveness that we may comprehend a fullness of the life’s purposes. These attributes become our personal expression of willingness to let the “why” questions go unanswered for now, or perhaps to even ask “why not?”

God in the midst of our vexing moments
Granted, we often are led to think that God we are left alone in the fiery crucible of life’s experiences, and that God has, for some reason, forsaken us. This is not so. Not only we are taught that the Lord will not tempt us above that we are able,(5) we know we can have the divine intervention from the Lord. The three Hebrew magistrates, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, were confronted to worship the idol god. They knew that God could rescue them from the fiery furnace, “but if not,” they said to the king, “we [still] will not serve thy gods”(6). Significantly, not three but four men were seen in the midst of the flames, and “the form of the fourth [was] like the Son of God”(7).

Fourth men was found in the fiery furnace.

The scriptures reassures us that we can “look unto God… and he will console [us] in [our] afflictions”(8). We can be “supported under trials and troubles of every kind, yea,… he will still deliver [us]”(9). For the Lord has promised “I will be in your midst”(10). We often hear of latter-day Saints share experience of feeling the presence of the Lord when they are faced with the turbulent times. The Lord always prepares a way for our deliverance in all things out of temptations because he loves us(11).

Furthermore, God gives us priceless personal reassurance from the Holy Ghost. Whether in tranquil or turbulent times, our best source of comfort is the Comforter(12). Moreover, not only we can have the members of the Godhead on our side, the angels can also become the consoling presence: “there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up”(13). When Joseph Smith dedicated the Kirtland Temple, he included in the prayer that the angels will have charge over the missionaries(14). “The Lord is here with us,” said President Brigham Young, “not in person, but his angels are round us, and he takes cognizance of every act of the children of men, as individuals and as nations. He is here ready by his agents, the angels, and by the power of his Holy Spirit and Priesthood… to bring most perfect and absolute deliverance unto all who put their trust in Him”(15). So the promises are sure. Our part is to show our faith. Mormon called it having a “firm mind in every form of godliness”(16). The scriptures are full of instances when there was a divine intervention from the presences in the infinite realm. Several examples of these will suffice.

Abraham, who was called the “Father of the Faithful”(17), had two occasions when we received divine interventions: one from when he was about to be sacrificed to “the idolatrous priest of Elkenah” and was intercepted by “the angel of the Lord”(18). The other occasion when was about to sacrifice Isaac on the mount.(19) Joshua and Gideon were encouraged by the angel to accomplish their daunting tasks(20). John the Revelator, Moses and Nephi were taught by the Spirit and the Lord(21). Stephen the Apostle, in his dying breaths, saw God the Father and the Son(22). Peter, James and John received magnificent vision on the mount of Transfiguration and “the Savior, Moses, and Elias, gave the keys to Peter, James and John, on the mount, when they were transfigured before him”(23). A 14-year old Joseph Smith was rescued by the Father and the Son when he “was seized upon by some power which entirely overcame [him](24).

We can be troubled on every side, but nothing can really separate us from the love of Christ(25). We can and should cast our cares upon the Lord, because He surely cares for us!(26)

Unlike the experience of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, we may not see the Lord’s presence on the darkest hour of our lives. Some may be tempted to complain to the Lord while chafing under our burdens. We must avoid this temptation to condemn the Lord. The Lord asked Job “Wilt thou condemn me, that thou mayest be righteous?”(27) Such attitudes does not reflect the true form of faith. Anciently, three young women of Onitah, the direct royal descent of the loins of Ham, were offered up as the sacrifice because they defended their chastity. They said no with their lives(28). We have to realize we may not always receive God’s intervention. Too often we offer our prayer and then wait nervously to see whether our request will be granted, as though approval would provide needed evidence of His existence. That is not faith! Faith is, quite simply, a confidence in the Lord. The faith in the Lord is the premise, not the conclusion. We know He lives; therefore, we trust Him to bless us according to his divine will and wisdom. This childlike confidence in the Lord is known in scripture simply as the “sacrifice” of “a broken heart and contrite spirit”(29). Besides, unless we are filled with resolve, what will we say to the heroes and heroines of Martin’s Cove and the Sweetwater? That “we admire you, but we are reluctant to wade through our own rivers of chilling adversity”?

Jesus was alone
Moreover, criticizing against the Lord over this issue may make us forget the true meaning of become a true disciples of Jesus Christ. Consider this, when the hour of Atonement had come, he had to face it alone. All by himself! At “about the ninth hour [on the cross] Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”(30) The Savior faced the darkest hour of his life without the accompaniment of His Father. As a resurrected being we recounted His Atonement: “how exquisite you know not, yea, how hard to bear you know not… [The] suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink”(31). While bearing our sins, our sickness and our infirmities, Jesus became the Lord of the strait and narrow path. How strait and narrow minded are to complain that we are going through our trials all by ourselves!

Our suffering, His suffering
Paul said that in the mutual suffering and shared sorrow, we may enter “the fellowship of his sufferings” enough to become joint-heirs with Him(32). Let us, therefore, be like the young man with Elisha on the mount. At first intimidated by the surrounding enemy chariots, the young man’s eyes were mercifully opened, and he saw “horses and chariots of fire,” verifying “they that be with us are more than they that be with them”(33). The spiritual arithmetic has not changed! After all, Paul assured us that if we “suffer with [Christ],” and endure to the end, “the present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us”(34).

Though living in a time of commotion, we can stand in holy places and not be moved(35). Our discipleship need not be dried out by discouragement. May we emulate the faith of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and embrace the fullness of the life's purposes. And thus become smooth and polished shaft in the quiver of the Almighty(36). In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

1. 1 Ne. 13:29.
2. D&C 1:30.
3. Alma 12:24; 42:4-13; see also Abr. 3:24-25; 2 Ne. 31:15-16.
4. D&C 64:32.
5. See 1 Cor. 10:13; see also D&C 64:20.
6. Dan 3:16-18.
7. See Dan. 3:25.
8. Jacob 3:1.
9. Alma 36:3,27.
10. D&C 49:27.
11. D&C 95:1.
12. See John 14:26; D&C 36:2.
13. D&C 88:84.
14. D&C 109:22.
15. In Journal of Discourses, 11:14.
16. Moro.7:30.
17. “Abraham—Father of Abraham”, Old Testament Student Manual Genesis-2 Samuel, p.66
18. Facsimile no.1.
19. See Genesis 47.
20. See Joshua 5:13-14; Judg. 6:11.
21. See Rev. 1:10; 1 Ne. 11:1-2; Moses1:1; Exo.3:2; see JST Exo.3:2.
22. See Acts 7:55-56.
23. Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith (1976, 1983)., 54-55.
24. See JS-History 1:15-17.
25. 2 Cor. 4:8; Rom. 8:35-39.
26. 1 Pet. 5:7.
27. Job 40:8.
28. See Abr. 1:11.
29. D&C 59:8.
30. Matthrew 27:46; Mark 15:34.
31. D&C 19:15,18.
32. Phillip. 3:10.
33. 2 Kgs. 6:17, 16,
34. Rom. 8:17-18.
35. See D&C 45:32; D&C 87:8.
36. Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith [1976], 304; see also Isaiah 49:2; 1 Ne. 21:2.