The year 2020 has been a year of Great Tribulation. It is a presidential election year when the country should unite in constructive dialog to elect capable leaders who are honest and dependable; and, who will uphold and defend the Constitution. Instead, there appears to be a complete breakdown in this noble effort and between the two major parties. It is unlike any election year I have ever witnessed. The political parties seem polarized and unwilling to compromise. There appears to be a climate of hatred and complete political unrest, including strident and hateful political dialog from both major parties, and a possible effort to undermined the election process.
In addition, there are significant intervening variables that are also creating havoc and tribulation in America. And I suspect, they are all somehow related. Consider these: the current COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted our society, and it alone has claimed the lives of at least 30,000 people in America (some estimate as many as 200,000 lives); there have been federal and state restrictions imposed on attendance at church worship services and meetings; many schools throughout the nation remain closed; radical Marxist groups are successfully pushing to defund the police nationwide; violent protests and riots are destroying sections of many major American cities; thousands of businesses across the country have been vandalized and closed; in just the last three or four months more than 20 million U.S. citizens have become unemployed; and, a revolutionary Marxist organization is now sponsoring and tainting professional major league sporting events. These disturbing developments have created an atmosphere of Great Tribulation in America.
I am very frustrated and troubled about the current situation in our nation. I am most troubled by the ongoing and out of control chaos, rioting, and looting in many of our major cities. These are the seeds of anarchy and they need to be stopped.
I am also troubled about the current national election environment. The campaigning and selection process is becoming increasingly negative and misleading. And the major news outlets, which are expected to provide honest and objective coverage, have taken sides in the campaign and are only providing grossly partisan political coverage. As American citizens, we can no longer rely on traditional news outlets to get and present the truth. I believe this is a betrayal of their professional duty and I know many thousands of other citizens feel as I do.
We live in difficult times. Throughout these developments, I have asked myself, “…what more can I do?” Personally, I am striving to stay calm and will continue to obey the rule of law. I continue to trust in our God, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the rule of law, and our good leaders. Ultimately, I will cast my vote in support of the people and policies I support. In the meantime, I pray regularly to our God for His blessings upon our great country (the United States of America), and I continue to prayerfully study the Holy Scriptures and the “Come Follow Me” curriculum. I am grateful we have a living Prophet to guide us. I trust him …and, all the Brethren! I pray for their continued good health and strength, and their ability to lead in righteousness. I strive to follow their counsel and align myself with the Prophet and the Brethren. And, I seek and listen for guidance and reassurance from the Holy Spirit.
Important Point: Trust in the Lord and follow the Prophet.
Dealing with Inevitable Tribulation.
The subject of “tribulation” has been on my mind for many years, but more so this year. I do not think it is something we can ignore …nor pretend it doesn’t exist.
In the Holy Scriptures, we read that in the world, we “…shall have tribulation” (John 16:33). Search the scriptures, and you will find many references to tribulation, and in some cases to “Great Tribulation” (Rev 7:14). In this life, there are many forms of tribulation. The Topical Guide to the scriptures suggests several synonyms to tribulation: i.e., affliction, anguish, distress, grief, misery, oppression, persecution, sorrow, suffering, and trouble. Trials and tribulations will come to us all. Even the righteous will experience distress in the world. Apparently, we cannot avoid tribulation in this life.
Important Point: We will have Tribulation.
I also believe there are many levels of tribulation. It can occur both mildly at times, and more severely at other times.
As a young married man in the late 1960s, I remember experiencing mild levels of tribulation. I did not recognize them at first, but my dear wife did. She recognized my stressful situation and the events that brought on the “mild tribulation.” This was a time in my life when I was overly stressed and often very tired. My sweet wife recognized that my sense of “mild tribulation” came on when I was overly tired, very hungry, and stressed about our family finances. Her solution was to quickly resolve the conditions that brought on the stress. She knew me and was able help me overcome my “mild tribulation.” More than once, she saw me come home from work with that “troubled look in my eyes.” Each time, I was experiencing stress and “mild tribulation.” When she saw me in that condition, she clearly understand and then applied her solutions: she simply sat me down in a comfortable chair to close my eyes and rest while she prepared an excellent meal; we eat together; and then, she had me organize and pay our bills. In the end, it was like a miracle. The feelings of “mild tribulation” were gone.
I learned that if I were overly tired, hungry, and needed to work on our finances, I would become too stressed. I could easily handle all three events individually, but not all three at the same time. I needed to recognize, prioritize, and then resolve each issue. In the above case, once I was rested and fed, I was better able to handle our finances.
Of course, this was a very mild case of tribulation with a simple solution! But, it is also a very simple example of a very real but mild tribulation experience. Not all tribulation (or troubling events) are that simple. We all have our own unique “triggers” that may activate a mild form of distress or grief in us. One thing is certain, in this life troubling events will periodically occur and they will likely cause some form of tribulation. I believe mild tribulation is healthy and can motivate us to find solutions, improve, and mature. It is wise to know our personal limits, our own signs of “tribulation,” and our possible or probable solutions.
Of more significant concern are the events that cause greater tribulation. In this world, there are many causes of greater tribulation. Some of these we bring upon ourselves because of poor/bad choices and decisions. We are all human, and our choices have consequences: good and bad! Our bad choices often cause us (and others) some levels of tribulation.
There are also many other external causes of greater tribulation. These are mostly out of our control. In addition to the aforementioned ongoing crises in our country, they may include military conflicts/wars, poor health or a severe injury, death of a loved one, separation or divorce, serious concerns for our children, the stress of a significant family relocation (moving away), financial insecurity, loss of employment …and, many other events. Dealing with just one of these external causes may constitute a certain level of “tribulation,” but it is not necessarily debilitating. However, dealing with two or more of these simultaneously will likely cause much greater tribulation.
Sadly, these types of events rarely come alone (by themselves). And, multiple events or causes of distress will compound our level of tribulation. Thus, they will more likely bring additional and greater tribulation.
Finding solutions to “Greater Tribulation.”
From a spiritual perspective, not knowing or understanding God, nor His great and Eternal Plan for His children, is often the cause of great fear in this life and a lack of hope in the future. In that state of darkness, we will find our personal resilience weakened during times of tribulation.
Be assured, our loving Heavenly Father is alive and well. He loves all His children, and He has a Great and Eternal Plan for us. One of the great blessings of prayerful and personal scripture study is the comfort you gain from a better understanding of our Heavenly Father’s Great Plan of Salvation (or, the Plan of Happiness).
Also, as we read and ponder on the Holy Scriptures, learn of God, and follow the Lord, we will likely benefit from a much more significant influence of the Holy Spirit of God in our lives. With the influence and companionship of the Holy Spirit (AKA the Holy Ghost, the Comforter and/or the Revelator), we will better understand and be prepared to manage the tribulations we will experience in this life. “And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things” (Moroni 10:5). Knowing the truth will lift and comfort us.
Important Point: Our loving Heavenly Father is alive and well. He loves all His children, and He has a Great and Eternal Plan of Happiness for us.
Scripture Study will bring Peace.
The Holy Scriptures also provide specific counsel, words of wisdom, and comfort in dealing with tribulation. In the Old Testament, we learn that “when thou art in tribulation …turn to the Lord” (Deuteronomy 4:30). If we are honest and faithful to His Commandments and our Covenants, the Lord has promised He will send His Comforter (the Holy Ghost) to be with us. In the New Testament, we learn “tribulation worketh patience” (Rom. 5:3) and the Lord “comforteth us in all our tribulation” (2 Cor. 1:4). In the Doctrine & Covenants, the Lord counsels the Saints to “Be patient in tribulation until I come” (D&C 54:10).
Important Point: Immersing ourselves in regular, humble, and prayerful scripture study will bring the peace that exceeds all understanding and will comfort us during difficult times of tribulation.
One of my most comforting scriptural references is Doctrine & Covenants 101:16. At the time, the Saints in Missouri were suffering great persecution (and tribulation). Angry mobs drove them from their homes. The mobs threatened their lives. The Saints lost their homes, their furniture, their personal property, and their livestock. The Prophet Joseph Smith prayed to God for their welfare and in part received this message from the Lord “…let your hearts be comforted concerning Zion; for all flesh is in mine hands; be still and know that I am God” (D&C 101:16).
Important Point: “Be still and know that (He is) God.”
Have Faith in the Lord.
President Dallin H. Oaks has given this great counsel: “Whatever the causes of large increases in anxiety …our first line of defense is always our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. We trust in His promises of peace and in the cleansing that His atonement makes possible. Instead of being swept along in the anxiety and fear, … rely on the assurances of a loving Heavenly Father. Rely on the counsel of His loving Son, a Savior who has assured us that “if ye are prepared, ye shall not fear” (D&C 38:30). The Lord promised that in the midst of prophesied destructions and tragedies, He will protect the righteous.” President Dallin H. Oaks, “Racism and Other Challenges.”
We live in difficult times and circumstances. However, we are not forgotten by our God. I know that our Savior Jesus Christ is fully aware of our current situation. I also know that He will soon return again to a people who have been gathered and prepared to meet Him; a people who are united in Faith in Him (Moses 7:61-64).
Dear friends and loved one, I know God the Father is alive and well. He is our Heavenly Father, …the Father of our Spirits. He knows who we are. He knows our names …and our needs. He wants us to be safe and happy in this life, and He wants us to return home to Him. He loves us and He has a plan for our happiness. He will help! If you have distanced yourself from God, stop where you are and turn to Him. Do what you must to restore your fellowship with Him. Adjust your behavior, repent of your sins, and align yourself with the one true God and His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ. God will answer earnest and sincere prayers. As you pray to Him, try to listen to His message; Hear Him! And, follow your prompting. His arms are wide open. He wants you to listen, obey, and ultimately come home!
Finally, if you are interested in additional spiritual comfort during these “times of tribulation,” please click on the link below and listen to inspiring music sung by the award-winning Norwegian singer Sissel, accompanied by the Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square. This is good and beautiful advice via music for times of tribulation (or a pandemic). Please note: the lyricist’s name and the words to the song are provided below.
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“Slow Down” Lyrics
by Chuck Girard
from the album All Those Years
In the midst of my confusion
In the time of desperate need
When I am thinking not too clearly
A gentle voice does intercede
Slow down, slow down, be still
Be still and wait, on the Spirit of….the Lord
Slow down and hear His vo…….ice
And know that He ….is …God
In the time of tribulation
When I’m feeling so unsure
When things are pressing in about me
Comes a gentle voice so still, so pure
Slow down, slow down, be still
Be still and wait, on the Spirit of…….the Lord
Slow down and hear His vo…….ice
And know that He………is God
And know that He….is…God
©1974 Dunamis Music
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