Trust in the Lord by Dallin H. Oaks
Content by Jamie Forsyth
Trust in the Lord. Four simple words that roll off the tongue almost effortlessly when we want to offer someone encouragement. It is the answer for questions we are wrestling with, the admonishment for trials we are struggling with, and assurance for the times when our faith and patience is stretched thin. What does it look like to actively put our trust in the Lord?
President Oaks chose to demonstrate the teaching of “trusting in the Lord” by expounding on the doctrine of conditions in the spirit world. He reminded us that all spirits in the spirit world are in some form of bondage. The righteous are bound by the separation of their spirit from their physical body, while the wicked are bound by their un-repented-of sins. The scriptures teach us of many people who knew what it was like to be in bondage. The Israelites were in bondage to the Egyptians, the people of Alma were slaves to the Lamanites, and countless individuals in the New Testament were bound by their doubts, infirmities, fears and mistakes. How did all of these people obtain their freedom? Each and every one of them chose to exercise “trust in the Lord.” The Israelites marked their doors with sacrificial blood. The people of Alma, when threatened with death for praying, still continued to pour out their hearts to God continually. The woman with the issue of blood, against all odds, reached out to Christ.
President Oaks suggested an answer for questions we have about the spirit world, but I believe his suggestion holds true for all of our questions. He said, “…remember that God loves His children and will surely do what is best for each of us.” In our doubts and struggles, we should remember the assurances God has already given us. Whether those assurances come from scripture stories, family history, or in our own personal life, we can rely on His promises. If He delivered the Israelites from bondage, He can deliver us from addictions and sorrows. If He strengthened the people of Alma, He can strengthen us, through covenants, to bear up our physical, emotional, and spiritual burdens.
Romans 4:18-21 reminds us that even Father Abraham “against hope believed in hope. Being fully persuaded that, what he had promised he was able also to perform.” No matter what our concerns, whether it is family arrangements in the eternities, family problems here in mortal life, questions about doctrine, or a myriad of other worries that may cause us distress, trusting in His love and remembering His assurances builds our confidence in His ability to perform all that He has promised.
Learning the principle of trusting in the Lord requires that we remain unable, for now, to see the beginning from the end. Some of us may find ourselves in the “murky middle” of a trial that could end tomorrow or last for the rest of our mortal lives. It is in these sacred places that trust in the Lord is formed. It is formed every time we partake of the sacrament, trusting in His atoning blood; every time we offer a prayer, out loud or in our hearts, trusting in His will; each time we use our last bit of strength to reach for Him, trusting we will be made whole. What if it takes twelve years? What if it takes a lifetime? Will we maintain our trust in Him, the author and finisher of our faith?
I AM STATEMENT
I am trusting in God’s love for me, and the assurances He has given me.
“Being fully persuaded that, what He has promised, He is also able to perform.”
FAITH IN ACTION
Spend some time this week reading an old journal. It could be a personal journal or the journal of one your ancestors. Look for times you or your ancestors demonstrated trust in the Lord. Find a time in your life when you received a personal assurance by exercising trust in Him, and make sure that experience is recorded!
President Oaks said, "The duty of each of us is to teach the doctrine of the restored gospel, keep the commandments, love and help one another, and do the work of salvation in the holy temples." Pray about which of these responsibilities will most help those you minister to. You could spend some time together studying church doctrine-you could find a way to show your love through service, or you could spend some time together in the temple. As you seek revelation through the spirit you will be guided to know what will be most beneficial in the lives of those you minister to.
1 Peter 3:18-22 teaches of Christ preaching to the spirits in prison. This scripture is cross referenced with D&C 138 which is the account of Joseph F. Smith’s vision “concerning the Savior’s visit to the spirits of the dead while His (Christ’s) body was in the tomb.” As we study this doctrine, we can look to President Oaks’ counsel: “We can all wonder privately about circumstances in the spirit world or even discuss these or other unanswered questions in family or other intimate settings. But let us not teach or use as official doctrine what does not meet the standards of official doctrine.”
President Oaks reminds us, “Our canon of scripture contains very little about the spirit world that follows death and precedes the Final Judgment.” As we encounter questions we may not be able to find answers to immediately, let us remember to trust in the Lord and in His love for His children.
Exhibiting trust in the Lord can mean visiting unknown territory. It can be scary to walk unfamiliar paths, hope for a miracle, or search for answers. Place this image somewhere you will see it often this week. Use it as a reminder to have courage when you find yourself on an unfamiliar path, and to trust in the One who can see all things-no matter how dark or foggy the road.