Emily Belle Freeman
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THIS IS MY JOY

AND MY GREAT REJOICING

If You are In a Time of Trial

It was just after a stirring rendition of Called to Serve this morning in early morning seminary. It was just before the prayer.

She closed the hymnbook slowly, looked down at her feet, and then glanced toward me, "Can I say something, just quick?"

I nodded my head from behind the piano, sitting there on the bench with Called to Serve still open in front of me and this girl holding the hymnbook right there by her heart.

"Can I ask you all for a favor?" She asked.

Then she looked at us, each one of us, before continuing.

Eyes pleading before words could even begin.

I saw her hair pulled back tight in a pony tail, bangs curling across her forehead.  Her jacket still on from the cold outside that had followed her right into the room.

But what I noticed most were her eyes.

"It's my 8-month old cousin who is on the point of death," she said.  Now the pleading in her eyes came out in a rush of words, "Could we pray for her?  Could you all remember her in your prayers, every one?"  It was her heart that was begging, even though it was spilling out through her words.

"What is her name?" I asked.

"It's Kaitlyn."

My mother heart broke in that instant for baby Kaitlyn's mother.

I thought of her there, in that moment, as she sat next to a small hospital bed, hoping.

I wondered if she knew that somewhere miles from where she sat 16 students and one teacher prayed for Kaitlyn.

In that moment.

And, in that moment, I wonder if she felt unexpectedly strengthened and encouraged for just a little bit.

Oh, how I wish our hearts joined together in prayer could offer her strength and encouragement.

Even if it was for just one small moment.

The heading for D&C 24 explains that the following three revelations were given to strengthen, encourage, and instruct.

Within the verses I was reminded of three important truths that can help us find strength, courage, and instruction in our own times of adversity.

The first truth is found in D&C 24:8.

This is a truth that is taught through every standard work, beginning with the very first chapters of the Bible. It is a principle that has given me strength to get through the very worst days.

The Lord does not just watch us go through adversity, He is there with us.

He is there with us.

"Be patient in affliction, for thou shalt have many; but endure them, for, lo, I am with thee, even to the end of thy days." (See also Deuteronomy 2:7)

Strength comes to my heart when I realize that the Lord is not just aware of my affliction, but that He is there with me, helping me to endure.

The second truth is found in D&C 25:5.

"And the office of thy calling shall be for a comfort unto my servant...in his afflictions, with consoling words, in the spirit of meekness."

If you are submersed in a trial that seems to overcome you, serve someone else.

I know that seems like unrealistic, impossible, and maybe even unwanted advice.  But it is true.  During the hardest moments of my life, serving someone else offered a healing balm that could come in no other way.

It is as we encourage each other that we find courage.

It is as we live our covenants that we find comfort.

The third truth is found in D&C 26:1.

"Let your time be devoted to the studying of the scriptures..."

It is within those pages that we find the strength, the courage, and the instruction to make it through.

This, I know.

Of this, I am absolutely certain.

Several times today my memory has filled with a young girl holding a hymnbook next to her heart pleading.

The image has reminded me to pray.

For Kaitlyn.

But the memory has also filled my thoughts with those who are struggling.

I am reminded of the words to the hymn we sang in seminary this morning, a hymn that we are asked to sing with conviction...

Onward, ever onward. Forward, pressing forward.

God our strength will be...

If you happen to be in a moment of great adversity, perhaps you could cling to those three truths for the next few days or weeks.

Then press forward.

God will be your strength.

 

 

Emily Freeman