JERRY M. GOWE
Peace and good tidings are the ultimate blessings that the gospel of Jesus Christ brings a troubled world and the troubled people who live in it, said Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
In his address in the Sunday afternoon session of the 166th Semiannual General Conference, Elder Holland said members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are blessed to be able to hear inspired teachings from a prophet of the Lord.
“A general conference of the church is a remarkable occasion indeed –an institutional declaration that the heavens are open, that divine guidance is as real today as it was for the ancient House of Israel, that God our Heavenly Father loves us and speaks His will through a living prophet,” Elder Holland said.
Elder Holland said Christ’s merciful promise of peace in this world inspires members to give thanks for the restoration of His true and living church, but there are times in life when every member searches for this peace.
“But there are times in all of our lives when deep sorrow or suffering or fear or loneliness makes us cry out for the peace which only God can bring. These are times of piercing spiritual hunger when even the dearest friends cannot fully come to your aid,” Elder Holland said.
There are many members in the world that worry about their health or their happiness or their faithfulness in keeping the commandments, he said.
“Sometimes only then do the rest of us realize they feel near the end of their strength — tired in brain and body and heart, wondering if they will get through another week or another day or sometimes just another hour,” Elder Holland said. “They are desperate for the Lord’s help and know that in such times of extremity nothing else will do.”
Elder Holland said there is help available.
“The Lord is equally fervent in trying to reach you, that when there is trouble His hopes and His striving and His efforts greatly exceed our own and it never ceases. We have been promised, ‘He that keepeth [us] will not slumber … nor [will he] sleep,'” Elder Holland said. “Christ and His angels forever labor to buoy up our spirits, steady our nerves, calm our hearts, and send us forth with renewed strength and resolute hope.”
Elder Holland said members can change and make a greater effort in gospel living through repentance.
“The very beauty of the word ‘repentance’ is the promise of escaping old problems and old habits and old sorrows and old sins,” Elder Holland said. “It is among the most hopeful and encouraging — and yes, most peaceful — words in the gospel vocabulary.”
The first pressure members feel when being drawn to the “bosom of God” is repentance, Elder Holland said.
“For real peace may I recommend an immediate rush toward the bosom of God, leaving behind all that would bring sorrow to your soul or heartache to those who love you,” Elder Holland said.
Elder Holland said it is equally important to forgive others and resist the longing to remember offenses they have caused.
“Life is too short to be spent nursing animosities or in keeping a box score of offenses against us — you know, no runs, no hits, all errors. We don’t want God to remember our sins, so there is something fundamentally wrong in our relentlessly trying to remember those of others,” Elder Holland said.
Elder Holland said life has its moments when uninterrupted peace may seem to elude members. However, members should remember that life without problems or limitations or challenges would be less rewarding.
“I know that in times of fear or fatigue ‘they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint,'” Holland said.