After the miraculous feeding of the five thousand, Jesus offered the wonderful sermon about the Bread of Life. He pointed out that many followed Him not because of the message, “but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.”1 For this reason, He explained that He was the true Bread of Life and that temporal blessings received in this life, even in a miraculous way, would not save them: “Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.” 2
The impact of His message was such that, “From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.”
Observing this reaction, Jesus looked upon the Twelve, who were with Him, and asked: “Will ye also go away?” Peter immediately took responsibility, stepped forward and in representation of what everyone felt, exclaimed: “Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life.”4
All of us have gone and will yet go through difficult situations in our lives, where our expectations won’t find a correlation to our current reality.
There will be times when you may feel tired, disappointed, discouraged, or empty. Furthermore, perhaps there will be a time when we might think like those of old, “It is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the Lord of hosts?.” 5
These are the moments when we kneel and cry out:
“Where can I turn for peace?
Where is my solace
When other sources cease to make me whole?
When with a wounded heart, anger, or malice,
I draw myself apart,
Searching my soul?” 6
Let me share with you some principles that if understood will help us endure as we look ahead to better times.
The purpose of this life. President Russell M. Nelson has reminded us that, “The joy we feel has little to do with the circumstances of our lives and everything to do with the focus of our lives.” 7
Never lose focus that this earth, upon which we live, was created and prepared for us in order to carry out the Plan of Salvation: “And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them” 8 despite the circumstantial challenges of life. On the other hand, as explained to the Prophet Joseph Smith, “all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.” 9. Trials are difficult by nature. By understanding this, we come to recognize that it is not that there is something wrong with us, but that we are fulfilling the very purpose for which we are here.
Never jump out of a boat in the middle of a storm. Imagine for a moment that you are on a boat crossing through a very strong storm in the middle of the ocean. Imagine that, “the tempest is raging! The billows are tossing high! The sky is overshadowed with blackness. No shelter or help is nigh.”10 I am sure that many impressions and feelings would come to your mind, but to jump out of the boat would not be one of them. The boat of the gospel will always offer us protection and shelter in the midst of the storms of life.
Hold on to the faith and knowledge you already have. King Benjamin exhorted us to believe in God, to believe that He has all wisdom and all power, and to believe that, “man doth not comprehend all the things that which the Lord can comprehend.”11 In a way, the understanding of our ignorance should be part of our testimony.
As part of this mortal experience, we do not have immediate answers to all circumstantial questions in life. Therefore, “hold fast to what you already know and stand strong until additional knowledge comes”.12
The things we do know are more important and powerful than the things we may not quite understand yet.
It is my prayer that by embracing these principles, we can repeatedly say like Peter, “Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life.” 13
1 John 6:26.
2 John 6:49.
3 John 6:66.
4 John 6: 67-68.
5 Malachi 3:14.
6 Hymn 129, Where Can I Turn for Peace?
7 President Russell M. Nelson, “Joy and Spiritual Survival,” General Conference Oct 2016.
8 Abraham 3:25.
9 D&C 122: 7.
10 Hymn 105. Master, the Tempest Is Raging
11 Mosiah 4: 9.
12 Elder Jeffrey R. Holland. “Lord, I Believe” April 2013
13 John 6:67-68