Today I'd like to share a small part of a special BYU Women's Conference 2009 address by Sandra Rogers called In the Strength of the Lord.
"Mortality is like taking a very difficult final examination in the most important course of your degree program, with people yelling obscenities in one ear and whispering sweet nothings in the other, kicking your shins, poking their fingers in your eyes, turning the lights on and off, making the room either blazing hot or freezing cold, telling you that you’ll never succeed and should not even try, and playing your least favorite music loudly in the background. Mortality, with its normal losses, sorrows, sicknesses, disappointments, torments, weeds, mistakes, errors, sins, and other afflictions would be a reasonable test in and of itself. But throw in Satan and his minions and now we have a test of faith and obedience that will ensure the Lord knows what we are made of. You know this is true because you’re out there taking mortality’s exams.
But there is another, even greater truth. And that is the message of this Women’s Conference. During all this testing and trying in mortality, remember what we rejoiced about in the Council in Heaven. We have a perfect friend beside us to buoy us up; to steady our feet; to put starch in our feeble knees; to enlighten our minds; to lead us, guide us, and walk beside us; to bear our burdens and our griefs; to take our stripes when we have been in error; to 'take our lickin’' for us when we have sinned; to face the bullies with us; to wipe our fevered brow in sickness; to mourn with us when we lose the people we love the most—and the things we probably shouldn’t have loved so much; to steady us when the job is lost; to reassure us when our hearts are troubled or sore afraid or lonely; to ease our pain; to stand with us when we have been falsely accused; to carry us when we are tired and weary; and to comfort us through a betrayal of trust. We have a Savior and a Redeemer. When we rely on His strength we can ride out the storm, complete the test, fight the good fight, finish the course, and keep the faith (see 2 Timothy 4:7)."
"At a time when chaos and confusion encircle us, when disappointments and pressures mount, when even our strictest obedience doesn’t seem to be rewarded in the ways we might have hoped, we can be assured that through the Atonement of Christ we can endure well all that we face, and come off more refined in Christ’s image, more true in our discipleship, and more content in our hearts."
Sandra Rogers, In the Strength of the Lord
I am so grateful for my Savior, my perfect friend, who is always beside me, who does all of these things Sister Rogers listed and more. There is not one of us in this life who is not hit by pain or tragedy of some kind, so there is not one of us who does not need his friendship and pure love. I know that our Heavenly Father's plan is perfect and that he knows what we struggle with every minute and he never leaves us alone to wander through this life. I am grateful that through the Atonement, I can be forgiven and also uplifted from my current state to progress upward, and that through the Atonement I can become "more refined in Christ's image". That, to me, is a beautiful thought.