“God Can Help Us in Hard Times,” For the Strength of Youth, Mar. 2022.
I remember what it felt like when I was a teenager, living in what seemed to be hard times. There was a world war raging. Young men just a little older than me were being killed in combat. There were gang fights in nearby neighborhoods. A worldwide economic depression had not yet ended, and many people were poor. My family and I were the only Latter-day Saints in the town where we lived.
Yet, I was happy and optimistic. I had been taught, as you have been, that our trials are a potential blessing if they turn us to Heavenly Father and the Savior for help.
Trials give us the precious opportunity to choose to exercise faith. We can ask in prayer for help from Jesus Christ, who knows how to succor us. He experienced every trial we will ever face. He knows perfectly how to succor every one of us. And He loves us.
The purpose of challenges in life is to see what we will choose to do. Will we exercise the faith to keep the commandments He has given us in whatever trials we face? A loving God always does what is best for us. He may remove or lessen our test if that would strengthen our faith. Other times, He may not.
As you have studied the early lives of prophets in the Old Testament you have seen the way the Lord helps us step by step to rise through hard trials. For instance, the Lord’s way of helping Joseph and Moses taught me how to ask for and receive help in hard times.
Joseph, the beloved son of Jacob, was thrown into a pit by his brothers and then sold into slavery in Egypt. His father was told by his brothers that he had been killed. While Joseph was a slave servant, the Lord gave him the power to interpret the dreams of Pharaoh. He showed Joseph how Egypt could deal with a future famine. He gave Joseph the moral strength to resist temptation, to be released from prison, and at the age of 32 to be raised to high office by Pharaoh. Pharaoh said of Joseph, “Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is?”1
A lesson for me from the way the Lord helped Joseph is how He can help us in hard times. As Joseph kept making right choices, the Lord strengthened Joseph, gave him spiritual powers, and softened the hearts of people around him.
Likewise, the Lord’s help to Moses in his trials was similar to His help to Joseph. The trials of Moses also began in his youth. Moses was separated from his parents. His early test was to be raised by Pharaoh’s daughter. In defense of an Israelite, he killed an Egyptian and had to flee to the desert.
The Lord appeared to Moses and called him to deliver the children of Israel from bondage in Egypt. That seemingly impossible task was a test that Moses felt was beyond him. The hardest trials and tests of your life may come when you are given a task by the Lord that seems too hard and you feel that you need the help of God.
The Lord began by giving Moses the help you will need. He told Moses that it was He who would strengthen him through the tests ahead.
“I Am That I Am: and … thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I Am hath sent me unto you.”2 With that assurance, Moses gained faith and strength for the series of tests before him in his assigned task. Not only had the Lord called him but the Lord would go before his face in seemingly miraculous ways.
The hard times you and I face will be unique. No two lives are exactly the same. Trials are suited to each of us by a loving Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ. The way in which They respond to our prayers for help will be whatever is best for us. For some it may be to strengthen us, and for others it may be to give us joy as we struggle on in faith.
For all of us, the help we need most as we are tested, in whatever ways and for however long, is a vibrant faith in Jesus Christ. It was that faith which allowed Joseph to interpret dreams in Egypt. It was a sure faith in Jesus Christ that emboldened and strengthened Moses in his hard assignment to help the Lord liberate His people.
In your youth, you have already been tested by hard times, as I was. But like me, you have been taught to trust in Jesus Christ. I realize now why I felt such an optimism and even joy when I was young. It was not that I expected the times to become better or easier. It was that I felt confidence that if I would trust and serve Him, all would somehow be well.
My grandmother asked my father to sing with her on the way home from being told she would soon die of cancer: “And should we die before our journey’s through, … All is well! All is well!”3 I bear you my witness that a resurrected Jesus Christ knows how to succor each of us, whatever our trials. We need only ask with faith in Him.
Jesus Christ loves you and will help you, in all times, and according to what is best for you. I so testify, with love for you, and for Him, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.