And they shall overcome all things. (D&C 76:60)This verse always sort of freaked me out because when I read it, I would think to myself, I’m going to have to overcome all things? Yikes! I would begin to fear the future, worrying about what would come at me next. And it kind of gives the impression that it is all going to come all at once, as if I was a wrestler who suddenly has to fight the entire WWF and the audience too.
Today I was reading it and thinking about it and I stopped focusing on “all things” and began to focus on the “overcome” part. In doing so, I realized that two different ideas were implicit in this word:
- All things can be overcome and
- those obstacles that are overcome have an end.
And it stands to reason that we don’t have to do it all at once. We may be given a combination of trials at the same time, but it is never ALL OF THEM AT ONCE. Overcoming isn’t about breaking us; it is about strengthening and refining us.
Then I found something else.
And who overcome by faith... (D&C 76:53)This showed me that faith is how we overcome those things that we have to face. What do we have to have faith in?
Christ, of course.
Wherefore, let no man glory in man, but rather let him glory in God, who shall subdue all enemies under his feet. (D&C 76:61)
He’s got the power to do it. I really like that image of God subduing my trials and afflictions and enemies under His feet. (Stomp, stomp, stomp) He trod that winepress alone.
Maybe we need to get in a habit of giving ourselves a pep talk periodically to remind ourselves to have faith.
- You can get through this. There will be an end to it. (Just because you can’t see where that end is doesn’t mean it isn’t there. It may be closer than you ever dreamed.)
- God will help you. He hasn’t left you alone.
- If you endure, you will be a better person and will have gained valuable experience.
- In the eternal scheme of things, this will be “but a small moment”.
- It could be worse. [insert list of how it could be worse]
I didn’t know what nurses do to clean up bad scrapes. I didn’t know it would involve vigorously scrubbing the wounded area with disinfectant-saturated cloth pads
Before they started, the male nurse said, “You can have a little bit of pain now or a lot of pain later if it gets infected.”
“Right,” I said. “This is supposed to be good for me.” I knew then that he was warning me that it was going to hurt, and so I determined I was going to have a good attitude about it.
He started scrubbing the scrapes on my foot. Hard.
“This is good for me! This is good for me! I’m going to be okay!” I repeated loudly while it seemed like all the skin was being raked off my foot with rough sandpaper. The left side of my body was all tensed up and saying that seemed to help me focus on the goal rather than the pain.
I went through the same thing with my knee, my hip, and my elbow. It certainly wasn’t fun, but I was so thankful that I wasn’t hurt worse that I was more delighted than anything else.
I look back at that, and it was a small moment.
What is taking greater patience, however, is a full recovery. I didn’t know that I had bruises so deep that they would hurt for longer than it took my scrapes to scab up. Evidently it might take at least a month for my bruises to heal. I’m reminded of it every time I hoist my backpack to my right shoulder and it bangs against my right hip. I’m reminded of it as my elbow throbs a bit from lifting the backpack in the first place. I’m reminded that I need to have patience every time I accidently bump my elbow on something or raise my arm to tuck a strand of hair behind my ear. Even after four days of dealing with it I have had to keep reminding myself that I will get through it and remember how much badly I could have been hurt and remember to thank Heavenly Father for His blessings.
What I am going through is mild compared to what many others go through, but small as it is, it still is showing me that it really is those longer trials (whatever they are) that take the most faith. Sometimes it is an external trial—something that happens that you are forced to deal with. Sometimes it is an internal trial—some sort of weakness or foible or tendency or character trait or disease or addiction or temptation that you suddenly have to grapple with. But we can overcome all things through Christ.