It’s been a rough couple days all over the world this week. As I read the news and talk with my professors and classmates, I realize how thankful I am for a verse in Isaiah that has always been my favorite. I turn to it regularly, despite the fact that I have it memorized. Throughout the Bible and Book of Mormon, “fear thou not” is written countless times, but it is Isaiah 41:10 that is my favorite, and has been since I was twelve or thirteen. The Old Testament is filled with gems of strength and encouragement, and I am so very thankful for that. Isaiah has gotten me through a lot of tough times – the death of my grandmother, my step-granddad’s brain cancer, my own worries and trials, as well as events in the world that have just about broken my heart.
I hesitated writing anything about Boston, but realized that perhaps someone needed this verse as much as I do. The city is close to my heart for many reasons. When I saw the news, I nearly burst into tears, fearing for my friends. The majority of my classmates are runners, and a lot of the dreamed of running the Boston Marathon. There are marathon runners in my ward, and even in my mom’s quilting guild who run the Marathon every year. I had no idea who was safe, or what was happening. I mourned – and still am – the loss of lives and the pain that the city and her people are in. I turned immediately Isaiah, looking for comfort in the familiar words. There is nothing more comforting to me than the Lord saying, “I am with thee” or “I am in thy midst.”
Everything going on in the world – in Boston, Texas, Syria, Bahrain, Kenya, Somalia, and countless other nations – can make me feel at times very small, alone, and helpless. There is always the thought of “what next?” or “is my family safe?” at the back of my mind. Some things hit harder than others, which is to be expected. The simple phrase “I am with thee” means so much at those moments of fear and anxiety, to know that despite all that’s happening around us, God is there. He is aware of us, He is watching over us.
Elder Quentin L. Cook’s most recent conference address, “Personal Peace: The Reward of Righteousness” has proved to be a great source of strength of late. When he first gave it during General Conference, it wasn’t but a minute or so in when I burst into tears. He spoke of things that have always effected me very deeply, and although I was frustrated that I was crying so hard (when those around me seemed to be dry eyed) as he spoke of Sandy Hook and of 9/11, I realize and know everything he said is so true. Peace can be found in the midst of turmoil and tragedy, as the world seems to become darker with violence, immorality, and uncertainty. Christ is the answer, and always has been. He always will be.
Elder Cook said in his talk, “We all long for peace. Peace is not just safety or lack of war, violence, conflict, and contention. Peace comes from knowing that the Savior knows who we are and knows that we have faith in Him, love Him, and keep His commandments, even and especially amid life’s devastating trials and tragedies.”
It all comes down to having faith in Heavenly Father and in the Savior in the midst of the turmoil, because that’s what will get us all through.
Another great talk is Elder Bruce D. Porter’s “Beautiful Mornings,” – his message is one of hope and faith in the future. I definitely recommend it.