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Hear, Hearken, Obey: A Pattern to Overcome Adversity

When it feels like our life is cracking under pressure, how do we continue? Sometimes the answer is to submit to the will of God.

I was 12 years old when I lost all my friends—for the second year in a row. Another move, another state. With burgeoning depression, I struggled to make friends at my new school, and suddenly video games became my only solace. Four years later, I was teetering on the brink of video game addiction. Though I wanted to stop, I couldn’t help worrying that, if I did, I’d be consigned to the hopelessness that had driven me to the habit in the first place.

"We underestimate the Lord's willingness to hear our cry, to confirm our wish, to declare that our will is not contrary to his and that his help is only there for the asking." --Jeffrey R. Holland.

Image by Ben White

With these feelings churning in my stomach, I attended a fireside one Sunday night and took notes as Al Fox Carraway talked about a difficult cross-country move she had made. As I listened, the Spirit washed over me with a clear message: You have to give up video games. 

Years later, I was reminded of this experience when I listened to a devotional by BYU’s then-President Jeffrey R. Holland. President Holland says, “Obedience is the first law of heaven, but in case you haven’t noticed, some of these commandments are not easy.” 

President Holland went on to describe Nephi’s plight when he was commanded to kill Laban (1 Nephi 4:10). In that moment of great struggle, Nephi had to decide whether he would—or even could—obey God. After all, hadn’t Nephi already suffered a lot in his struggle to be obedient? How could God yet ask something more—something like this—from him? Nevertheless, with heroic faith Nephi went, did, and obeyed, as he had promised (1 Nephi 3:7).

As a 16-year-old, I had to learn that following God’s direction is not always easy, but that doing so brings blessings. Immediately after returning from that fireside, I got rid of all my games. At the time, I didn’t know that this single decision would change my life trajectory so dramatically. But looking back, it’s easy to see how my mood improved, how I started caring more about those around me, and how I began to recognize all the opportunities to make friends that I’d previously missed. My decision also put me in the right places to receive more revelation that would ensure I was prepared to go on a mission. 

Our lives will have no shortage of trials. But God promises that if we listen to him, obey him, and trust him—even when it is far from easy—things will turn out better than we’d hoped.

 Learn more about building the faith to obey by reading President Jeffrey R. Holland’s “The Will of the Father.

Source: BYU Speeches

—Merlin Blanchard, Latter-day Saint Insights 


Find more insights 

For more on trusting in God, read Hope Jones’s article “Finding Hope for Future Blessings.”

Or, take a look at Camila Roldan’s “We Do Not Walk Alone” for more on enduring trials.

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One Comment

  1. Thank you for sharing your experience Merlin!

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