The Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ is the heart and core and center of revealed religion.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie Christ and the Creation

Regarding trials, including of our faith and patience, there are no exemptions—only variations (see Mosiah 23:21). These calisthenics are designed to increase our capacity for happiness and service. Yet the faithful will not be totally immune from the events on this planet. Thus the courageous attitudes of imperiled Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego are worthy of emulation. They knew that God could rescue them. “But if not,” they vowed, they would still serve God anyway (see Daniel 3:16–18). Similarly, keeping the unfashionable but imperative first and seventh commandments can reflect the courage which three young women displayed anciently; they said no with their lives (see Abraham 1:11).

Therefore, we can be troubled on every side, but nothing can really separate us from the love of Christ (see 2 Corinthians 4:8; Romans 8:35–39); worldly anxieties are not part of being “anxiously engaged” (Doctrine and Covenants 58:27). Even so, as Peter urged, we can and should cast our cares upon the Lord, because He surely cares for us! (see 1 Peter 5:7). Oh, brothers and sisters, the awaiting emancipation of such trusting surrender!

As to remedying our personal mistakes, we face no hindering traffic jams on the road of repentance. It is a toll road, not a freeway, and applying Christ’s Atonement will speed us along.

There may need to be plain-speaking Jethros in our lives to stretch us (see Exodus 18:14–24) or moments of stark realization, as with the original Twelve, who rightly concluded: “Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life” (John 6:68).

Besides, unless we are filled with resolve, what will we say to the heroes and heroines of Martin’s Cove and the Sweetwater? That “we admire you, but we are reluctant to wade through our own rivers of chilling adversity”?

Brothers and sisters, by divine appointment, “these are [our] days” (Helaman 7:9), since “all things must come to pass in their time” (Doctrine and Covenants 64:32). Moreover, though we live in a failing world, we have not been sent here to fail.

Elder Neal A. Maxwell
Encircled in the Arms of His Love,” Ensign, Nov 2002, 16

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