by Josh Squire
What a time to be alive! It seems that calamities and disasters are occurring with increasing frequency and intensity not just year by year, but almost day by day. Sickness, natural disasters, famines, and pestilence are ferocious in their scope. Human brutalities against one another are merciless, evil, and depraved. Unchecked appetites are leading to immorality, crime, and the decay of the family in astonishing proportions.
We have long been warned of the great calamities that shall precede the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. In Matthew 24 we read:
6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.
10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.
11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.
12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
Does this hit a little too close to home right now? It feels like we could check off every one of these warnings or “signs of the times” from just the last few months. Even more than the wars, and rumours of wars, the pestilences, famines, and earthquakes; I fear the prophecies from verses 10 and 12. Many shall be offended, shall betray one another, and shall hate one another and because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. Knowing that the two great commandments are to love God and love ALL others as we love ourselves, this is something that should concern us all.
From the same discussion about the time preceding Christ’s second coming, Luke recorded in Chapter 21 (JST):
24 … And then his disciples asked him, saying, Master, tell us concerning thy coming?
25 And he answered them, and said, In the generation in which the times of the Gentiles shall be fulfilled, there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations with perplexity, like the sea and the waves roaring. The earth also shall be troubled, and the waters of the great deep;
26 Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth. For the powers of heaven shall be shaken.
How do we keep our heart from failing us during these challenging times? As I have pondered on this question over the last several weeks, I have come to two conclusions.
First, we must look to our Savior, Jesus Christ. He who “descended below all things…that he might be in all and through all things, the light of truth.” (D&C 88:6) As we turn our minds and hearts to Him who knows the end from the beginning, who knows and has felt every pain, every anxiety, every anguish we will ever face; we will be able to find “hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God.” (Ether 12:4) An eternal perspective will surely help us to face these severe, but temporary trials we are facing.
Second, we must not let our hearts turn to hate, we must not let our love for God, or our brothers and sisters grow cold. We can disagree with other people without being offended or turning to feelings of hate. The best way I have found to develop a love for others, especially those who have been more difficult for me to love, is to serve them. Losing ourselves in Christlike service provides two amazing reliefs to the broken heart. First, it helps us to see others as Christ sees them and when we have our eyes opened to that we can begin to love them as Christ loves them. Second, we gain a larger perspective on our own trials and problems. A great miracle of Christ is that the more we try to lift another’s burden, the lighter our own burdens feel.
In this time when it is so easy to despair and to let hate and anger dominate our hearts, if we will turn to the Master Healer, he will fill our hearts with hope and love. Once He has taken over our hearts, they will not fail us, and we can share that hope and love with all around us. Imagine the world we could have then.