Thursday, March 16, 2017

President Ezra Taft Benson on overcoming fear by trusting in God

President Ezra Taft Benson (1899-1994) was called to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 1943, and served as the 13th President of the Church from 1985 until his death in 1994 at age 94.
"Yes, God is at the helm, my brothers and sisters. I know it, and you know it. Surely no group in all the world has greater evidence of that fact than do the Latter-day Saints. Even during the days of persecution and hardship, the Lord has continually encouraged us to trust in him, to keep his commandments, to do that which is right and then be unafraid.
"We live in a world of fear today. Fear seems to be almost everywhere present. But there is no place for fear among the Latter-day Saints, among men and women who keep the commandments, who place their trust in the Almighty, who are not afraid to get down on their knees and pray to our heavenly Father....
"So among the Latter-day Saints, particularly, there should be no fears, even in a world where many people are concerned about atom bombs, the hydrogen bomb; where many are fearing Communism and some are talking fearfully of a depression. There need be no fear in the hearts of Latter-day Saints. People who live the gospel, who keep the commandments, who trust in God and do that which is right, need never fear because God speaks peace to the honest in heart through his Spirit....
"So, my brethren and sisters, there may come persecution; there may come opposition; there may come reverses; there may come criticism and misrepresentation. Your motives may be questioned. You may be attacked. But if we place our trust in the Almighty and do that which is right, there will come an inner assurance, an inner calm, a peace that will bring joy and happiness to our souls."
- Ezra Taft Benson, "Trust in God and Do the Right," Conference Report, April 1954, pp. 56-59
Click here to read the full talk

Many people live in fear of the challenges of their world. In the times when President Benson shared these remarks, some 63 years ago, the fears were somewhat different from the ones we have today. But they were just as real to that generation as our time, when they are perhaps replaced by terrorism and violence, natural disasters, impacts of drugs and pornography, disintegrating families, moral challenges, economic uncertainty, etc.

But the key message never changes; fear is overcome by faith. For those who know God and trust in Him and in His promises, there is no need to fear. The key is "the Lord has continually encouraged us to trust in him, to keep his commandments, to do that which is right and then be unafraid."

So while there may be temporary setbacks and challenges along the path, we can face them with "an inner calm" in knowing God is in charge. That confidence truly will "bring joy and happiness to our souls."

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