Adapted from an April 1994 general conference address.The surest, most effective, and shortest path to healing comes through application of the teachings of Jesus Christ in your life.
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Oh, how we all need the healing the Redeemer can provide. Mine is a message of hope for you who yearn for relief from heavy burdens that have come through no conscious act of your own while you have lived a worthy life. It is based on principles embodied in the teachings of the Savior. Your challenge may be a serious physical disability, a struggle with lingering illness, or a daily wrestle with a life-threatening disease. It may have roots in the death of a loved one, the anguish caused by another bound by sin, or come from abuse in any of its evil forms. Whatever the cause, I testify that lasting relief is available on conditions established by the Lord.
The key to healing
Help from the Lord always follows eternal law. The better you understand that law, the easier it is to receive His help. Some of the principles upon which His healing is predicated follow.
It is important to understand that His healing can mean being cured, or having your burdens eased, or even coming to realize that it is worth it to endure to the end patiently, for God needs brave sons and daughters who are willing to be polished when in His wisdom that is His will.
Recognize that some challenges in life will not be resolved here on earth. Paul pled thrice that “a thorn in the flesh” be removed. The Lord simply answered, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:7, 9). He gave Paul strength to compensate so he could live a most meaningful life. He wants you to learn how to be cured when that is His will and how to obtain strength to live with your challenge when He intends it to be an instrument for growth. In either case the Redeemer will support you. That is why He said, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; … For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:29–30).
When you feel you can do no more, temporarily lay your challenges at His feet. The scriptures tell you how. For example, when the oppressed people of Alma “did pour out their hearts to him; and he did know the thoughts of their hearts,” the Lord blessed them, saying:
“I will … ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that … you cannot feel them, … that ye may know … that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions.
“And … the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord” (Mosiah 24:12, 14–15).
Submitting “cheerfully and with patience” to all His will lets you learn precious if difficult lessons and eternal truths that will yield blessings (see Jacob 4:10).
The example of Alma and Amulek is enlightening. While striving to do good among the people of Ammonihah, they were taken captive. Amulek trusted his more seasoned companion, Alma, who led him to greater confidence in the Lord. Forced to observe women and children consumed by fire, Amulek said, “Perhaps they will burn us also.” Alma answered, “Be it according to the will of the Lord”—a vital principle. “But … our work is not finished; therefore they burn us not” (Alma 14:12–13).
The chief judge and others over many days smote, spit upon, starved, questioned, and harassed them with mocking words and threats. Though commanded to speak, they withstood, bound and naked, in silence waiting patiently for the Lord to inspire them to act. Then “the power of God was upon Alma and Amulek, and they rose.” Alma cried, “Give us strength according to our faith which is in Christ, even unto deliverance. And they broke the cords with which they were bound” (Alma 14:15, 19, 24–26). The earth shook; the prison walls were rent. All who smote Alma and Amulek were slain, and they were freed. On another occasion Alma prayed, “O Lord … have mercy on this man, and heal him according to his faith which is in Christ” (Alma 15:10).
These two examples give the essential key to healing. The Lord will give relief with divine power when you seek deliverance in humility and faith in Jesus Christ.
Trust the Lord
Don’t say, “No one understands me; I can’t sort it out, or get the help I need.” Those comments are self-defeating. No one can help you without faith and effort on your part. Your personal growth requires that. Don’t look for a life virtually free from discomfort, pain, pressure, challenge, or grief, for those are the tools a loving Father uses to stimulate our personal growth and understanding. As the scriptures repeatedly affirm, you will be helped as you exercise faith in Jesus Christ (see Enos 1:15–18). That faith is demonstrated by a willingness to trust His promises given through His prophets and in His scriptures, which contain His own words. You may not fully understand how to do this yet, but trust that He will help you use your agency to open the doors for His healing to occur. Faith in Christ means we trust Him; we trust His teachings. That leads to hope, and hope brings charity, the pure love of Christ—that peaceful feeling that comes when we sense His concern, His love, and His capacity to cure us or to ease our burdens with His healing power.
Is there a potentially destructive pattern in your life? When discouraged do you feel overwhelmed and in desperation seek for others to solve your problems, overlooking your own capacity to make much improvement? Do you understand the necessity to do what you can so that the Lord can do what He will to help you?
What you can do
Your access to the Savior’s help comes in different ways. The most direct and often the most powerful way is through humble, trusting prayers to your Father in Heaven, which are answered through the Holy Ghost to your spirit (see Hel. 3:35). Yet this help is sometimes difficult to initiate and hard to recognize when you are learning how to pray with faith. If so, begin elsewhere. Trust someone near to you; then as you learn, that trust will extend to God and His healing. Begin with a friend or bishop who understands the teachings of the Savior. Often they have personally obtained healing through application of truth with faith in the Redeemer. They can show you how. Or start by reading, pondering, and applying the teachings of the scriptures. They are a very powerful source of assistance. While examples and anecdotes will help to understand principle, you will find that power comes from scriptural doctrine, as these quotes illustrate:
“I see that your faith is sufficient that I should heal you” (3 Ne. 17:8).
“Come unto me with full purpose of heart” (3 Ne. 18:32).
“Return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you” (3 Ne. 9:13).
“Turn to the Lord with full purpose of heart, and put your trust in him, and serve him with all diligence of mind, [and] if ye do this, he will, according to his own will and pleasure, deliver you out of bondage” (Mosiah 7:33).
Even if they had unlimited time and resources, which they don’t, priesthood leaders could not provide all of the help. They are agents of the Lord, and His law requires that you do your part. They will show you the way. They can provide priesthood blessings. Your faith, purity, and obedience and that of the priesthood holder have great effect on the pronouncement and realization of the blessing. Healing can occur in the act, yet more often it occurs over a period of time determined by the faith and obedience of the individual and the will of the Lord. I feel that the pace is generally set by the individual, not by the Lord. He expects you to use other resources available, including competent professional help when indicated; then He provides the balance needed according to His will.
God’s love heals
Love is a potent healer. Realizing that, Satan would separate you from the power of the love of God, kindred, and friends who want to help. He would lead you to feel that the walls are pressing in around you and there is no escape or relief. He wants you to believe you lack the capacity to help yourself and that no one else is really interested. If he succeeds, you will be driven to further despair and heartache. His strategy is to have you think you are not appreciated, loved, or wanted so that you, in despair, will turn to self-criticism, and in the extreme even to despising yourself and feeling evil when you are not. Remember the wisdom of the Lord “is greater than the cunning of the devil” (D&C 10:43). If you have such thoughts, break through those helpless feelings by reaching out in love to another in need. That may sound cruel and unfeeling when you long so much for healing, but it is based upon truth. Paul taught, “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2).
Love comes by learning how to give it to another in a spirit of trust. If you feel deprived of love, that is difficult. Yet sustained concern and support of others will engender their interest and love. You will feel needed. You become an instrument through which the Lord can bless another. The Spirit will let you feel the Savior’s concern and interest, then the warmth and strength of His love. President Spencer W. Kimball said: “God does notice us, and he watches over us. But it is usually through another mortal that he meets our needs. Therefore, it is vital that we serve each other” (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, 252).
Faith in Jesus Christ
Challenge comes as testing from a wise, knowing Father to give experience, that we may be seasoned, mature, and grow in understanding and application of His truths. When you are worthy, a challenge becomes a contribution to growth, not a barrier to it. Yet no matter what the source of difficulty and no matter how you begin to obtain relief—through a qualified professional therapist, doctor, priesthood leader, friend, concerned parent, or loved one—no matter how you begin, those solutions will never provide a complete answer. The final healing comes through faith in Jesus Christ and His teachings, with a broken heart and a contrite spirit and obedience to His commandments. That is why human reaction to challenge in life that engenders hatred, despondency, distrust, anger, or revenge must be supplanted by the tender mercies of a loving Father in Heaven and His Beloved Son.
When anguish comes from evil acts of others, there should be punishment and corrective action taken, but the offended is not the one to initiate that action. Leave it to others who have that responsibility. Learn to forgive; though terribly hard, it will release you and open the way to a newness of life. Time devoted by one injured to ensure the offender is punished is time wasted in the healing process.
In summary, do what you can do a step at a time. Seek to understand the principles of healing from the scriptures and through prayer. Help others. Forgive. “Submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord” (Mosiah 24:15). Above all, exercise faith in Jesus Christ.
I testify that the surest, most effective, and shortest path to healing comes through application of the teachings of Jesus Christ in your life. It begins with an understanding of and appreciation for the principles of moral agency and the Atonement of Jesus Christ. It leads to faith in Him and obedience to His commandments, and that brings healing.
If you are caught on a plateau of spiritual healing and don’t seem to be making progress, if you seem to be constantly dependent on another mortal for support, look up in faith to Jesus Christ. I know that the Master loves you and will heal you according to your faith in Him.