By Elder Hans T. Boom, The Netherlands
The day we made our covenants with the Lord by getting baptized was a joyful day. At that moment we decided to grab hold of the iron rod and start on our homeward journey.
Throughout our journey we are often hindered by the mist mentioned in Lehi’s vision (1 Nephi 8:23). This mist consists of the temptations of the devil, but it can also be comprised of unexpected life events, such as an illness or the loss of a loved one, a wayward child, a disrupted relationship, unemployment, or doubts about certain gospel matters.
And then there is the spacious building from which many voices are heard encouraging us to let go of the iron rod and leave the path. These voices tell us that a life without covenants will make us happy. They tell us that the prophets of old and our modern-day prophets are wrong and that there will be no redemption. Or, in other words, these voices encourage us to live according to the standards of the world.
The gospel of Jesus Christ has always been an anchor in my life. When I was young, I was beset by hay fever and asthma, which meant I was often gasping for breath. I would ask my Heavenly Father to give me some air, and He answered my prayers. I had other experiences as a child where I felt the blessings of the Lord, such as with my father’s serious illness and my mother’s complicated labor and delivery. These and many later experiences helped develop and strengthen my faith. Because of my life experiences I can now say that I know that “whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day” (Alma 36:3).
We can do several things that will help us hold on to the iron rod and stay strong in the faith:
1. “Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day.” (Alma 37:37).
2. Read and ponder the standard works of the Church and the words of the modern prophets. God promises to help us if we do this every day. When we study the scriptures faithfully, we will have the companionship of the Holy Ghost (see the words of President Henry B. Eyring in the May 2004 Liahona). When we prayerfully study the scriptures, the answer may not come directly through the printed word. But as we read we may receive clear impressions and promptings and, as promised, the Holy Ghost will “show unto you all things what ye should do.” (2 Nephi 32:5).
3. “Hold fast to what you already know and stand strong until additional knowledge comes.”
(Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, General Conference, April 2013).
In those moments of mist in your life, when it is difficult to hold onto the iron rod, think of the hymn, "True to the Faith":
True to the faith that our parents have cherished,
True to the truth for which martyrs have perished,
To God's command,
Soul, heart, and hand,
Faithful and true we will ever stand.
Being true to the faith means that our life is deeply rooted in the gospel soil, that we keep the commandments, humbly serve our neighbors, and keep our covenants. Living this way will give us peace in times of mist, and we will be able to keep holding on to the iron rod which leads us back to God’s love, where we can enjoy eternal life.
Let us help each other keep a firm hold on the iron rod and invite others to follow the same path. In staying strong in the faith we will find our greatest joy and peace.