Linda S. Reeves, Second Counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency
Contributed By By Marianne Holman, Church News staff writer
Individuals must turn to the Lord for strength and comfort when they are weighed down by the anguish, sin, adversity and pains of life, said Sister Linda S. Reeves, second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency during the General Relief Society Meeting held in the Conference Center on September 29.
“Dear sisters, our Heavenly Father and our Savior, Jesus Christ, know us and love us,” she said. “They know when we are in pain or suffering in any way. They do not say, ‘It’s OK that you’re in pain right now, because soon everything is going to be all right. You will be healed, or your husband will find a job, or your wandering child will come back.’ They feel the depth of our suffering and we can feel of Their love and compassion in our suffering.”
Sister Reeves taught that when individuals wonder if they are known by the Savior and Father in Heaven, they might remember the Savior’s words to Oliver Cowdery when he said, “If you desire a further witness, cast your mind upon the night that you cried unto me in your heart, that you might know concerning the truth of these things. Did I not speak peace to your mind concerning the matter?” (Doctrine and Covenants 6:22-23).
Sister Reeves said, “The Savior reminded Oliver that He knew every detail of that pleading prayer—and remembered—the exact time, the very night.”
Sharing a personal story of when she was a young mother with a large family and her husband became very ill with a rare disease, Sister Reeves spoke of the importance of staying close to the Savior and Heavenly Father during times of trial.
“As the weeks went by and the sicker he became, the more I became convinced that he was dying,” she said. “I told no one of my fears. We had a large, young family and a loving, eternal marriage, and the thought of losing my husband and raising my children by myself filled me with loneliness, despair and even anger.”
Sister Reeves said that her initial response to this trial was to pull away from her Heavenly Father.
“For days I quit praying; I quit planning; I cried,” she said. “I finally came to the realization that I could not do this alone. For the first time in many days, I knelt down and poured out my heart to my Father in Heaven, pleading for forgiveness for turning away from Him, telling Him all of my deepest feelings, and finally crying out that, if this was what He really wanted me to do, I would do it. I knew He must have a plan for our lives.”
As she continued to pour out her heart on her knees, Sister Reeves said that the sweetest, most peaceful, loving feeling came over her.
“It was as if a blanket of love was flowing over me. It was as if I could feel Heavenly Father saying, ‘That was all I needed to know.’ I determined never to turn away from Him again. Gradually and amazingly my husband began to get better until he made a full recovery.”
Years later, Sister Reeves and her husband were pleading with their Heavenly Father for the life of their 17-year-old daughter.
“This time the answer was no, but that same feeling of love and peace that our Savior has promised was just as powerful, and we knew that even though Heavenly Father was calling her back home, everything would be all right. We have come to know what it means to cast our burdens upon the Lord, to know that He loves us and feels compassion for us in our sorrows and pains. …
No matter the situation someone is facing, it is through turning to Heavenly Father and the Savior that people will feel and see for themselves the love they have for them—individually. It is through the Lord’s Atonement all can find comfort.
“He has not forgotten you,” she said. “Whatever sin or weakness or pain or struggle or trial you are going through, He knows and understands those very moments. He loves you! And He will carry you through those moments. … He has paid the price that He might know how to succor you. Cast your burdens upon Him. Tell your Heavenly Father how you feel. Tell Him about your pain and your afflictions, and then give them to Him. Search the scriptures daily. There you will also find great solace and help.”