"Rarely in the future will it be easy or popular to be a faithful Latter-day Saint. Each of us will be tested. The Apostle Paul warned that in the latter days, those who diligently follow the Lord “shall suffer persecution.”12 That very persecution can either crush you into silent weakness or motivate you to be more exemplary and courageous in your daily lives (Elder Russell M. Nelson, April 2011, bold added)."
At first glance this can be scary. I have worried a bit over this not for my own sake, but for the sake of my children. I don't worry for the persecution or the trials they may face so much as I wonder about these questions:
Am I truly preparing them to withstand such trials and persecutions?
Am I training them with the characteristics they will need to stand strong against the things that are to come?
What am I teaching them that will fortify their faith and strengthen their confidence that they can fight against trying times?
In Peter we read:
" For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it apatiently? but if, when ye do well, and bsuffer for it, ye take it cpatiently, this is dacceptable with God. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also asuffered for us, leaving us an bexample, that ye should follow his steps: (1 Peter 2:20-21)."
"And who is he that will harm you, if ye be afollowers of that which is good?
But and if ye asuffer for brighteousness’ sake, chappy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;
But asanctify the Lord God in your hearts:...
For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye asuffer for well doing, than for evil doing.For Christ also hath once asuffered for sins, the just for the bunjust, that he might bring us to God,... (1 Peter 3:13-15, 17-18)."
In other words, our purpose is to become like our Savior, Jesus Christ. He suffered not only for us, but as an example to us of how to endure suffering for righteousness' sake. What better reason to suffer than for Him.
Knowing this, putting this knowledge into context, has helped me to turn my fear into faith. The Lord has a plan and His plan will prevail. His atonement has given us the power to persevere through whatever may happen in the future. Thus, Elder Nelson's title for his talk: "Face the Future with Faith."
We had an amazing lesson in Relief Society on Sunday wherein we focussed not on the bad and horrible things that are to come before the 2nd coming, but looked at the glorious and wonderful things that will happen before Jesus comes again. All of it - the good and the bad - is part of the Lord's plan.
We have a part in that plan both individually and as a people. Are we building upon our faith? Are we teaching our children so they can lead out and usher in the coming of our Lord? Again, Am I fortifying my children in faith and teaching them to stand up and be confident in their knowledge of the Savior and His plan for them? I can only hope, pray and act on faith that I am.