My grandmother was a remarkable woman. She wore a near identical blouse and skirt every time I saw her. She had blue eyes, a kind smile, a soft voice, and a heart so full of love, I am certain she sits in one of the most exalted seats in heaven. In addition to raising a house full of children, grandchildren, neighbors, and friends, sewing a quilt for nearly everyone she met, and sending granddaughters packages of homemade underwear, she also loved gardening.
Once as a young teen, I followed her around the yard, holding a shovel over my shoulder. I am certain it was only to make me feel important, as she was well capable of carrying it, despite her advanced age. We knelt in the dirt together, plucking weeds and encouraging small blossoms to open while she taught me about her flowers. As it often does in the Rocky Mountains, suddenly there was a gust of wind, a flash of lightning, and then torrential rain. Unfazed, my grandma stood and dusted off her hands. “Come, sit,” she said, “this storm won’t last forever.” I followed her to her covered porch and sat beside her on her swing while she hummed an oft-hummed hymn. That day changed my life.
There’s a lot I don’t know about my grandma. She grew up in a polygamous sect, though people rarely speak of it. She lived most of her life through a poverty I pray I never know, and though I had seen her faith, I had never seen her attend church. As with all of us, my grandma had witnessed enough rainstorms to know that they’d end. That day, though, she seemed to be speaking of more than storms. She had lived through more than her share of storms and stood as a humble witness to their passing and to our ability to withstand them. Storms are difficult. They’re scary. They’re loud. They shake our faith to the very core. Sometimes we think our souls will be washed away.
From earthquakes to hurricanes to volcanic eruptions, the storms in life are equally varied and equally disrupting in our lives. These storms can arrive in several different ways.
First, some storms come from the Adversary in an attempt to drive us off the strait and narrow path. This mist of darkness arrives in the form of temptations. Overcoming temptation is an important part of our mortal journey. We are guaranteed to each live through many of these types of storms while we live on Earth.
Knowing Satan and his power, the Lord taught us through his prophets to build our foundations upon the Rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God. He promises that when the devils sends forth his mighty winds, when his hail and storms beat upon us, that we will not fall.
We cannot always avoid these storms, but we can prepare ourselves for the day that they come. When we have a safe place to hide and when we understand the warnings from those who know, we can get ourselves into places of safety. The scriptures teach, “Stand ye in holy places and be not moved, until the day of the Lord come, for behold it cometh quickly.”
These holy places, our chapels and temples, our sacred homes, and our minds and hearts, free from prideful, contentious, and wicked thoughts, are sacred places where we will find refuge from the storm. This storm won’t last forever, but we have safe places to hide.
Second, sometimes storms come as a result of our own wickedness. Such is the case with Jonah, who fled Nineveh. The storm came, and he was thrown overboard, swallowed by the great fish in the story we know so well. That storm, like others, didn’t last forever. The Lord stayed his hand when Jonah confessed his sin. A similar example happens in the Book of Mormon, when Laman and Lemuel became angry with Nephi and bound him to the ship. The Liahona stops working and a storm engulfs them. They had made progress toward the Promised Land, but were driven back. When they released Nephi, he prayed, and the storm subsided.
All of these men recognized the storm they were in and that it wouldn’t last forever. They also learned that they had great control in when the storm would pass.
In life, our storms may come as a result of bad choices we make. Then the winds blow, the earth quakes, and the light of the Son, that we are so accustomed to seeing, is beyond our view. Our world becomes dark, and we fear the storm.
During these storms, fall to your knees and repent of your wrongdoings, whether they be large or small. The Lord God is always near and has His hand of grace extended toward us, eager to hear our prayers. When we have repented, He promises that He will “gather us as a hen gathereth her chickens beneath her wings.”
There is no safer place to be than beneath the wings of the Savior when the storms rage in our lives. He will offer protection from the elements and prepare us to face the world as changed beings, sins forgiven, remembered no more. This storm won’t last forever. Repentance makes it end.
Third, despite our faith and despite our goodness, storms still find us. They come as a result of the Plan of Happiness and the need for us to be tried, tested, and refined. There is no better example than Joseph Smith, who experienced storms in nearly every form. When he cried to the Lord, “O God, where art thou?” the answer came. “Peace be unto thy soul. Thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment.”
Even the storms that followed Joseph Smith throughout his entire life were promised to one day end. In fact, the Lord promised that they would end “in a small moment.”
If we have not yet survived a storm that leaves us scarred for all of mortality, we soon will. This storm, no matter our efforts, no matter our faith, will end when the Lord’s plan dictates it will end. Sometimes, we must wait until the next life.
Though grief and sorrow and pain may endure for all of our years, we are promised by the Lord that He will not leave us comfortless and that, if we endure it well, we will be exalted on high.”
This storm will pass. The Atonement of our Savior makes that possible. The storms will come, prepare for them. When they rage, do what’s in your power to stop them. If they continue, keep the faith.
Come join my grandma and me on a porch swing, protected from the rain, while we watch the majesty of God’s power unfold in the middle of a storm. When we look, we will find it, and when we listen, we will hear the voice of the Savior declaring to the winds and the waves, as He did centuries ago, “Peace, be still.”
Your storm won’t t last forever. And when it ends, you’ll be better than before.