Living in the south has some unique challenges I am learning. Humidity and large bugs are at the top of the list.
Second to that is knowing that in the Fall, we are going to experience hurricanes. Last year, my family had to make a decision about whether or not we should keep our appointed family vacation in Florida in the face of Hurricane Irma. As our departure date got closer, we learned of the storm threatening the southeast corner of the United States. Not only did we have to think about our safety but also travel conditions. After some sincere prayer, we felt that we should go for one day instead of the three nights we had planned on.
Our experience at the amusement park was amazing! We walked on to every ride. We were able to maximize our time there during our one- day Legoland visit and create some wonderful family memories. We planned to leave after breakfast the next morning.
At about 1:20 in the morning, my phone rang. When I answered, no one spoke but I felt an urgent prompting that we needed to pack up and leave right away. So, by three a.m., we were in the car and heading out.
We were not aware of the challenges that would lay ahead of us, but we knew Heavenly Father had guided us to leave and thus, we felt protected and watched over. From heavy traffic to panicked drivers and gas stations with no gas, we faced it all.
In life, the spiritual storms, the struggles of mortality rarely come when it is convenient for us. Usually, they come heaped upon other situations that can feel heavy and burdensome. If we stay close with our Father in Heaven especially as we begin to see the warning signs of danger, He will guide us through the experiences down to the tiniest details. He will urge us in the right direction and bring us to safety if we are worthy and listening. He will call us in the night and send us on our way. Are we prepared to hear His voice? Have we spent years learning how to listen rather than waiting until disaster strikes?
Sometimes our storms are just things that happen in mortality. Sometimes the storms in life come because of the actions of other people. We saw numerous accidents caused by people who were panicking and making poor or selfish decisions. We had to be forgiving and compassionate. We grew anxious at times when our gas tank was getting low and there were no stations to be found who could provide us with necessary fuel, but He guided us.
As we continually keep in communication with our Father, study our scriptures, repent, attend our church meetings and the temple, we will be strengthened as those fierce winds begin to howl. Even when other things around us seem to be crumbling, we can stand tall with our trust in our God. If we seek Him, we can always find peace in Jesus Christ. He said “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27)
President Henry B Eyring told us that “It is only through following the Savior that any of us can find peace and serenity in the trials that will come to all of us.” 1
Hearkening to the Savior and keeping His commandments will always keep us strong in the face of challenges, whether we experience such things as inner turmoil, illness, or real storms swirling around us. We know in whom we trust.
Our family vacation experience taught me a great many things about how our Father wants us to have joy even in the face of adversity. It is possible with Christ. So, when we leave for vacation in a few days in the face of Hurricane Florence, we will certainly be listening for the Spirit’s voice to maneuver us safely to our destination.
1 “Peace in This Life,” President Henry B. Eyring, December 2016 First Presidency Message, Ensign Magazine