Today during sacrament meeting, our bishop shared a quote by Ezra Taft Benson that immediately spoke to my heart. In his talk 'Do Not Despair,' President Benson said --
"There are times when you simply have to righteously hang on and outlast the devil until his depressive spirit leaves you."
Wow. I wish I had heard this quote years ago. I suppose this is why we're told to study the prophets.
I feel like so much of my life has been spent just trying to hold on, and I've always felt guilty about that. I know so many people think that I don't try nearly as hard as I should in various aspects of my life, but from my perspective I count it as a great victory that I have always held on. No matter how weak my grip was, or how close to the edge I've been, I am still here. Some people may never understand what an accomplishment that is for me. However, I know that sometimes even your most monumental effort can only result in you righteously hanging on.
A while back I made a promise to myself and, I guess, to the Lord as well, that no matter what happened to me or how lost, scared, and hopeless I may ever become, I would always stay turned in the right direction. In the past when I would have long periods of struggle, one of my initial reactions was to start questioning the Gospel from square one. It was always an exhausting and self-defeating endeavor, and I was always worse for the wear afterward. I lost so much ground with the testimony I used to have, and it gave more room for doubt in my life.
With the promise that I made to myself, when a dark time comes my new reaction is to lock up my testimony and say to myself, 'No, you won't touch this. You know these things are true, the Gospel is meant for good times and bad times. These things don't get thrown out anymore.'
This has made such a difference for me. I don't know everything, and I certainly don't understand everything, but I have said to myself that as a Latter-day Saint I have accepted the Gospel of this church and the basic doctrine that it is founded on. Come what may, I will stay turned in that direction. Regardless of the noise, confusion, distractions, and assaults around me, I will stay turned in the direction of the Lord.
As President Benson said, I will always at least, 'righteously hang on.' And how's that part about 'outlasting the devil until his depressive spirits leave you?' That is a mighty strong motivating factor -- to outlast someone who only wants your misery and has never done anything for your benefit, nor anyone else's, for that matter. And, to outlast someone who's sole ambition it is to try and destroy the work of the Lord. A large part of me wants to hang on just to ensure one more victory for our Savior, who we all love so much.
This is a further excerpt from President Benson's talk --
"Pressing on in noble endeavors, even while surrounded by a cloud of depression, will eventually bring you out on top into the sunshine. Even our master Jesus the Christ, while facing that supreme test of being temporarily left alone by our Father during the crucifixion, continued performing his labors for the children of men, and then shortly thereafter he was glorified and received a fullness of joy. While you are going through your trial, you can recall your past victories and count the blessings that you do have with a sure hope of greater ones to follow if you are faithful. And you can have that certain knowledge that in due time God will wipe away all tears and that 'eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.'"