I soon saw why. President Ballard’s references to the pioneers really resonated with me in the midst of my own difficult journey. In a way, I’m something of a pioneer. I’ve had my first visit to the emergency room, my first hospital stay, and my first surgery. The road I’m walking now is unexpectedly new to me. But that new road just heightens my need to take footsteps of faith.
My pioneer mission
Despite the newness of my current road, I’m not entirely in unfamiliar territory. I covered ground much like this on my mission. Being sick all the time with symptoms that came and went so much I couldn’t tell you what the next day would be like, let alone when exactly it would end. That sounds a lot like the road I’m on right now.
President Ballard mentioned his own missionary service in his address, and it caused me to reflect on my own service, particularly how it prepared me for my life. It’s provided me a foundation for each new segment of my life journey.
That’s why I really appreciated President Ballard’s initial words. Right out of the gate, he starts with bold testimony:
I need that hope now as I face my current challenges. It’s one thing to say it’ll all be over because I go home at the end of two years. It’s another when you don’t have such a marker in sight.
Pioneers and prophets
It’s not altogether surprising President Ballard centered his remarks around pioneers. He’s spoken in past Conferences about his pioneer ancestors and the lessons they offered him — and through him to all of us.
Such references often get me thinking about my own pioneer ancestors. I don’t know much about them because the principle one never kept a journal. Perhaps my knowledge of my ancestors’ lives will change one day.
In the meantime, I can lean on others like President Ballard to fill that gap. I was particularly impressed when he shared,
How many of us have really thought about that? It’s easy to get wrapped up in the difficulties of our own lives, so much so we can easily forget that the story of how we confronted our challenges could help those who come after us confront theirs. Knowing my response can help others gives me strength to make a better choice.
President Ballard spoke of other pioneers. In particular, he mentioned President Nelson:
I so very much appreciated that quote from President Nelson, for if I ever needed a miracle, I need one now. What a tender mercy!
Our pioneer Savior
Of course, President Ballard saved the best example for last — our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. That’s altogether fitting since Christ is the ultimate anything good. Plus President Ballard’s remarks are entitled “Follow Jesus Christ with Footsteps of Faith.” It’s not just walking in faith. It’s walking the path of Christ in faith.
Moreover, it’s not walking behind Him so much as it is beside Him. That concept I find especially comforting in my current difficulties. Don’t get me wrong. This road has been very rough, and I’m just getting started with it. But even in my most painful moments, the Lord has never abandoned me. He has stood beside me through it all. His walk beside me in my moments of difficulty invites me to walk beside Him in my moments of ease (which will come one day, for eventually this all will pass).
President Ballard’s testimony of the Savior especially moved me.
Whatever road in life, may we each seek to follow Jesus Christ with footsteps of faith. He’ll strengthen us to become shining examples for those who follow us. He’ll encourage us through the voice of His Spirit and His living Prophet. And He will stand ready to lift us to higher ground as our trials bring our glean to a brilliant glorious sheen. And that will bring us more joy in our journey.
Howdy! I'm Lance, host of Joy in the Journey Radio. I've been blogging about LDS singles life since 2012, and since 2018 I've been producing a weekly Internet radio show and podcast to help LDS singles have more joy in their journey and bring all Latter-day Saints together. Let's engage a conversation that will increase the faith of LDS singles and bring singles and marrieds together in a true unity of the faith.
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