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Many good Christians are highly anxious about having to endure the final days of the Apocalypse. The name of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints reminds us of the possibility of witnessing the events described in the book of Revelation. However, even as He taught about the trials of the days preceding His Second Coming, the Savior gives us encouragement not to be anxious about it. In Luke 21:10–17, the Savior describes the wars, earthquakes, famine, and pestilence of the last days. He also foretells that His followers will be persecuted, jailed, betrayed, and hated. These verses (and the whole book of Revelation) have the potential of creating loads of anxiety among those reading them. Then the Savior reassures us, “But there shall not an hair of your head perish. In your patience possess ye your souls” (Luke 21:18–19).
In Luke 21: 20–26, Jesus continues His descriptions of the desolation that will come and that those alive will see signs in the sun, moon, and stars. Men’s hearts will fail them from fear and from witnessing the signs of the times coming to pass. Even the powers of heaven will be shaken. But then, He assures us, “And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh” (Luke 21: 27–28).
Finally, in the book of Revelation, John the Beloved documents his symbolic vision of the Apocalypse. Even heavily symbolized, it is quite apparent that none of the world wars or the coronavirus will match the final days before the Second Coming. In Revelation 8–11, we read of seven angels whose trumpet blasts bring hail, fire, falling stars, a darkening sun, smoke, death, and earthquakes. But then, after all of this is accomplished, we read what happens in the end: “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Revelation 21:4).
The mystery is solved! We know what is going to happen at the end. The end of the world as we know it is rather like reading a mystery novel that you spoiled by jumping ahead and reading the last pages. You know how everything turns out. The suspense is gone. But your spiritual self has to have a strong testimony of this end result. If your emotional mind starts to get nervous, your spirit should continually remind it that there is no reason for concern. If you have a testimony of the gospel, your spirit should have great confidence in the final outcome.
President Russell M. Nelson tells a story about when he was traveling in a small commuter airplane and an engine caught fire and exploded. The plane started to spiral down out of control. He mentioned how sorry he felt for one woman who became uncontrollably hysterical. President Nelson reported that he was calm, even though he knew he might die within a few minutes. He was ready to meet his Maker. President Nelson refers to Luke 21:26, which describes that in the latter days men’s hearts will fail them for fear. But we do not need to have such fear if we recognize “with an eternal perspective that all will be well.”
I was once in a similar, though not as dangerous, situation as that of President Nelson. I was also traveling in a small commuter airplane when we entered a major storm cloud. The buffetings were intense, the plane rose and fell like a roller coaster, and lightning flashes filled the cockpit. One woman in the back of the plane became uncontrollably hysterical. I feared she might actually run to the plane door and try to open it to escape. I got up, sat down next to her, and held her hand until it was all over. I, like President Nelson, was calmer than I expected to be. I even remember feeling perturbed that this woman was making such a fuss. Afterward, I recognized that, perhaps like President Nelson, I had faith that I knew the ending of the story of Earth life. Had my plane crashed, I would have missed my family terribly, but it would have been only temporary. We would be reunited. In any story, it is the longterm ramifications of the plot that’s important. I would have an eternity of time to catch up with my family. It is amazing what that realization does to your outlook on life and fear of death.
In Luke 21 and the book of Revelation, the attitude of the text is that “it’s all good in the end, so why worry?” I know that having this attitude is harder than it sounds. Your emotional brain is naturally fearful of discomfort and death. Your rational brain may accept the fact that the world has turned upside down, but it will probably downplay the likelihood that it will affect you personally. All that is left to comfort your mind is your spiritual self, which must step up and insist to your mental self that all will be well in the end. Can your spiritual testimony influence your mood and your optimism for the future? It can. The voice of the Holy Ghost may only be one voice in your head, but it is the voice that you have practiced hearing your whole life. That spiritual side of you can help your brain deal with these difficult times. Do you have the faith to not be anxious in our new and dangerous world?
What are your thoughts on this? Let us know in the comments!
The following was taken from the book Mentally Calm, Spiritually Connected currently available on cedarfort.com!
Apr 21, 2021
I totally agree, I have never felt any fear or anxiety during this pandemic or during the two years I was being screened for lung cancer or even now when my lung function continues to decrease – frustrated at what I cannot do but not fearful of death. My fear mainly lies in the uncertainty of my posterity’s faith as I have 3 son-in-laws not members and one son that has walked away but knowing I am sealed to them regardless of their choices brings peace.