These are the days when prophecies are being fulfilled. We live in the dispensation of the fulness of times, which is the time to prepare for the Savior’s return. It is also the time to work out our own salvation.
When the winds blow and the rains pour, they blow and pour on all. Those who have built their foundations on bedrock rather than sand survive the storms. 1 There is a way to build on bedrock by developing a deep personal conversion to the gospel of Jesus Christ and knowing how to receive inspiration. We must know—and know that we know. We must stand spiritually and temporally independent of all worldly creatures. 2 This begins by understanding that God the Father is the Father of our spirits and that He loves us, that Jesus Christ is our Redeemer and Savior, and that the Holy Ghost can communicate with our minds and our hearts. 3 This is how we receive inspiration. We need to learn how to recognize and apply these promptings.
When I was a young man in high school, one of my passions was American football. I played middle linebacker. The coach worked the team hard, teaching us the basics. We practiced until the skills became natural and automatic. During one play against our biggest rival, I had an experience that has helped me over the years. We were on defense. I knew my assigned opponent, and as the play unfolded, he moved to my right into the line of scrimmage. There was a lot of noise from players and fans. I reacted as the coach had taught us and followed my man into the line, not knowing if he had the ball. To my surprise, I felt the ball partially in my hands. I gave it a tug, but my opponent didn’t let go. As we tugged back and forth, amid all the noise I heard a voice yelling, “Packer, tackle him!” That was enough to bring me to my senses, so I dropped him on the spot.
I have wondered how I heard that voice above all the other noise. I had become acquainted with the voice of the coach during the practices, and I had learned to trust it. I knew that what he taught worked.
We need to be acquainted with the promptings of the Holy Ghost, and we need to practice and apply gospel teachings until they become natural and automatic. These promptings become the foundation of our testimonies. Then our testimonies will keep us happy and safe in troubled times.
Elder Dallin H. Oaks defined a testimony this way: “A testimony of the gospel is a personal witness borne to our souls by the Holy Ghost that certain facts of eternal significance are true and that we know them to be true.” 4 At another time Elder Oaks said, “Testimony is to know and to feel, conversion is to do and to become.” 5
Excerpt from Allan F. Packer’s April 2009 General Conference Address, Finding Strength in Challenging Times. Allan F. Packer is a Member of the First Quorum of the Seventy of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. View Allan F. Packers full address here.