Elder Uchtdorf starts his talk (The Infinite Power of Hope) with this gripping story:
Toward the end of World War II, my father was drafted into the German army
and sent to the western front, leaving my mother alone to care for our family.
Though I was only three years old, I can still remember this time of fear and
hunger. We lived in Czechoslovakia, and with every passing day, the war came
nearer and the danger grew greater.
Finally, during the cold winter of 1944,
my mother decided to flee to Germany, where her parents were living. She bundled
us up and somehow managed to get us on one of the last refugee trains heading
west. Traveling during that time was dangerous. Everywhere we went, the sound of
explosions, the stressed faces, and ever-present hunger reminded us that we were
in a war zone.
Along the way the train stopped occasionally to get supplies.
One night during one of these stops, my mother hurried out of the train to
search for some food for her four children. When she returned, to her great
horror, the train and her children were gone!
She was weighed down with
worry; desperate prayers filled her heart. She frantically searched the large
and dark train station, urgently crisscrossing the numerous tracks while hoping
against hope that the train had not already departed.
Perhaps I will never
know all that went through my mother’s heart and mind on that black night as she
searched through a grim railroad station for her lost children. That she was
terrified, I have no doubt. I am certain it crossed her mind that if she did not
find this train, she might never see her children again. I know with certainty:
her faith overcame her fear, and her hope overcame her despair. She was not a
woman who would sit and bemoan tragedy. She moved. She put her faith and hope
And so she ran from track to track and from train to train until
she finally found our train. It had been moved to a remote area of the station.
There, at last, she found her children again.
I have often thought about that
night and what my mother must have endured. If I could go back in time and sit
by her side, I would ask her how she managed to go on in the face of her fears.
I would ask about faith and hope and how she overcame despair.
It is natural to assume that his mother was frightened, and stressed. But maybe she wasn't. Have you ever not been stressed when theoretically you should have been. Has there been a time when the Lord walked you through a difficult situation, giving you the peace you needed as you went along. Perhaps when a loved one passed away, or you lost your job, you were not overly concerned, but rather felt calm.
This is what one aspect of the atonement is all about.
In Isaiah 46:4, we learn,
I will carry, and will deliver you.
In Mosiah 24:14, he told the people of Alma,
I will ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you
cannot feel them upon your backs
In 1 Nephi 17:2:
And so great were the blessings of the Lord upon us, that while we did live
upon raw meat in the wilderness, our women did give plenty of suck for their
children and were strong yea, even like the men; and began to bear their
journeyings without murmurings... and if it so be that the children of men keep
the commandments of god he doth nourish them; wherefore he did provide means for
us while we did sojourn in the wilderness.
In Isaiah 53:4,
He hath born our griefs and carried our sorrows.
In my life I have noticed that the degree to which my sorrows have been carried has a relationship to how close I am to Christ prior to the time in which I need his help.
Like the people of Limhi, if I start praying and repenting after the hard times strike, (Mosiah 21:15)
The Lord is slow to hear their cry because of their iniquities.
What do they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure? If we want to feel the atoning love and peace of the Savior as we enter the difficult times that will no doubt come our way, we, prior to that need to be close to the Savior.
My Grandfather said the other day, to have a friend, you have to be a friend. This may sound like a trite cliche, but it is true. Do we want Christ as our friend?
Wherefore, I now send upon you another Comforter, even upon you my friends, that it may abide in your hearts.
Perhaps President Uchtdorf's mother was perfectly at peace during the horrifying ordeal. Perhaps Christ sent his Comforter to abide in her heart. Perhaps her burdens were eased, perhaps she was carried by the Savior.