Finding peace on the trail of life

Published 7:56 am Thursday, June 21, 2018

Like many of you, I find that walking along the High Bridge Trail, drinking in the fresh air and quiet, brings to mind the important principles of eternity.

Recently as I walked on the trail, thunderheads rolled over the Heart of Virginia, and soon raindrops began to fall. I accelerated my pace to get myself and my dog out of the rain.

My experience reminded me of the Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus addressed the age-old question: Does anyone escape suffering, setbacks and disappointments in this life? The answer was a resounding No, for we learn that God “maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:45).

Email newsletter signup

Personal righteousness is no guarantee of perpetually clear skies, nor are personal struggles an indicator of past mistakes. Sunshine and rain, happiness and sorrow, are all part of the journey that the Lord has prepared. Though personalized for each of us, if we commit to walk by faith, the trail always leads back to God.

Clearly we have many things to learn in this life, and our Heavenly Father is the Teacher who will lovingly lead us through our lessons. Only He knows what we truly need in order to progress and achieve our divine potential. He provides the lessons, and He also promises comfort and strength that we need to make it safely through to the end of the trail.

We can take comfort in knowing that if our hearts are prepared, we can be open to heavenly lessons through our struggles. As Orson F. Whitney wrote: “No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude and humility … It is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation that we gain the education that we come here to acquire.”

As in all things, our Savior is the perfect example of meekness and humility. Of Him we read: “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered” (Hebrews 5:8). To learn the things God wants us to learn, and receive the blessings He desires to bestow, our tuition is to offer a broken heart and contrite spirit (Psalm 51:17).

Peace in this life comes from accepting and following the teachings of Jesus Christ. When we do so, regardless of the rain that falls, we can be steady in the face of any storm, as the hymn describes:

“Lift up your hearts in praise to God;

Let your rejoicings never cease.

Though tribulations rage abroad,

Christ says, ‘In me ye shall have peace.’ ”

Brent Roberts is the Branch Presidency First Counselor in the Sandy River Branch, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and also Dean of Greenwood Library at Longwood University. He can be reached at