The Word: Finding joy today

Published 6:13 pm Friday, May 24, 2024

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Last week, as I walked across Longwood University’s beautiful campus following a rainstorm, I saw two robins taking a bath. They rolled around in the water, splashing with their wings and hopping in and out of the water.

They weren’t splashing around in an elaborate birdbath, or a sprinkler. In fact, it was just a puddle at the edge of the street. They seemed to be fully enjoying themselves, even though they were in a very plain spot. 

I thought: How many of us are able to look for and find the joy in life, wherever we are, whatever our circumstances? 

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Too often we look into the rearview mirror and wish we could return to a time or place when things were better and we were happier. 

It was of this tendency to look backward that the author of Ecclesiastes warned: “Say not thou, What is the cause that the former days were better than these? for thou dost not inquire wisely concerning this” (7:10). 

Longing for a supposedly better time in the past can keep us from enjoying the present and doing the work of God today. 

The Savior taught about worrying too much about the future: “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself” (Matthew 6:34). 

We certainly prepare for the future, but dwelling too much on the possibilities of tomorrow can weaken our ability to serve the Lord and our brothers and sisters today. 

President Henry B. Eyring, of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, taught of the importance of focusing on today as a time to respond to opportunities to forgive and serve others, even when we feel inadequate or don’t know the best thing to do. 

He testified: “If you decide not to wait until you have more strength and more money, and if you pray for the Holy Spirit as you go, you will when you arrive know what to do and how to help… You may find when you get there that they were praying and expecting that someone like you would come, in the name of the Lord.” 

President Eyring promised: “Hard as things seem today, they will be better in the next day if you choose to serve the Lord this day with your whole heart. Your circumstances may not be improved in all the ways you desire. But you will have been given new strength to carry your burdens and new confidence that when your burdens become too heavy, the Lord, whom you have served, will carry what you cannot.” 

We can all follow the admonition of Paul to the Philippians: “I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content” (4:11). 

I think I’m going to go take a swim with those robins and enjoy the day today. 

Dr. Brent Roberts is the Bishop of the Sandy River Ward, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and also Assistant Provost for Academic Outreach and Dean of Greenwood Library at Longwood University. He can be reached at