Where Can I Turn For Peace
by Karen Penry
Life can sometimes be a challenge. Whether it is the day to day demands that weigh us down or the wicked events of the world that burden our hearts, we may find ourselves asking, "Where can I turn for peace?" (LDS Hymns, 1973). As I have struggled through what has quite possibly been the hardest year of my life, this hymn has come to my mind time and time again. I love the calm assurances of the third verse that remind us that it is in Christ, our Lord, that we find solace and comfort even in times of trouble. The prophets counsel, "Even when the world is in turmoil all around you, you can receive the blessing of inner peace. . .Peace comes through the gospel—through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, the ministration of the Holy Ghost..."
This was not an understanding I came to easily. Many years ago, I lived through a dark time which challenged my testimony and faith. I ached for answers to questions about life and death and grief. I felt like the world was unfair. I could not understand how a loving Heavenly Father could allow monumental tragedies to enter into our lives. Even in that dark time, even when I had given up on Heavenly Father and Christ, they had not given up on me. Christ works through his disciples--in my case a loving young woman from church. She was my visiting teacher and she patiently and selflessly gave me love. And attention. And books.
Heavenly Father knows his children and he knows that a book or two is the perfect way to reach me. I am a reader--the proverbial bookworm. Even as I deliberately turned away from God, I was drawn to the books. Slowly, my wounds began to heal. As President Monson's inspirational stories touched my heart, I found myself searching the scriptures. I read about Nephi and Alma. I read about Job and Esther. I read about Jesus Christ's ministry. My testimony found me again, and I began to understand the Atonement. I realized that the Atonement was more than Christ dying for our sins. The Atonement is about suffering. Christ suffered. For me, that was the key. Christ suffered all and as such, he understood my suffering. He suffered for me. He suffered with me. He suffered my grief. In that realization, in that day, my life changed.
Years have passed since that fateful day. I have experienced loss and sorrow, grief and pain, hurt and anger. Nevertheless, my faith does not waver. Knowing that Christ has already been where I am, knowing that he did not only suffer the sins of the world, but the sorrows and other imperfections of our mortal world gives me a deep and abiding peace. When the world gets me down, I can go on by turning to the prophets, the scriptures, and Christ. For the Lord said, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).