For decades I have kept an intense schedule. Medical school and the internships and residency that followed were rigorous. Research on the heart, setting up a surgical clinical practice, and teaching at various universities were invigorating as well as enervating. Treasured time with my wife and ten children, and serving in Church callings, stretched me further. There were many times when I was simply exhausted and longed for rest.
The life of a General Authority is not much different. Getting on and off airplanes, week after week—often during lengthy trips—is taxing. I often say to Wendy, “We don’t believe in jet lag. We don’t have time.” Gratefully, the joy of being with the people offsets the weariness. However, I know how real fatigue feels.
One of the plagues of this era seems to be the tendency to squeeze as much activity into our lives as possible. Yet sleep is essential to allow our minds and bodies to recharge. Sleep helps our bodies stay healthy and ward off disease. Without enough sleep, our brains cannot function properly. A reasonable amount of rest is vital to overall health and well-being.
The Most Important Rest Is Spiritual Rest
There is another kind of rest that is equally vital. We are accosted almost daily by an onslaught of disturbing news. You may have had days when you wished you could don your pajamas, curl up in a ball, and ask someone to wake you when the turmoil is over. On the other hand, so many wonderful things are ahead. In coming days, we will see the greatest manifestations of the Savior’s power that the world has ever seen. Between now and the time the Lord returns “with power and great glory” (Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:36), He will bestow countless privileges, blessings, and miracles upon the faithful.
Nonetheless, we are presently living in what surely is one of the most complicated times in the history of the world. The complexities and challenges—not to mention animosities—leave many people feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. . . .
The direct connection between making a covenant with God in the temple and the Savior’s stunning promise: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; . . . and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28–30; emphasis added).
. . . Making and keeping covenants actually makes life easier! Each person who makes covenants in baptismal fonts and in temples—and keeps those covenants—has increased access to the power of Jesus Christ.
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Living Higher Laws Leads to Higher Power
The reward for keeping covenants with God is heavenly power— power that strengthens us to better withstand our trials, temptations, and heartaches. This power eases our way. Those who live the higher laws of Jesus Christ have access to His higher power. Thus, covenant keepers are entitled to a special kind of rest that comes to them through their covenantal relationship with God. . . .
Imagine how different this world would be if everyone understood this simple truth: that because Jesus Christ overcame this fallen world, and because He atoned for each of us, we too can overcome this sin-saturated, self-centered, and often exhausting world!
Because the Savior, through His infinite Atonement, redeemed each of us from weakness, mistakes, and sin, and because He experienced every pain, worry, and burden we will ever have, as we truly repent and seek His help, our burdens will be lightened and we can rise above this present precarious world.
We can overcome the spiritually and emotionally exhausting plagues of the world, including arrogance, pride, anger, immorality, hatred, greed, jealousy, and fear. Despite the distractions and distortions that swirl around us, we can find true rest—meaning relief and peace—even amid our most vexing problems. . . .
As we strive to live the higher laws of Jesus Christ, first our hearts and then our very natures begin to change. The Savior lifts us above the pull of this fallen world by blessing us with greater charity, humility, generosity, kindness, self-discipline, peace, and, yes, rest.
The Blessings of Overcoming the World
Now, [overcoming the world] may sound more like hard spiritual work than rest. But here is the grand truth: while the world insists that power, possessions, popularity, and pleasures of the flesh bring happiness and joy, they do not. They cannot. What they do produce is a hollow, temporary substitute for “the blessed and happy state of those [who] keep the commandments of God” (Mosiah 2:41).
I have witnessed this again and again! The truth of the matter is that it is much more exhausting to seek happiness where you can never find it! On the other hand, when we yoke ourselves to Jesus Christ and do the spiritual work required to overcome the world, He has the power to lift us above the pull of this world and to give us rest.
. . . Entering into a covenant relationship with God binds us to Him in a way that makes everything about life easier. Please do not misunderstand me on this point: I did not say that making covenants makes life easy. In fact, expect opposition, because the adversary does not want us to discover the power of Jesus Christ or how willing He is to help us. But yoking ourselves to the Savior means we have access to His strength and enabling, healing, redeeming power. . . .
Honoring Covenants Leads to Rest
My plea to all is to find rest from the intensity, uncertainty, and anguish of this world by overcoming the world through our covenants with God. Let Him know through your prayers and your actions that you are serious about overcoming the world. Ask Him to enlighten your mind and send the help you need. Increase the time you serve and worship in the temple, if possible, because the temple teaches us how to rise above this fallen world. . . .
I call upon you, my dear friends, my dear brothers and sisters, to become this righteous people. Cherish and honor your covenants above all other commitments. As you allow God to prevail in your life, I promise you greater peace, confidence, joy, and rest.
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