I can’t remember a time when I haven’t been at least a little scared of the Second Coming.
As a kid, I remember learning that there would be, prior to the Savior’s Second Coming, an abundance of crime, natural disasters, famines, and wars. I remember just thinking, “Uh, no thanks. That sounds like the worst.” Like, excuse me, but where can I opt out of that? I sometimes think, “Oh, I don’t want to be around for that; hopefully I’ll be dead,” and then I get freaked out because I don’t want to die and I’d actually like to see the Savior when He comes again.
Ugh. Vicious cycle.
But lately, I’m not quite so terrified. I mean, I’m not going to lie to you and say I’m not nervous about the signs of the Second Coming at all. I’m not suddenly like, “Oh, earthquakes? Famine? No biggie. Only wimps are scared of that stuff!” But I’ve come to realize that the reality is this: any scary thing that happens won’t even slightly compare to the glory of the Lord’s return.
And unlike the adversary, the Lord doesn’t forget His followers.
In a 2005 Ensign article, Elder Spencer V. Jones (now an emeritus member of the Seventy) wrote, “. . . many of us are apprehensive about the Second Coming. In contemplating “the great and dreadful day of the Lord” (D&C 2:1), we may have a tendency to overlook the ‘great’ and accentuate the ‘dreadful.'”
He then continued, “As dreadful as these prophecies sound, let’s keep them in perspective. These fearful conditions contain a qualifying phrase indicating they are intended not for the righteous but for the wicked and unrepentant. For example, the verse immediately preceding the above scriptural passage is clear: “And it shall come to pass, because of the wickedness of the world, that I will take vengeance upon the wicked, for they will not repent” (D&C 29:17). A “desolating scourge” is prophesied for the inhabitants of the earth “if they repent not” (D&C 5:19).”
Of course, that doesn’t mean that Christ’s followers avoid every worldly upset — but it does mean that the Lord will uphold and support them through any hardship. We can have assurance and quell our fears knowing that all will be well for those who strive to follow the Savior.
God is Able to Protect Us
When we consider the events leading to Christ’s Second Coming and find ourselves feeling afraid and unsure, we can find comfort in knowing that surely, one of the greatest and most awe-inspiring traits of our Savior is His ability to protect us no matter the seemingly-impossible circumstance.
Take this example from Third Hour’s very own writer, Gale:
“Only the Savior suffered an infinite atonement. Our suffering is finite and temporary, and people have survived impossible things with God’s help.
When we lived in Israel I was walking through our house in the pitch dark to turn on a night light, about 11:30 at night when everyone was in bed asleep and my husband was away on a business trip. I was headed for a side entry to the second living space in our home. A light on there would shine into both living spaces. But I hadn’t gone far enough and had no idea whatsoever that I was at the top of the stairs leading to the basement and garage. The entire house was made of stone. I reached around the right wall to slap the light switch with my left hand, but it wasn’t where I expected it to be, so I walked forward a few steps.
If you have no idea you are in a stairwell and you just walk forward, how many stairs do you hit on your way down? Gravity would just carry you bumping all the way down.
On the right was a plastered stone wall, on the left vertical metal bars, at the bottom a 2.5 foot square cement floor and facing stone wall. Too small for me to lie in without my head lying on the bottom step. I was carried through space and flipped completely over so that my hips landed where the wall met the floor, and then my torso curved so that my head hit the floor instead of the bottom stone stair. I got a concussion and broke a fingernail. The Lord said in a following blessing that “my life was in the balance.”
Really, that has changed everything for me. I could have fallen from a plane and the Lord still could have saved me. Since then I’ve heard of many instances where the laws of physics were bent to save someone. It doesn’t matter if it’s an earthquake or storm, famine, or disease.”
Hold up a sec while I pick my jaw up off the floor. When it comes to our Savior, every “can’t” turns to “can,” every insurmountable obstacle becomes achievable, and every shred of fear and doubt is replaced with peace and hope.
Angels are Real and Watch Over Us
In his book Accomplishing the Impossible: What God Does, What You Can Do, President Russell M. Nelson shared an experience where he too was protected by the Lord through His angels.
“The Lord made a promise to those faithfully engaged in His service. He said: “I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.”
My wife Wendy and I are the beneficiaries of that promise. On one occasion, we were attacked by armed men with malicious intent. They announced their purpose: to kidnap her, and to kill me. After they maliciously molested us in those evil objectives, they became totally foiled. A gun to my head failed to fire. And my wife was suddenly released from their hideous grasp. Then they disappeared as quickly as they had appeared. We were mercifully rescued from potential disaster. We know we were protected by angels round about us. Yes, the Lord’s precious promise had been invoked in our behalf.
Other angels are also at work. Often our members are “angels” to neighbors in need. Home teachers and visiting teachers, as ordinary people, frequently render service that seems angelic to grateful recipients. Young people who quietly leave homemade goodies on a doorstep or two experience the joy of anonymous service to others. And I am among the many who have often referred to the loving acts of an “angel mother” or an “angel wife,” or the priceless love of “angel children.”
Do we believe in angels? Yes! We believe in angels—heavenly messengers—seen and unseen; and earthly angels who know whom to help and how to help. Gospel messengers, or angels, can include ordinary people like you and me.
May angels, known and unknown, serve you and protect you along life’s perilous journey.”
Just as the Lord had a plan for His future prophet, He has a plan for each of us — and with Him, nothing is impossible. Perhaps Paul said it best when he wrote, “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think . . .” Our God is a God of miracles and truly, He can protect us against all odds if it is His will.
Be Not Troubled
When scary things happen in the world, my tendency is to panic. I get scared to go anywhere, do anything, or let my loved ones out of my sight for a single second. But from my experience, that’s such an unhappy way to live! With the Lord on our side, we can find happiness regardless of outward circumstances. We can rest assured that all things will work together for our good, whether that pertains to right this moment, later, or even in the world to come. Having an eternal perspective amidst life’s unpredictable trials and the world’s never-ending chaos makes all the difference.
About the craziness that will proceed the Second Coming, the Lord instructed, “Be not troubled” — and if there’s anyone who can be trusted, it’s Jesus Christ. If He says we don’t need to be afraid or troubled, we don’t. If He says He’ll take care of us, He will. If He promises that everything will be well, it will.
When it comes to the Lord’s return or anything else that might scare us, trusting Him is all we need to do to silence our fears.