March 1, 2021
As students, we may feel discouraged at times as we experience setbacks and struggles. In order to overcome these challenges, we can follow the counsel of Elder Ulisses Soares, who said, “All of us, brothers and sisters, need to open our minds and our hearts in order to more fully understand the relevance of taking upon ourselves our crosses and following Him. Our determination to cast off all that is contrary to God’s will … and to strive to follow His teachings will help us to endure in the path of Jesus Christ’s gospel.”1
The Savior used the cross as a symbol to teach His disciples about submitting to God’s will. He taught “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”2 The symbolism of the cross helped His disciples understand how to put God first, especially when it’s uncomfortable or inconvenient. This teaching can help us understand how to submit to God in our challenges too!
Asking for help from our Savior while experiencing heartache and pain can help us find freedom from the sorrow of trials. This is because Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ offer us hope, strength, happiness, and peace.
We exercise our faith as we choose to follow the promptings and direction we receive through the Holy Ghost. Sometimes we find ourselves struggling to put our trust in the Lord when we face difficult circumstances that are out of our control.
However, Elder Soares taught, “To take up one’s cross and follow the Savior means to strive to lay aside these feelings and turn to the Lord so He can … help us to find peace.”3
Some students may have had to delay their education due to difficult or complicated circumstances, and many are still striving to pursue education despite hard times — COVID-19, financial challenges, physical and mental health struggles, the loss of a family member, and so on. However, by making the Lord a part of our lives and schooling, we will find that the challenges we face can become blessings.
Accepting the Lord’s way instead of our own creates yet another challenge, as His timing doesn’t always match ours.
According to Elder Soares, “Taking our cross upon ourselves includes being humble and trusting in God and in His infinite wisdom. We must acknowledge that He is aware of each of us and of our needs. It is also necessary to accept the fact that the Lord’s timing is different than ours.”4
As we accept the Lord’s way, the scriptures promise that “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; … they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”5
Be persistent: We can and will succeed
As BYU-Pathway Worldwide students, we can receive strength from Heavenly Father by obedience to His commandments and dedication to our responsibilities — including family life, Church service, and education. By doing these things, we will be following in the Savior’s footsteps and taking up our own crosses.
We can inspire our peers to persist through hard times and receive peace from our Savior. As life continues and we need to make difficult choices, we can find comfort in the truth that following the Savior will bring us peace, joy, and strength to overcome our challenges.
As a student, how have you overcome challenges by following the Savior? Share below!
1. ^ Ulisses Soares, “Take Up Our Cross,” Ensign or Liahona, Oct. 2019
2. ^ Matthew 16:24
3. ^ IBID
4. ^ IBID
5. ^ Isaiah 40:31