Ray and Marilyn Streib can identify to some degree with Job of the Old Testament.
In January of this year, Sister Streib's father died, followed in February by the death of her mother. The double loss came as Brother Streib was experiencing a chronic illness so serious that at the funeral home he overheard someone say, "You know, Ray looks so bad he'll probably be next."Of such people, Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve commented in the April 1989 general conference: "I know that each one of you faces overwhelming challenges. Sometimes they are so concentrated, so unrelenting, that you may feel they are beyond your capacity to control.
"Don't face the world alone. `Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.' (Prov. 3:5.)"
That is what the Streibs, members of the Fairfield 5th Ward, Fairfield California Stake, have done. Trusting in the Lord, they have practiced some of the points mentioned by President Ezra Taft Benson for combatting "the devil's designs of despair, discouragement, depression and despondency." (See accompanying article.)
Brother Streib credits his wife, whom he calls "a pillar of strength" for bringing him through a tough period while dealing with her own grief over the loss of her parents.
He also turned to the scriptures for encouragement, reflecting on the experience of the Prophet Joseph Smith in Liberty Jail, when the Lord told him his adversity would be for a small moment. (See D&C 121:7.)
"I decided after reading that that I would just have to endure it well," he said.
While at the funeral of his mother-in-law in Mesa, Ariz., he received a priesthood blessing from his former home teachers. By the time the Streibs returned on the flight to Sacramento, he was feeling better. With medication, he has improved steadily since then.
Sister Streib said she had been regularly reading the scriptures, following the counsel of her stake president, for about a year before her parents' deaths.
She also said regular prayer had given her strength to endure the loss.
"It was really hard to lose both of them so soon," she reflected. "If it weren't for the fact that I am very active in the Church and have a real good bishop and had been reading the scriptures every day, I might not have been able to stand it. I miss them, don't get me wrong, but I know I will see them again."
Sister Streib said answers to specific concerns, fears and questions come readily to her through regular scripture study.
"Something that I might have a question about or a problem with will all of a sudden appear to me in the section I'm reading," she said.
"It has helped me to understand that you can't do everything by yourself, that the Lord will help you and strengthen you in ways He feels you need to be strengthened. I know sometimes I really fall short, but it doesn't take me long to get myself picked back up again and go on."
She expressed appreciation for the support they have received from their bishop, Lawrence Arthur Goss, and from home and visiting teachers and the Relief Society, both in Fairfield and Mesa, in helping them through the time of grief. "They're not just members of the Church, they're friends as well," she said.