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Despite trials, life must go on

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President Thomas S. Monson of the First Presidency spoke in the October 1992 general conference of having gone nearly 40 years earlier to the office of President J. Reuben Clark Jr., who was then a counselor in the First Presidency. President Monson's profession was then in printing and publishing.

He said that President Clark had been working on a harmony of the Gospels. During their visit, President Clark asked Brother Monson to read aloud the account found in Luke concerning the man filled with leprosy. (Luke 5:12-13.)President Clark then asked him to read the account concerning the man afflicted with palsy. (Luke 5:18-25.)

In his conference address, President Monson said that President Clark removed from his pocket a handkerchief and wiped the tears from his eyes. "He commented, `As we grow older, tears come more frequently.' After a few words of good-bye, I departed from his office, leaving him alone with his thoughts and his tears.

"As I reflect on this experience, my heart fills with gratitude to the Lord for His divine intervention to relieve the suffering, heal the sick, and raise the dead," President Monson said. "I grieve, however, for the many, similarly afflicted, who knew not how to find the Master, to learn of His teachings, and to become the beneficiaries of His power. I remember that President Clark himself suffered heartache and pain in the tragic death at Pearl Harbor of his son-in-law, Mervyn S. Bennion, captain of the battleship West Virginia. That day there had been no ram in the thicket, no steel to stop the shrapnel, no miracle to heal the wounds of war. But faith never wavered, and answered prayers provided the courage to carry on.

"So it is today. In our lives, sickness comes to loved ones, accidents leave their cruel marks of remembrance, and tiny legs that once ran are imprisoned in a wheelchair.

"Mothers and fathers who anxiously await the arrival of a precious child sometimes learn that all is not well with this tiny infant. A missing limb, sightless eyes, a damaged brain, or the term `Down syndrome' greets the parents, leaving them baffled, filled with sorrow, and reaching out for hope.

"There follows the inevitable blaming of oneself, the condemnation of a careless action, and the perennial questions: Why such a tragedy in our family? Why didn't I keep her home? If only he hadn't gone to that party. How did this happen? Where was God? Where was a protecting angel? If, why, where, how - those recurring words do not bring back the lost son, the perfect body, the plans of parents, or the dreams of youth. Self-pity, personal withdrawal, or deep despair will not bring the peace, the assurance, or help which are needed. Rather, we must go forward, look upward, move onward, and rise heavenward.

"It is imperative that we recognize that whatever has happened to us has happened to others. They have coped, and so must we. We are not alone. Heavenly Father's help is near.

"Perhaps no other has been so afflicted as the man Job, who was described as `perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.' (Job 1:1.) He prospered by every measurement. In other words, he had it all made. Then came the loss of literally everything: his wealth, his family, his health. At one time the suggestion was made that he `curse God, and die.' (Job 2:9.) Job's summation of his faith, after ordeals demanded of few others, is a testimony of truth, a proclamation of courage, and a declaration of trust."