1. God Will Console Us in Our Afflictions
“Look unto God with firmness of mind, and pray unto him with exceeding faith, and he will console you in your afflictions” (Jacob 3:1).
Addiction Is a Serious Problem
Substance abuse, alcoholism, pornography use and other addictions not only hurt our loved ones but also us as well. Below are some of the feelings that many spouses and family members experience who have loved ones ensnared in addiction:
—Fear that our loved ones will never get better.
—Fear of the possibility that he or she may die physically as well as spiritually.
—Fear of the harm our loved ones might do to others around them, especially children.
—Physical weariness caused by sleeplessness, stress, and anxiety, which all take a toll on our health.
—Confusion about why our loved ones behave so irrationally and why nothing we say or do seems to make any difference.
—Loss of trust and confidence in our loved ones as a result of their lying, deception, and manipulation.
—Shame and hopelessness as we improperly assume responsibility for our loved ones’ choices.
—Feeling alone and isolated as we try to keep our loved one’s addictions a secret to protect others.
—Fear that baptismal and temple covenants may be irreparably broken and eternal family ties severed.
—Pain and hurt associated with a spouse’s physical and virtual infidelity.
—Bitterness over financial challenges as we deal with excessive spending, treatment programs, legal expenses, fines, and destruction of property.
—Fear that our loved ones’ continued addictions somehow reflect our lack of faith or inability to access God’s help on their behalf.
—Fear of consequences resulting from our loved ones’ potential incarceration or other legal issues.
Each of these concerns is valid, and with faith and support from others they can be worked through with care and time.
How has your loved one’s addiction impacted you?
Which of the feelings listed above have you experienced? Are there other feelings that you have experienced?
God Is Aware of Our Situation
There may be times when we wonder if God knows what we are going through as our loved ones struggle with their addictions. As we turn our hearts and minds to God, we can sense His presence and guidance. Elder Kevin W. Pearson of the Seventy said, “He loves each of us perfectly and is full of mercy and understanding. He knows everything about us. He knows what we need, even when we can see only what we want. He has infinite power and capacity to sustain and guide us. He is always willing to forgive us and to help us in all things” (“Improving Your Personal Prayers,” Ensign or Liahona, June 2013, 36–37). President Thomas S. Monson taught, “Again, my brothers and sisters, our Heavenly Father is aware of our needs and will help us as we call upon Him for assistance. I believe that no concern of ours is too small or insignificant. The Lord is in the details of our lives” (“Consider the Blessings,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2012, 88).
What evidences do you have that God knows you? How will this knowledge strengthen your faith and give you courage?
What will you do if you come to feel that God is ignoring you or doesn’t care about your situation anymore?
God Will Never Abandon Us
We may erroneously feel that we have to be perfect to qualify for God's help. In spite of our efforts, there may be times when we feel alone and that God is not hearing our pleas. However, He is there blessing us even when things may appear hopeless. The Lord has promised that He will never abandon us. “But, behold, Zion hath said: The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me—but he will show that he hath not. For can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee, O house of Israel. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me” (1 Nephi 21:14–16). We may pray for God’s assistance to be a stabilizing force in our families. We can increase the measure of the Spirit in our lives when we pray, study the scriptures, fast, attend the temple, and patiently wait upon the Lord (see Isaiah 40:31). As we do, His grace will attend us. We will have assurance that He will never abandon us, and our faith in Him will be strengthened.
When have you felt God’s presence in your life?
God Supports Us through Our Afflictions
The Lord always provides comfort, guidance, and strength, even when we may not realize it. These subtle and tender evidences of God's love and support come in a variety of ways; for example, they might come through the helping hands of others or during lessons, talks, or hymns that speak directly to us (see section 6: "Bear One Another's Burdens"). At other times, an idea or impression can help us gain greater understanding and direction and feel increased love. It is also helpful to remember the countless times the Lord has blessed and guided us in the past. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland taught, “Christ and His angels and His prophets forever labor to buoy up our spirits, steady our nerves, calm our hearts, send us forth with renewed strength and resolute hope” (“The Peaceable Things of the Kingdom,” Ensign, Nov. 1996, 83). As we continue in faith to put one foot in front of the other, we acknowledge the Lord as the source of our support. We recognize that our loving Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, do support us in our time of need.
How has Heavenly Father supported you in your trials?
What would you say to help someone who feels that Heavenly Father is not supporting him or her?
2 Nephi 2:2 (The Lord will consecrate afflictions for our gain)
M. Russell Ballard, “O That Cunning Plan of the Evil One,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov.2010, 108–10
Henry B. Eyring, “Where Is the Pavilion?” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2012, 72–75
Jeffrey R. Holland, “None Were with Him,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2009, 86–88
Thomas S. Monson, “We Never Walk Alone,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2013, 121–24
Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “The Love of God,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2009, 21–24
Personal Learning and Application
The following activities are for personal study to enhance your learning and application. Keep a journal of your thoughts, feelings, insights, and plans to implement what you learn. As the needs and circumstances in your life change, repeating these activities will provide you with new insights.
Study Elder M. Russell Ballard’s talk “O That Cunning Plan of the Evil One” (Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2010, 108–10). What did you learn? How has your loved one’s addiction impacted you? What do you feel prompted to do? Speak with someone you trust about your situation. Seek counsel from the person and make a plan to act on what you learn.
Read and study President Thomas S. Monson’s talk “We Never Walk Alone” (Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2013, 121–24). What did you learn? What evidences do you have that God is aware of your challenges and is supporting you? Make a list of the evidences you have received that God knows you. How do these evidences strengthen your faith? How can you better recognize His help?
Read President Henry B. Eyring’s talk “Where Is the Pavilion?” (Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2012, 72–75) or Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s talk “None Were with Him” (Ensign or Liahona, May 2009, 86–88). What assurances do you have that God is aware of you personally and what you are going through? What will you do to draw closer to God and seek to know that He knows and cares about you?
Read through the scriptures in this outline. What did you learn? What other scriptures would you add to the outline? How has God supported you in the past? How is He supporting you now? What can you do to better feel His love and support?
Consider the principles, promises, and peace found in these hymns: "A Mighty Fortress is Our God" (Hymns, no. 68); "Abide with Me!" (Hymns, no.166); "As Now We Take the Sacrament" (Hymns, no.169); "Come, Ye Disconsolate" (Hymns, no.115); "I Need Thee Every Hour" (Hymns, no. 98); "Jesus, Savior, Pilot Me" (Hymns, no. 104); "O, May My Soul Commune with Thee" (Hymns, no.123); "Our Savior’s Love" (Hymns, no.113); "Precious Savior, Dear Redeemer" (Hymns, no.103); "The Lord Is My Shepherd" (Hymns, no.108).