The Savior quoted several passages from Isaiah during His ministry on the American continent. In one of those passages, God speaks to Israel, promising that, even if they feel abandoned now, it won’t last long:
For a small moment have I forsaken thee,
but with great mercies will I gather thee.
In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment,
but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee,
saith the Lord thy Redeemer.3 Nephi 22:7-8, Isaiah 54:7-8
Sometimes, when we are in the middle of a difficult experience, when we’re suffering and anxious, it seems like it will never end. Minutes seem like hours, and days seem like years as we struggle through circumstances we would never have chosen and which we’d rather not endure.
As Joseph Smith suffered Liberty Jail in the winter of 1839, he asked God how long this trial would last. He received the following reply:
My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;
And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.Doctrine & Covenants 121:7-8
I’m sure his suffering in that cold cell didn’t feel like “a small moment” at the time, but in the grand scheme of things, that’s what it was. And as God’s answer assured him, the price he was paying, however painful, was small compared with the blessings that were coming.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland recently gave voice to the impatience that many of us have felt during the long months of 2020:
How long do we wait for relief from hardships that come upon us? What about enduring personal trials while we wait and wait, and help seems so slow in coming? Why the delay when burdens seem more than we can bear?…
COVID and cancer, doubt and dismay, financial trouble and family trials. When will these burdens be lifted? The answer is “by and by.” And whether that be a short period or a long one is not always ours to say, but by the grace of God, the blessings will come to those who hold fast to the gospel of Jesus Christ.“Waiting on the Lord,” General Conference, October 2020
Today, I will remember that the challenges and the trials I face will not last forever. I will strive to “endure [them] well,” knowing that God’s blessings will come and that, in the end, what might seem interminable really is “but a small moment.”