Wednesday, June 15, 2016

                                            Christ is the Balm that Heals our Wounded Souls
                                                     Dr. David H. Coombs, Ed.D., MFT

     When Latter-day Saint Christians have been humbled by life’s experiences and “have been brought down low into the dust”(I Nephi 18:18), we reach out to our Redeemer to find comfort and strength. We search the scriptures for the “pleasing word of God” that we have come to know “healeth the wounded soul”(Jacob 2:8). Verses we may have read many times before stand out on the page and take on new meaning. We become converted anew to the amazing love and grace of our God. We see more clearly our foolish pride and ask again as we have many times before, that “the atoning blood of Christ be applied to us that we may receive forgiveness of our sins”(Mosiah 4:2).
What continues to amaze us is that God’s forgiveness comes “freely” as often as we sincerely repent (Mosiah 26:22)—which may include confessing to the proper priesthood authorities. God is so gracious and so merciful that we mortals have difficulty understanding His tenderness, His patience, and His long suffering towards us (See Lectures on Faith, 39). When we beg and appeal to our Father, in the blessed name of Jesus, for our “guilt to be swept away” (Enos 1:6), He does “not suffer that we beg in vain” (Mosiah 4:20). He grants  us remission of our sins and fills our hearts with joy. The wretched pain of guilt is replaced with the “sweet peace of conscience” (Mosiah 4:3).
We might ask, how do we qualify for this marvelous miracle of forgiveness? How do we apply the atoning blood of Christ to ourselves personally? The answer is found, not in going through the motions of church activity, but in accepting Jesus as our personal Savior and giving permission for His spirit to “have full sway in our hearts” (Alma 42:30). We give up “all our sins to know him” (Alma 22:18), particularly  those which so “easily beset us” (II Nephi 4:18). We pray not passively nor by rote but, “with all energy of heart” (Moroni 7:48). We become more patient and loving with our families. We are more easily entreated. We are more generous and free with our resources. We are less likely to hold on to hurt feelings as we more freely forgive others. We “feast upon the words of Christ” (II Nephi 32:3); and hunger for more. To “retain a remission of our sins” (Mosiah 4:26), we realize we cannot be good people or do good things without Christ.
We realize that the Lord is not as concerned with what we have done in the past as He is with what we are doing with our lives today. Because we are Latter-day Christians, we “no longer droop in sin” (II Nephi 4:28), but we rejoice as we “sing the song of redeeming love” (Alma 5:26). Jesus has redeemed us and His atonement is the balm that heals our wounded souls.

(Dr. Coombs is a professional therapist in Washington, Utah. He can be reached at (435) 705-3579 or email or on the web
                                                             How To Date Successfully
                                                        Dr. David Coombs, Ed.D, MFC

     The purpose of successful dating among singles is to develop one’s own relationship skills and in the process to find the right person with the qualities and interests that match their own. If they choose wisely in the courtship they increase the probability of a satisfying and rewarding marriage.          With the current divorce rate at about 50%, people need to do a better job of finding the right person for them. Too many people don’t know how to date successfully. They fall into the trap of being attracted to outward appearances; i.e. someone who is handsome or beautiful that attracts them physically. They begin to date , and their entire courtship consists of dinners, movies, and making out. In a few months they marry. With such shallow courtships, they did not get to know each other well and wonder why their marriages quickly become difficult and unmanageable, often to the point that they see divorce as the only option.
     It takes time for couples to discover if they are a good match. Many mental health professionals suggest that couples date a variety of people over a period of several years. The key to doing this is limiting hugs and kisses and no sexual contact. Once sexual feelings are aroused, people no longer think straight. Before passions skew daters thinking patterns, they must get to know each other intellectually, politically, culturally, emotionally, socially, and spiritually. Successful dating requires creativity to vary the activities to allow couples to become best friends.
     Dating ideas may include working on projects together that require problem solving skills, a little give and take, maybe sweat and tears. Do meaningful service projects. Read and discuss good books, articles, and newspapers that stimulate thinking and discussion. Serve on committees that allow you to see how well they accept responsibility for assignments and how well they follow through and show dependability. Enjoy group activities that allow you to see each others social skills.
Talk about those things that interest you as well as what is of interest to your dates. If one is more interested in sports and the other in musicals, be willing to take turns enjoying each other’s preference. 
     Notice how they treat clerks, waiters, janitors, drivers on the road, the elderly and small children. Are they patient or quick to criticize, find fault, and blame others? How do they deal with frustration, irritation and disappointments? Are they moody and often depressed or are they cheerful and optimistic? Are they disagreeable or are they willing to negotiate, compromise, and work out differences?  Do they act helpless and need rescuing? Are they domineering, demanding, controlling and manipulative?
     What is their attitude toward education and seeking careers that are emotionally and financially rewarding? Do they like to read and to learn new things? Are you spiritually compatible; do you both feel the same about  church and the level of church activity? Would you be interested in reading scriptures and other inspirational books together?
     Get to know the parents of your preferred dates. When people marry, they not only marry their sweethearts but their whole family. How will their cultural background effect your relationship? What you see in your date’s parents, good or bad, may play a role in your potential marriage.
     Dating helps you discover how honest and trustworthy they are. Do they have bad habits or addictions that need to be resolved? Notice red flags from those with addictions, such as pornography: if they say, “Yes, I’ve had a problem off and on in the past, and while I know pornography is bad, it is not that bad.” Realize, with that attitude, they have no motivation to change because, to them, the habit is not that bad. The same is true with any addictions. Would you prefer to marry on the promise the addictions will be resolved quickly or to wait and to see if the problems have really been put to rest?
     Everyone can put their best foot forward for three months, so give the relationship plenty of time to see if those you are dating are real and genuine people. You don’t want any unpleasant surprises later. 
     While it is said that opposites attract, it is also known that opposites make for more difficult marriages because there are more things to be negotiated. It is better and easier to succeed if you find those who have more in common with you.
     Unfortunately, most people select their mates from one or two options instead of getting to know a number of potential partners. You can successfully date a lot of people providing you are not physically involved. The more people you date, the more you will know what kind of personality you most enjoy.
     A common disaster happens to those good-hearted people who give and give with the hopes of having love returned in equal measure. Too often they get caught in relationships with someone who takes and takes and rarely gives back.
     Doubtless, what you get in the courtship is what you get in the marriage. It is also likely that the faults seen, but overlooked in dating, will be exaggerated in the marriage and the strengths may diminish. Therefore, “keep your eyes wide open in the courtship, and once married, you keep your eyes half closed.”
I highly recommend a book to aid those who wish to date successfully: How to Avoid Falling in Love with a Jerk, by Dr. John Van Epp, Ph.D.

Dr. Coombs is a licensed marriage and family therapist in Washington, Utah. He can be reached by calling 435-705-3579 or his email is or on the web at

                                                      I’ve Decided Not To Be Offended!
                                                     by Dr. David Coombs, Ed.D., MFC

     For years I’ve been offended by my wife’s correcting my driving. I’m either going too slow or too fast, not turning at the right place, or not parking in the best places. She tells me where to go and how to get there or warns me of a car or a pedestrian that I supposedly hadn’t seen. I tell her over and over to stop doing that. I’m not a kid. I know how to drive, and I don’t need to be reminded what to do all the time. When I scold her, for some reason, she feels hurt and there’s tension in the air. When will she ever learn?
     Finally, I put my foot down that she is not to tell me how to drive. So, not long ago, we were driving in silence, and she was being good at not correcting me. I got lost and didn’t know where we were. She broke the silence by telling me that I should have exited the freeway several exits ago but since she was sworn to silence, she didn't say anything. There were other frightening incidents, like when I nearly collided with a truck and she yelled out and saved our lives.
     Well, I learned my lesson. I realized that there are times that I do need her advice, and there are times I don’t. But, since she doesn’t know when I do or don’t, I need not be offended. If I get upset, then it is my problem. I am the one who decides if I am going to be irritated. That is my choice. I have come to the conclusion that the prices I am paying for my problem are too high.
     Therefore, I’ve decided not to be offended at anything she has to say whether it’s in the car or in the house or at anytime or any place. Wow! That  has made a big difference in our relationship. The tension has been greatly reduced, and we are enjoying more peace than ever before.
     She tells me how grateful she is for my allowing her the freedom to say what she feels without fear that I will disapprove. She tells me that my criticism affected her self-esteem because she disliked disappointing me. That was a wake-up call for me. I felt terrible that I was failing in my role of being the guardian of her self worth.
     She is a lovely woman who has devoted herself to pleasing me and doing all she can to make me feel loved, yet there I was spewing forth negative comments that made her feel unloved and unappreciated. Why did it take me so long to learn not to be easily offended?

Dr. Coombs is a professional marriage and family therapist and has a private practice in Washington, Utah. You can contact him at 435-705-3579 or email him at or on his webpage

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

                  Lessons in Faith Gleaned from the Holy Scriptures
                  A Scripture Chain of Confidence in the Lord

         When entertaining doubts and fears, read the following: 

1. "Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not" (D&C 6:36).

2. "For I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content" (Philippians 4:11).

3. "All things work together for good to them that love God" (Romans 8:28).

4. “Be still, and know that I am god” (Psalm 41:10).

5. "Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us" (Hebrews 12:1)

6. "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind" (2 Timothy 1:7).

7. "O all ye that are pure in heart, lift up your heads and receive the pleasing word of God, and feast upon his love; for ye may, if your minds are firm, forever (Jacob 3:2).

Thursday, March 31, 2016

                                                           “Face the Future With Optimism”

(Excerpts from an address given by Elder M. Russell Ballard April 6, 2012 at Brigham Young University-Idaho Commencement Services)

As I prepared for this talk today, I asked for guidance to know what message our Heavenly Father would want me to share with you. The calming and assuring words spoken by the Lord to Joseph Smith came to my mind: “Be of good cheer, for I will lead you along. The kingdom is yours…and the riches of eternity” (D&C 78:18).

What I believe the Lord wants me to tell you is that you should replace fear with faith—faith in God and the power of the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ. I can remember as a young 13-year-old boy coming home from priesthood meeting on Sunday, December 7, 1941, to learn from my parents that Japan had just bombed Pearl Harbor. This propelled the United States into a world war that had already been raging in Europe for two years. It seemed like life as we knew it was going to come to an end. There was much uncertainty as many young men were swept up into military service. However, now just as then, amidst all of the conflicts, struggles, and evil influences in the world, there is still much of good. 

As you think about your future, you should be filled with faith and hope. Always remember that Jesus Christ, the creator of the universe, the architect of our salvation, and the head of this Church is in control. He will not permit His work to fail. He will be victorious over all darkness and evil. And He invites us all, members of His Church and others who are the honest in heart, to join in the battle for the souls of men. Along with all else we will do in life, we must also dedicate and consecrate our heart, might, mind, and strength to His cause, walking in faith and working with conviction.

Face the future with optimism. I believe we are standing on the threshold of a new era of growth, prosperity, and abundance. Barring a calamity or unexpected international crisis, I think the next few years will bring a resurgence in the economy as new discoveries are made in communication, medicine, energy, transportation, physics, computer technology, and other fields of endeavor.

Many of these discoveries, as in the past, will be the result of the Spirit whispering insights into and enlightening the minds of truth-seeking individuals. Many of these discoveries will be made for the purpose of helping to bring to pass the purposes and work of God and the quickening of the building of His kingdom on earth today. With these discoveries and advances will come new employment opportunities and prosperity for those who work hard and especially to those who strive to keep the commandments of God. This has been the case in other significant periods of national and international economic growth.

Before the Savior’s second coming—and based on His divine timetable—the gospel must be taken to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people until it fills the whole earth. And as the Prophet Joseph declared, “no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the great Jehovah shall say the work is done” (Documentary History of the Church, Vol. 4, 540).

As the gospel is carried to the billions of spiritually hungry souls, miracles will be performed by the hand of the Lord. Missionaries of many nationalities will serve the Lord throughout the earth. New chapels and many more temples will be built to bless the Saints as pre-millennial growth has been prophesied. 

You may ask, “Where will the financial resources come from to fund this growth?” The resources will come from faithful members like you through your tithes and offerings. As you graduates do your part, the Lord will bless you with prosperity and the wisdom to keep your mind focused on what matters most in your life: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:13). 

So, for yet a season, possibly a short season, it will seem as though the windows of heaven will have truly opened so that “there shall not be room enough to receive it” (Malachi 3:10). I believe you graduates sitting here today will be active participants in temporal blessings if you keep the commandments of the Lord. With prosperity will come a unique challenge—a test that will try many of you to your spiritual core. As you step into this new world of prosperity and engage in converting your education into financial success, you will always have to control wants vs. needs.

You will have two choices. Will your motivation to build and acquire the blessings of the Lord be for personal gratification, the recognition of men, for power, influence and self-aggrandizement? Or will your motive be to glorify God, working to help usher in the growth and expansion of His Church?

Those who seek riches to build up their own egos will find their treasure to be slippery and easily lost in unwise ways. The welfare of their souls will be in great jeopardy. Jacob, the obedient younger brother of Nephi warned us concerning this wealth:
“And the hand of providence hath smiled upon you most pleasingly, that you have obtained many riches…yet you are lifted up in the pride of your hearts, and wear stiff necks and high heads because of the costliness of your apparel…do ye suppose that God justifieth you in this thing? Behold I say unto you, Nay. But he condemneth you, and if ye persist in these things his judgments must speedily come unto you…let not this pride of your hearts destroy your souls!  (Jacob 2:13-14,16).
Jacob then put our motivation to acquire wealth in the proper perspective with a promise:
“But before ye seek for riches, seek ye for the kingdom of God.

“And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches, if ye seek them; and ye will seek them for the intent to do good—to clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted” (Jacob 2: 18-19).
The Lord is not telling us that we should not be prosperous or that prosperity is a sin or is evil. On the contrary, He has always blessed the obedience of His people with prosperity. He is telling us that we should seek prosperity only after we seek, find, and serve Him. Then, because our hearts are right, because we love Him first and foremost, we will choose to invest the riches we obtain in building His kingdom.

If you choose to seek riches for the sake of riches, you will fall short. You will never be satisfied.  You will be empty, never finding true happiness and lasting joy. The trial of your faith, my dear brothers and sisters, in the next few years to come will likely not be that you lack the material things of this world. Rather it will be in choosing what to do with the temporal blessings you may receive.

Of you and your generation, President Ezra Taft Benson said: “For nearly six thousand years, God has held you in reserve to make your appearance in the final days before the Second Coming…God has saved for the final inning some of His strongest children, who will help bear off the kingdom triumphantly…You are the generation that must be prepared to meet your God” (“Stalwart and Brave We Stand,” quoted by Marvin J. Ashton, Ensign, November 1989, 36).

Brothers and sisters, to be a vital part of the marvelous work and wonder in these last days, you must submit your will to God, letting it be swallowed up in His will.  As you press forward “with a steadfastness in Christ,” with a “brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men...feasting upon the word of Christ,” (2 Nephi 31:20) searching diligently, praying always, and believing, then, as the Lord promises, “all things will work together for your good” (see D&C 90:24).

So, I urge you to make a commitment to yourself and to Heavenly Father to dedicate your life and consecrate your time and talents to the building up of the Church of Jesus Christ in anticipation of the Savior’s second coming. Let the motive of your thoughts and actions be to glorify God and to bless your fellowman. Let this desire inspire you to greet each new morning with enthusiasm, let it fuel your thoughts and actions throughout each day. If you do this, you will be blessed in the midst of a world that is fast losing its way, and you and your loved ones will be secure and happy. This does not mean that you will not face trials and tests, but it does mean you will have the spiritual power to handle them with faith and trust in the Lord.

My dear graduates, the purpose of my message is to help you envision your future. Have faith and hope for the bright future you face as you leave BYU-Idaho and move on to your next great adventure. You young men are the future fathers, “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9). You young women are the future mothers and nurturers of God’s own spirit sons and daughters.

For both men and women, one of your top priorities is to find your eternal companion, if you have not already done so. Marriage in the temple will provide you with a companion to help you stay on the right path that leads back to the presence of our Heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. You are the generation that will continue the preparation for the Second Coming.
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Monday, March 28, 2016

                                                         Perfectionism makes life more difficult
                                                          Dr. David H Coombs, Ed.D., MFT

     A fine line separates those wanting to do well and those wanting to win Olympic Gold Medals. I am always amazed at those athletes who sacrifice family, friendships, education, careers, marriage, postpone children and so many other things; they give up what most people consider a normal life.  They pay a price I would not be willing to pay nor would I want any of my children to pay. Yet, I must add, I admire them for their drive, commitment, diligence, and years of hard work. I also feel compassion for those athletes whose scores are just seconds away from the medalists.
     Perfectionistic people often have difficulty being happy. Some who strive compulsively to do all things well find life burdensome and challenging. They often feel guilt and depression. Perfectionism afflicts high achievers and those who feel that, to be valued, they must successfully achieve in all ways: economically, academically, athletically, artistically, politically, or physically.  If our worth is dependent on achieving, then do we harshly judge those who are mentally and/or physically handicapped and are dependent upon others to take care of them? Are they not valued? 
Are they not of worth? We are more than what we do; we are valued because we exist. 
     If we were raised by perfectionistic parents, then we undoubtedly were taught maxims like:  “Give 100% in all that you do.”  “If it is worth doing, it is worth doing right.”  “Practice makes perfect.”  While there is some truth to these statements, when carried to the extreme, they drive us unmercifully and create significant feelings of inadequacy. 
     What if these statements were restated as follows:  “Some things will get our best efforts, others a lick and a promise.”  “Many things are worth the time and effort to do well; some are not.”  “Practice does not always lead to perfection (there are so few perfect things in this life), but it will improve performance.”  
     We want to be diligent but must not run faster than we have strength.  The challenge is finding the balance.  We could be lazy and do nothing, but most of us want to work hard; however, we don’t want to be so overwhelmed that we suffer from depression and despair.  While most of us feel the urgency to grow and to develop, we must not expect to achieve more than what is realistic.
     The reason we often feel inadequate, incomplete, and imperfect is because we are. Mortals are made this way. Rather than exaggerate our feelings of inadequacy and guilt, we can be grateful we are aware of our humanity.  It would be awful if we lived in denial of the fact that we are all flawed. Facing these realities makes it clear that no one can live independently of others. We all need each other.
     When perfectionistic people strive to do their best, they often feel dissatisfied because there is always more to do. They feel they are forever falling short and must run faster, work harder, and do more in less time.  This approach to life can be exhausting and can lead to excessive worry and low self-esteem.  
     “Letting go and letting God” is a phrase heard often to remind us that when we are full of anxiety, we are holding on too tightly. The amazing paradox to all this is that we are happier people when we develop the courage to let go and to humbly accept ourselves as imperfect people. We give up unnecessary guilt, experience more peace, and feel increased self-acceptance.  We are more tolerant of ourselves and less susceptible to emotional burnout. We learn to appropriately love and forgive ourselves and others. Amazingly, we find more pleasure in our accomplishments even if we don’t have gold medals around our necks.

Dr. Coombs is a professional marriage family, and individual counselor and has a private practice in Washington city. Call 435-705-3579 or email to or on the web at
                                                          “Doubt Not, Fear Not”
                                                   Dr. David Coombs, Ed.D., MFT

     Worry and fear cripple our ability to lead happy and productive lives. And there is a direct relationship between fear and a lack of faith in God; “Perfect love casteth out all fear” (Moroni 8:16). Just as the Lord said to Joshua, "I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee"(Joshua 1:5), he has promised us all that if we will put our trust in Him, He will make us equal to any and all tasks. The Lord has repeatedly said, "Look unto me in every thought, doubt not, fear not" (Doctrine and Covenants 6:36). He has reminded us over and over that “the righteous need not fear.” In II Nephi 22:18-22, the Lord repeats words of comfort to the righteous, particularly the saints of the latter-days, that they need not fear.
     Being well aware that mortality is sometimes very scary, Heavenly Father has given many needed assurances, particularly to those who strive to keep all of His commandments, and even to those who “seek so to do” (Doctrine and Covenants 46:9). This last thought provides heaven-sent comfort.  
We mortals forget that we walk in full view of our loving Heavenly Father and are never out of His sight. He is always aware of us and knows our needs. He has assured us that He will always stand by us and, additionally, has assigned angels to be on our right hand and on our left, and has placed His Spirit in our hearts to buoy us up and to give us constant strength (see Doctrine and Covenants 84:88). With this assurance why should we ever be afraid?
     We demonstrate a lack of faith when we frighten ourselves with "what if" questions that lead to awful and devastating conclusions. We all may choose to ask a myriad of “What ifs” that do nothing but create doubts, fears, anxiety and despair. We also may choose to remember the old preacher’s greeting to each new day: “Lord, help me to remember that nothing is going to happen to me today that you and I together can’t handle”(Source unknown).
     We disobey the command to "Let virtue garnish [our] thoughts unceasingly"(Doctrine and Covenants 121:45) when we think the worst about ourselves, recall painful memories of the past, worry about our current circumstances, fill our minds with negative images, and overwhelm our hearts with dread. The power of the atonement of Christ allows us to feel clean from the past, fortified for the present, and confident of our future. We must change our "what ifs" to "so whats" and know that "All things work together for good to them that love God" (Romans 8:28). When worries and fears creep into our hearts, let us remember to follow the counsel in Proverbs 3:5-6: "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths." 
     Are we not in good hands as we lean and wait upon the Lord? Of course we must seek to be obedient and to do all in our power to bring about much righteousness, then we can let go of our worries and let God take charge of our lives. We want our will to be swallowed up in His will. Elder Neal Maxwell pointed out that, since our Father has given us everything we have, then the one gift that is truly ours to give in return is our will (October Conference Report 1995, 30). There is peace only in surrendering our all to Him who promises His all in return. 
     Sometimes our fears come because we have created a fantasy of our own personal Camelot and plead with Heavenly Father to make it all possible. We are easily frightened when the Lord is late or says no to us; we forget that He is much wiser, has eternal perspective, and knows what is best for us. We must also have faith in His perfect timing. He is “a God of truth and canst not lie” (Ether 3:12). His promises are certain. He will not fail us nor forsake us as we continue to serve and love Him. He has promised the faithful "peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come" (Doctrine and Covenants 59:23).  As we look to the future with an eye of faith, we come to know all that we need to know: our future is glorious. President Monson coined the phrase, “Be of good cheer. The future is as bright as your faith” (April General Conference 2009).
     We burden our families and create black clouds that hang over them when we wallow in fear and doubt. If one of our fears is not having sufficient money, then the surest way to solve financial concerns is in the faithful payment of tithes and offerings. We are promised that as we do so we will always have enough and to spare (see Malachi 3:10). The Lord looks after his own. 
     Of course, we can’t pay tithing and then heap unwise debt on ourselves and expect God to make our payments. But he will inspire us to budget and often leads us to get more training and to find better paying jobs.
     Maintaining positive images helps us overcome our fears; for example, we may want to consider what the Lord said to Oliver Cowdrey as recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 6:20: “Be faithful and diligent in keeping the commandments of God, and I will encircle thee in the arms of My love.” Now that is a mental image that can be a powerful source of great comfort!
     It is possible that one of the most frequently repeated commands is “Fear not.” Mark 5:23-43 tells a touching story of Jairus, ruler of the synagog, who pleaded for the life of his desperately ill daughter and urgently invited the Lord to come quickly to his home to heal her. On the way Jesus was interrupted, and by the time he arrived the twelve-year-old little girl was dead.  Jairus sent word to the Savior that He was too late. Jesus response was “Be not afraid, Only believe.” The Lord continued to the house and raised the girl from the dead. But even if the miracle sought by the father had not been granted, the command to “be not afraid, [but] only believe” was applicable to the father then and still applies to us all today. Being believers does not shield us from the pain and challenges of life, but it does give us the resources to deal with whatever life throws at us.
     In his book, Way to Be!: 9 Rules for Living the Good life, 81, President Gordon B. Hinckley said: “In my ninety-plus years, I have learned a secret. I have learned that when good men and good women face challenges with optimism, things will always work out! Truly, things always work out! Despite how difficult circumstances may look at the moment, those who have faith and move forward with a happy spirit will find that things always work out.” Notice that he said “things always work out” three times? That’s powerful.
     Many have been inspired by the hymn, “How Firm a Foundation,” noting the third verse, “Fear not, I am with thee, oh, be not dismayed, For I am thy God and will still give thee aid. I’ll strengthen thee, help thee and cause thee to stand, Upheld by my righteous omnipotent hand.”(Hymn 85).
     The Apostle Paul developed an exemplary attitude as recorded in Philippians 4:11: “For I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” It is easy to compare our situation with others in such a way that we feel that God has abundantly blessed others but not us. Yet we know He is no respecter of persons: in other words, he does not love one more than another. 
     All persons have divinely designed curriculums suited to teach them what they particularly need to learn as they go through their mortal probation. (Neal Maxwell, All These Things Shall Give Thee Experience, 6) This life is a test to see if we can endure to the end with our faith in God well developed and fully intact, being “submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon [us], even as a child doth submit to his father” (Mosiah 3:19).
     In the Lectures on Faith, third chapter, it states that our faith is not complete till we have the assurance that we are living lives that are pleasing before God. Only those who “doeth the works of righteousness shall receive his reward, even peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come” (Doctrine and Covenants 59:23).
     Paul wrote to Timothy, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (II Timothy 1:7). Having a sound mind is holding on to appropriate thoughts that are edifying and uplifting. Maybe this is what Jacob had in mind when he said, “O all ye that are pure in heart, lift up your heads [apparently Jacob was speaking to good people whose heads were hanging down probably due to negative or inappropriate self-talk] and receive the pleasing word of God, and feast upon his love; for ye may, if your minds are firm forever” (Jacob 3:2). Those who have minds that are firm are those who are steadfast and immoveable in holding to the thoughts that push away doubts and fears and replace them with “the pleasing word of God.” 
     King Benjamin’s classic address offers these great words of comfort: “Moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it” (Mosiah 2:41).
     We are the sum total of our thoughts. We can think thoughts that are fearful and create doubt and anxiety. Or we can feast upon the words of the Living God, plant them firmly in our minds, and be free from all fear. Why not follow the admonition offered by King Benjamin: “Believe in God; believe that he is . . . believe that he has all wisdom, and all power . . . that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend . . . believe that ye must repent of your sins and forsake them, and humble yourselves before God; and ask in sincerity of heart that he would forgive you; and now if ye believe all these things see that ye do them” (Mosiah 4:9-10).

Dr. Coombs is a professional marriage, family and individual therapist in Washington, Utah. Call 435-705-3579 or email to or find him on the web at