Shawn Andreasen, a pharmacist at BYU-Idaho’s Student Health Center, gave his devotional address, “Sure Provisions,” on Nov. 23 in the BYU-Idaho Center.
He emphasized the importance of trusting in God, whether we receive the specific blessings we ask for or not.
He shared the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who refused to worship a golden image. Their refusal to comply angered King Nebuchadnezzar, who threw them into a fiery furnace. They responded with faith, trusting that God had the power to deliver them but also being willing to die for their beliefs if necessary.
In Daniel 3:17-18, they said, “If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.”
Andreasen discussed how trials and difficulties come to all people, no matter how righteous they are, and he referred to moments of trusting in God even if things don’t work out as “but if not” moments.
“The righteous are rewarded, but not necessarily preserved in this life,” Andreasen said. “For each of us, it won’t always be a life-or-death situation we have to endure, but trials come sooner or later, and often in multiples. We must each apply ‘But if not’ daily as we determine if we are to stay on the covenant path, no matter what comes our way. I testify that the Lord has given us many helps or provisions to assist us in such moments.”
He shared three sources of help that have pulled him through the “but if not” moments in his life.
1. The help of others
Andreasen described a time in his life when his son, Brian, had a brain tumor. Andreasen expressed gratitude for the service his family received from ward members and friends during that time.
He invited students to look for others to serve, even during times of personal hardship.
“No matter your own current trials and ‘but if not’ moments, I invite you to prayerfully consider who you can serve and lift up during their moment of hardship,” Andreasen said. “I testify that God will answer your prayers, and guide you to that person, and direct you as to what you can do to aid them in their current struggle, and by doing so, your own struggles will become easier to bear.”
2. The help of angels
Andreasen explained that God offers heavenly help and looks out for His children through the help of angels.
He quoted Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, who said in a talk, “From the beginning down through the dispensations, God has used angels as His emissaries in conveying love and concern for His children. … Usually such beings are not seen. Sometimes they are. But seen or unseen they are always near. Sometimes their assignments are very grand and have significance for the whole world. Sometimes the messages are more private. Occasionally the angelic purpose is to warn. But most often it is to comfort, to provide some form of merciful attention, guidance in difficult times.”
3. The help of Christ’s Atonement
Andreasen encouraged students to utilize the Atonement in their lives as a source of healing, because Jesus Christ understands what they are going through.
“Jesus Christ knows perfectly what we go through as He has experienced all things as part of His incomprehensible Atonement,” Andreasen said. “What love. What power this gives us. Christ perfectly knows all of our pains, our illnesses, afflictions and temptations. Everything. Do we really internalize this?”