Everyday I am reminded that life isn't fair. The world is full of injustice and suffering. There are people everywhere struggling with physical, emotional, financial, and spiritual losses. There are children growing up hungry for the love and leadership of a stable parental unit. There are teenagers struggling to find meaning and identity in all the wrong places. There are women who do not understand their infinite worth. There are men floundering without the confidence that comes from gospel truths. There are children of God who are sick, neglected, lonely, undernourished, oppressed, heartbroken, confused, and dying. In these last days before the Lord's second coming, our fallen world seems to weigh even more heavily on the weary shoulders of humanity.
It is not hard to see that this is a time that calls for courage and sacrifice. We are surrounded by extraordinary occasions and pressing calls. We should not be idle when there is so much to be done, so many wrongs to be righted. But sometimes I wonder where I can put my effort so that it will not be wasted. Which charity or group or volunteer work should I be involved in? There are so many and I cannot do them all. There are many good things to do but which is the best? And will my widow's mite of service even make a dent in the injustices of mankind? Perhaps I should just cling tight to me and my own and hope that the plagues of this era pass over our door.
In this time of suffering and climate of perceived helplessness, the Lord has organized the women of His church. He has formed the Relief Society to perform His miracles, spreading relief, knowledge, and joy as the Savior did during His early ministry. He has laid down a plan in the compassionate service, visiting teaching, education, and enrichment arms of this organization that can, if we catch hold of the vision, alleviate suffering. And He has promised us that charity never faileth.
"We need not rush about trying to find things to do or causes to take up," Barbara Thompson said in last Saturday's General Relief Society broadcast. "Remember, most often the help needed is in our own homes, neighborhoods, and communities. A kind word of encouragement, a note of thanks, a phone call, a loving smile, a helpful deed, and a reminder that God loves us is often what is needed most." Those things seem like only a drop in the bucket and yet that is the Lord's plan for His children. Drop by drop we will become a cascading torrent, filling the earth with God's tender mercies.
And when I wonder if I am doing enough, when I am frustrated that I cannot fix the entire world, when I want to be do something grand and heroic, I must exercise faith in God's plan. Relief Society is His organization for the women of the world. I know it is effective and important because it is His plan. I will no longer doubt the power of Relief Society. I will no longer scorn the impact of visiting teaching. I will not deny the power of a thought-provoking lesson or activity to soften hearts and invite the Spirit. I will no longer stay my hand when I am called upon to serve in little ways. For "by small and simple things are great things brought to pass."