To not take counsel from our fears simply means that we do not permit fear and uncertainty to determine our course in life, to affect negatively our attitudes and behavior, to influence improperly our important decisions, or to divert or distract us from all in this world that is virtuous, lovely, or of good report. To not take counsel from our fears means that faith in the Lord Jesus Christ overrules our fears and that we press forward with a steadfastness in Him. To not take counsel from our fears means that we trust in God’s guidance, assurance, and timing in our lives. I promise each of us can and will be blessed with direction, protection, and lasting joy as we learn to not take counsel from our fears. As we exercise faith in Christ and trust in His promises, we can walk into the dark with the absolute assurance that our pathway will be illuminated—at least far enough to take the next step—and then the next step—and the next step. One of the great lessons of my life came as I served as the president of BYU–Idaho and faced significant challenges and obstacles during the transition of Ricks College into a four-year university. I recall listening to President Hinckley on several occasions counsel doubters, cynics, and critics that “everything will work out.” And he was right. Everything worked out—even though we did not know at the time all of the details and specifics. One of the leaders of the Church once related to a group of religion instructors that not long after he had been called as a general authority someone planted a bomb at the door of the Salt Lake Temple. The bomb had exploded and knocked the large, heavy door off its hinges. He commented that the episode was chilling to him and created an anxiety and discomfort, even a fear that lasted all day. To his utter surprise, he noticed that all through the day, in the many meetings he attended with other General Authorities, no mention was made of this scary incident. Finally, at the end of the day, he asked one of the senior Brethren about the temple door, only to have his colleague remark, “Yes, we need to get that fixed, don’t we.” Then he added this important principle, one that will help each of us to be steadfast and immovable as we move into ever more troublesome days ahead: “We do not take counsel from our fears.”
Where else can you go for guidance? Where is there safety in the world today? Safety can’t be won by tanks and guns and the airplanes and atomic bombs. There is only one place of safety and that is within the realm of the power of Almighty God that he gives to those who keep his commandments and listen to his voice, as he speaks through the channels that he has ordained for that purpose. . . Let us not turn a deaf ear now, but listen to these as the words that have come from the Lord, inspired of him, and we will be safe on Zion’s hill, until all that the Lord has for his children shall have been accomplished. . . If it were not for the assurance that I have that the Lord is near to us, guiding, directing, the burden would be almost beyond my strength, but because I know that he is there, and that he can be appealed to, and if we have ears to hear attuned to him, we will never be left alone. . . I thank the Lord that I may have passed some of the tests, but maybe there will have to be more before I shall have been polished to do all that the Lord would have me do. Sometimes when the veil has been very thin, I have thought that if the struggle had been still greater that maybe then there would have been no veil. I stand by, not asking for anything more than the Lord wants to give me, but I know that he is up there and he is guiding and directing.