My church congregation has just started reading the Book of Mormon in 90 days (so we will finish before the end of the year). The beginning of the Book of Mormon deals with a family who leaves Jerusalem and heads to the Americas (in a very, very simplified summary). This journey takes YEARS and YEARS and along the way, many different trials happen to the family. As I've been re-reading the beginning of this book for the umpteenth time, I have been particularly impressed with a couple of things.
1). Most of the time, God gave this family a general idea of what they should do, and no specifics on how that should be accomplished. They were expected to figure it out. Or have enough faith and patience to recognize a solution when it came.
2). Those who were the most successful in the family were problem solvers. They did not dwell on things that happened in the past or things they did not have control over. They used their skills and resources and came up with the best plan possible. And guess what? That plan failed. A LOT. Their plans failed! I've been thinking about this and why God would allow them to keep failing. Or put so much time and effort into one plan, when He knew they would ultimately end up doing something else.
Ok- so keep that in mind :)
Elder Richard G. Scott passed away this past week. He was a member of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles, men who help guide the church under the direction of Jesus Christ. My favorite thing about Elder Scott was the way he loved his wife (which I'm sure most girls will say because it was LEGIT. future husband, if you exist, please love me like that). I also loved the issues that he frequently spoke of. One of my favorite talks of his, correlates with what I have been reading in the Book of Mormon.
In response to my questions, Elder Scott gave a beautiful conference address in October 1995 (which you can read here, and you should because it's incredible). So! In conjunction with my aforementioned points, lessons from Elder Scott's talk:
When you face adversity, you can be led to ask many questions. Some serve a useful purpose; others do not. To ask, Why does this have to happen to me? Why do I have to suffer this, now? What have I done to cause this? will lead you into blind alleys. It really does no good to ask questions that reflect opposition to the will of God. Rather ask, What am I to do? What am I to learn from this experience? What am I to change? Whom am I to help? How can I remember my many blessings in times of trial? Willing sacrifice of deeply held personal desires in favor of the will of God is very hard to do. Yet, when you pray with real conviction, “Please let me know Thy will” and “May Thy will be done,” you are in the strongest position to receive the maximum help from your loving Father.
The family in the Book of Mormon grew in faith as they gave into the process of learning and didn't allow their frustrations to immobilize their progress. However, those that held onto what they wanted were always halted in their journey.
I testify that when the Lord closes one important door in your life, He shows His continuing love and compassion by opening many other compensating doors through your exercise of faith. He will place in your path packets of spiritual sunlight to brighten your way. They often come after the trial has been the greatest, as evidence of the compassion and love of an all-knowing Father. They point the way to greater happiness, more understanding, and strengthen your determination to accept and be obedient to His will.
With each "door" that God closed to the family, He was guiding them toward a better life than they could have ever planned for themselves.
This life is an experience in profound trust—trust in Jesus Christ, trust in His teachings, trust in our capacity as led by the Holy Spirit to obey those teachings for happiness now and for a purposeful, supremely happy eternal existence. To trust means to obey willingly without knowing the end from the beginning (see Prov. 3:5–7). To produce fruit, your trust in the Lord must be more powerful and enduring than your confidence in your own personal feelings and experience.
I can't imagine the kind of faith this family needed to abandon everything that they had ever known to follow God's counsel.
What I've seen most through these examples of faith, both in the Book of Mormon, and through the teachings of Elder Scott, is that paramount to our successful living is the ability to trust in the Lord. My hope is that I can become that trusting. I have always loved to learn, and the amount I learn is directly correlated to the amount of faith that I have. I love the Lord and the patience He has with me as I learn to trust Him better :)
love you too much!
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