Monday, October 17, 2016
I think the talks at General Conference are always so well suited to the times in which we live, but none more so than Elder Nelson's most recent talk, "Joy and Spiritual Survival."
He said, "As conflicts between nations escalate, as cowardly terrorists pray on the innocent, and as corruption in everything from business to government becomes increasingly commonplace, what can help us? What can help each of us with our personal struggles and with the rigorous challenge of living in these latter days?"
His answer is simple. The prophet Lehi, in the Book of Mormon, "declared boldly and without reservation a principle as revealed by the Lord: 'Men are, that they might have joy.' Imagine! Of all the words he could have used to describe the nature and purpose of our lives here in mortality, he chose the word joy!
"Life is filled with detours and dead ends, trials and challenges of every kind. Each of us has likely had times when distress, anguish, and despair almost consumed us. Yet we are here to have joy?
"Yes! The answer is a resounding yes! But how is that possible? And what must we do to claim the joy that Heavenly Father has in store for us?"
Elder Nelson teaches us that our ability to have joy, even in the face of adversity, has nothing to do with the circumstances of our lives, but everything to do with the focus on our lives.
He said, "When the focus of our lives is on God's plan of salvation, we can feel joy regardless of what is happening--or not happening--in our lives. Joy comes from and because of Him. He is the source of all joy."
"Just as the Savior offers peace that 'passeth all understanding,' He also offers an intensity, depth, and breadth of joy that defy human logic or mortal comprehension. For example, it doesn't seem possible to feel joy when your child suffers with an incurable illness or when you lose your job or when your spouse betrays you. Yet that is precisely the joy the Savior offers. His joy is constant, assuring us that our 'afflictions shall be but a small moment' and be consecrated to our gain."
To claim that joy, we must turn to Jesus Christ. We can be grateful for Him and for His sacrifice, and we can live in a way that makes us worthy of that great blessing. As we learn of Him and follow Him, He will become more real to us, and in that knowledge, the joy He promises will increase.
I know this is true. I have felt the joy that comes from faith in Jesus Christ. It has lightened my load and helped me to carry on when things were difficult. I hope you have felt that, too.
There is so much more goodness in this talk. You can read, watch, or listen to the entire thing here.
I had a big smile on my face all day yesterday because Mike was released from his very time consuming calling at church. The fact that he was home in the morning and was able to go to church with us instead of hours ahead of us definitely required a celebratory pre-church photo. And I feel like I need to clarify: Mike's shirt is blue, not purple. Weird instagram filter consequence.
posted by stephanie at 5:55 AM