Saturday, June 5, 2010

"For Times of Trouble"

I read Elder Jeffrey R. Holland's address For Times of Trouble this morning. I just wandered across his book "However Long and Hard the Road" and this was the first chapter, so I sat down and read it. I'm so grateful that I did. To help you wander across it as well, here is a link to a transcription of the actual talk.

And here are some highlights:

    "Remember, (quoting F. Scott Fitzgerald) "Trouble has no necessary connection with discouragement -- discouragement has a germ of its own." 
     To those who are trying hard and living right and things still seem difficult, I say, take hard. Others have walked that way before you.  Read Noah again. Go out there and take a few whacks on the side of your ark and see what popularity was like in 2500 B.C.
     Does the wilderness stretch before you in a never-ending sequence of semesters? Read Moses again. Calculate the burden of fighting with the pharaohs and then a forty-year assignment in Sinai. Some tasks take time. Accept that. But as the scripture says, “They come to pass.” They do end. We will cross over Jordan eventually. Others have proven it. I stand before you as a living symbol that anyone can make it through school, fill a mission, and find a job.
     Are you afraid people don’t like you? The Prophet Joseph Smith could share a few thoughts with you on that subject. Has health been a problem? Surely you will find comfort in the fact that a veritable Job has led this Church into one of the most exciting and revelatory decades of this entire dispensation. President Kimball has known few days in the last thirty years that were not filled with pain or discomfort or disease. Is it wrong to wonder if President Kimball has in some sense become what he is not only 
in spite of the physical burdens but also in part because of them? Can you take courage from your shared sacrifice with that giant of a man who has defied disease and death, has shaken his fist at the forces of darkness and cried when there was hardly strength to walk, “Oh, Lord, I am yet strong. Give me one more mountain” (see Joshua 14:11–12).
     Do you ever feel untalented or incapable or inferior? Would it help you to know that everyone else feels that way too, including the prophets of God? Moses initially resisted his destiny, pleading that he was not eloquent in language. Jeremiah thought himself a child and was afraid of the faces he would meet.
     And Enoch? I ask all of you to remember Enoch as long as you live. This is the young man who, when called to a seemingly impossible task, said, “Why is it that I have found favor in thy sight, [I] am but a lad, and all the people hate me; for I am slow of speech?” (Moses 6:31).
     Enoch was a believer. He stiffened his spine and squared his shoulders and went stutteringly on his way. Plain old, ungifted, inferior Enoch. And this is what the angels would come to write of him:
     And so great was the faith of Enoch that he led the people of God, and their enemies came to battle against them; and     he spake the word of the Lord, and the earth trembled, and the mountains fled, even according to his command; and the rivers of water were turned out of their course; and the roar of the lions was heard out of the wilderness; and all nations feared greatly, so powerful was the word of Enoch, and so great was the power of the language which God had given him. [Moses 7:13]
     Plain old, inadequate Enoch—whose name is now synonymous with transcendent righteousness. The next time you are tempted to paint your self-portrait dismal gray, highlighted with lackluster beige, just remember that in like manner have this kingdom’s most splendid men and women been tempted. I say to you as Joshua said to the tribes of Israel as they faced one of their most difficult tasks, “Sanctify yourselves: for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you” (Joshua 3:5)."


You can change anything you want to change, and you can do it very fast. That’s another satanic suckerpunch—that it takes years and years and eons of eternity to repent. It takes exactly as long to repent as it takes you to say, “I’ll change”—and mean it. Of course there will be problems to work out and restitutions to make. You may well spend—indeed you had better spend—the rest of your life proving your repentance by its permanence. But change, growth, renewal, and repentance can come for you as instantaneously as for Alma and the sons of Mosiah. Even if you have serious amends to make, it is not likely that you would qualify for the term, “the vilest of sinners,” which is the phrase Mormon uses in describing these young men. Yet as Alma recounts his own experience in the thirty-sixth chapter of the book that bears his name, his repentance appears to have been as instantaneous as it was stunning.
     Do not misunderstand. Repentance is not easy or painless or convenient. It is a bitter cup from Hell. But only Satan, who dwells there, would have you think that a necessary and required acknowledgment is more distasteful than permanent residence. Only he would say, “You can’t change. You won’t change. It’s too long and too hard to change. Give up. Give in. Don’t repent. You are just the way you are.” That, my friends, is a lie born of desperation. Don’t fall for it."

(Go read it all... for me to include anymore, I'd have to include the whole thing!)

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