Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Elder Neil L. Andersen on compensatory blessings in a world of evil

Elder Neil L. Andersen (born August 9, 1951) served as a Seventy beginning in 1993, and was called to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 2009.
"As evil increases in the world, there is a compensatory spiritual power for the righteous. As the world slides from its spiritual moorings, the Lord prepares the way for those who seek Him, offering them greater assurance, greater confirmation, and greater confidence in the spiritual direction they are traveling. The gift of the Holy Ghost becomes a brighter light in the emerging twilight.
"To understand better, think of these comparisons: If the world were growing more physically dark, He could give us enhanced night vision. If loud noises were constantly in our ears, He could give us a filtering mechanism to block the unwanted sound. If the race we were running was extended, He could give us increased lung and muscle capacity. If the exam we were taking was more difficult, He could quicken our minds—a blessing many here at BYU would like to receive.
"My brothers and sisters, as evil increases in the world, there is a compensatory power, an additional spiritual endowment, a revelatory gift for the righteous.
"This added blessing of spiritual power does not settle upon us just because we are part of this generation. It is willingly offered to us; it is eagerly put before us. But as with all spiritual gifts, it requires our desiring it, pursuing it, and living worthy of receiving it. 'For what doth it profit a man if a gift is bestowed upon him, and he receive not the gift?' (D&C 88:33)
"Faith is the muscle of spiritual knowledge and power. Faith is a spiritual gift of God, but it is developed and magnified as we eagerly pursue our journey of embracing and following the Savior."
- Neil L. Andersen, "A Compensatory Spiritual Power for the Righteous," BYU Devotional, Aug. 18, 2015
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

The idea of "compensatory spiritual power" is an interesting one. Elder Andersen suggests that as God sees evil is increasing dramatically in the world we live in today, He offers to us greater endowments of spirit and strength to compensate and give us greater endurance and resistance. These added gifts can offer "greater assurance, greater confirmation, and greater confidence" in our times of need.

The examples of temporal compensatory blessings given by Elder Andersen (light in darkness, filtering to block noise, physical strength in a race, enhanced memory in a test) help us see the meaning of the spiritual gift he is suggesting. Basically, that "additional spiritual endowment" is "a revelatory gift for the righteous."

But Elder Andersen points out that the gift does not come automatically to us because of living in this time. Like any spiritual gift, we must "seek earnestly" in order to obtain it. We must "eagerly pursue our journey of embracing and following the Savior."

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2017)

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