Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Jeffrey R. Holland on prayer and faithful endurance

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland (1940- ) served as Church Commissioner of Education from 1976-1980, as the president of BYU from 1980-1989, as a Seventy from 1989-1994, and as a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles since 1994.
"Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ—that is the first principle of the gospel. We must go forward, as it says in K. Newell Dayley's hymn commemorating our pioneers of the past, 'with faith in ev'ry footstep' (see Ensign, January 1997, 15). But like those pioneers, you do have to keep taking them—one step and then another and then the next. That is how tasks are accomplished, that is how goals are achieved, and that is how frontiers are conquered. In more divine language, that is how worlds are created and it is how your world will be created.
"God expects you to have enough faith and determination and enough trust in Him to keep moving, keep living, keep rejoicing. In fact, He expects you not simply to face the future (that sounds pretty grim and stoic); He expects you to embrace and shape the future—to love it and rejoice in it and delight in your opportunities.
"God is anxiously waiting for the chance to answer your prayers and fulfill your dreams, just as He always has. But He can't if you don't pray, and He can't if you don't dream. In short, He can't if you don't believe."
- Jeffrey R. Holland, "Terror, Triumph, and a Wedding Feast," CES fireside address, 12 September 2004; reprinted as "This, the Greatest of All Dispensations," Ensign, Jul 2007, pp. 52-58
Click here to read the full talk
It's easy to persist, easy to move forward, even easy to endure, when we feel strong, the road is smooth, and conditions are pleasant. It's a whole different story to keep taking steps when each one is filled with agony, frustration, loneliness, or confusion. The concept of "faith in every footstep" is a crucial one; most of us have periods in life when it's only because we have faith that we are able to continue moving.

I love Elder Holland's example and encouragement of what that faith is all about.  God actually expects us "to have enough faith and determination and enough trust in Him to keep moving, keep living, keep rejoicing." Not just to plod along in stoic endurance, but to "keep rejoicing." That is a profound vision of the nature of this life.

And this is a tender and beautiful expression of a Father's willingness to help us, if only we ask in faith:

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