Saturday, January 16, 2016

Dallin H. Oaks on strength from Christ to heal or to endure

Elder Dallin H. Oaks (b. August 12, 1932) served as president of BYU from 1971-1980.  He was then appointed as a justice of the Utah Supreme Court, and resigned when he was called to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 1984.
"At the beginning of His ministry, Jesus explained that He was sent 'to heal the brokenhearted' (Luke 4:18). The Bible often tells us of His healing people 'of their infirmities' (Luke 5:15; 7:21). The Book of Mormon records His healing those 'that were afflicted in any manner' (3 Nephi 17:9). The Gospel of Matthew explains that Jesus healed the people 'that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses' (Matthew 8:17).
"Isaiah taught that the Messiah would bear our 'griefs' and our 'sorrows' (Isaiah 53:4). Isaiah also taught of His strengthening us: 'Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee' (Isaiah 41:10).
"Thus, we sing:
   Fear not, I am with thee; oh, be not dismayed,
   For I am thy God and will still give thee aid.
   I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand, …
   Upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.

   ('How Firm a Foundation,' Hymns, no. 85.)
"Speaking of some of his own mortal challenges, the Apostle Paul wrote, 'I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me' (Philippians 4:13).
"And so we see that because of His Atonement, the Savior has the power to succor—to help—every mortal pain and affliction. Sometimes His power heals an infirmity, but the scriptures and our experiences teach that sometimes He succors or helps by giving us the strength or patience to endure our infirmities."
- Dallin H. Oaks, "Strengthened by the Atonement of Jesus Christ," Ensign, November 2015, pp. 61-64
Click here to read the full talk

The message of the Savior's gospel is one of healing: of "infirmities" as well as the heart, our sorrows and our mourning. I love that reassuring, hope-filled, faith-filled verse from "How Firm a Foundation" that is drawn almost word-for-word from Isaiah's declaration. And what can match Paul's ringing witness of his confidence in help:

So the divine help is offered to all of us, to heal and to help. This second perspective of succoring through trials is also faith-affirming:

We don't get to choose whether we are healed, or whether we are strengthened to endure for a season. But the eventual outcome will be the same!

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