Friday, April 15, 2016

Jeffrey R. Holland on blessings and strength from God's love

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.
"My brothers and sisters, the first great commandment of all eternity is to love God with all of our heart, might, mind, and strength—that’s the first great commandment. But the first great truth of all eternity is that God loves us with all of His heart, might, mind, and strength. That love is the foundation stone of eternity, and it should be the foundation stone of our daily life. Indeed it is only with that reassurance burning in our soul that we can have the confidence to keep trying to improve, keep seeking forgiveness for our sins, and keep extending that grace to our neighbor.
"President George Q. Cannon once taught: 'No matter how serious the trial, how deep the distress, how great the affliction, [God] will never desert us. He never has, and He never will. He cannot do it. It is not His character [to do so]. … He will [always] stand by us. We may pass through the fiery furnace; we may pass through deep waters; but we shall not be consumed nor overwhelmed. We shall emerge from all these trials and difficulties the better and purer for them.' (George Q. Cannon, 'Remarks,' Deseret Evening News, Mar. 7, 1891, 4.)
"Now, with that majestic devotion ringing from heaven as the great constant in our lives, manifested most purely and perfectly in the life, death, and Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ, we can escape the consequences of both sin and stupidity—our own or that of others—in whatever form they may come to us in the course of daily living. If we give our heart to God, if we love the Lord Jesus Christ, if we do the best we can to live the gospel, then tomorrow—and every other day—is ultimately going to be magnificent, even if we don’t always recognize it as such. Why? Because our Heavenly Father wants it to be! He wants to bless us. A rewarding, abundant, and eternal life is the very object of His merciful plan for His children! It is a plan predicated on the truth 'that all things work together for good to them that love God' (Romans 8:28). So keep loving. Keep trying. Keep trusting. Keep believing. Keep growing. Heaven is cheering you on today, tomorrow, and forever."
- Jeffrey R. Holland, "Tomorrow the Lord Will Do Wonders among You," General Conference, April 2016, Sunday afternoon session
Click here to read the full talk

Elder Holland often speaks from a tender heart, as he did in this wonderful message. I was deeply touched as he shared this insight, showing how the "first great commandment of all eternity" relates to the "first great truth of all eternity." Our love of God is, in fact, a response to His eternal and unending love of us. And that love is fundamental to our success and happiness in this life.

I have also appreciated the quote from President George Q. Cannon about God's unwillingness and even inability to "desert us" in the midst of our trials; I shared a previous entry in this blog based on that excerpt.

In the final measure, there are always plenty of challenges in our daily living. But Elder Holland puts all that in eternal perspective by reminding us that if we do the best we can, each day truly will be magnificent and the blessings and growth will flow. We just have to "press forward with a perfect brightness of hope" knowing that "Heaven is cheering [us] on" and God will never forsake us.

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