Sunday, August 7, 2016

Harold B. Lee on the process of soul-training in life

President Harold B. Lee (1899-1973) was called to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 1941. He served as a counselor in the First Presidency from 1970-1972, then as Church president from July 1972 until his passing less than 18 months later in December 1973.
"Guided by faith taught by the word of God, we view life as a great process of soul-training. Under the ever-watchful eye of a loving Father, we learn by 'the things which we suffer,' we gain strength by overcoming obstacles, and we conquer fear by triumphant victory in places where danger lurks [see Hebrews 5:8]. By faith, as the word of God teaches, we understand that whatever contributes in life to the lofty standard of Jesus—'Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect' (Matthew 5:48)—is for our good and for our eternal benefit even though into that molding may go the severe chastening of an all-wise God, 'For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.' (Hebrews 12:6.)
"Thus schooled and drilled for the contest with the powers of darkness and with spiritual wickedness, we may be 'troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.' (2 Corinthians 4:8-9.)"
- Harold B. Lee, "Stand Ye in Holy Places," p. 339

Life is a "process of soul-training." That a beautiful and instructive phrase! It's not a series of random events or unrelated coincidences. When we are "guided by faith" as we learn from God's word, then we see those events and coincidences as parts of a divinely-directed process to help us train our souls as He understands best.

That soul-training can, on occasion, include harder things: suffering, obstacles, fear, danger, chastening. How we respond to those events and circumstances helps determine the training we experience through the guidance of God. With faith, we allow Him to mold us into the kind of soul that Paul describes in the final scripture quotes—one who can confront those obstacles without distress or despair, knowing that in the hands of the Eternal Soul Trainer, all will work together for our good and our gain.

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