Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Neal A. Maxwell on walking life's trail with faith and hope

Elder Neal A. Maxwell (1926-2004) served as a Seventy from 1976-1981, then as a member of the Quorum of Twelve until his death from cancer in 2004.
"Remember... that your faith covers all portions of life's trail. You can have clear faith in the ultimate outcomes at the end of the trail but still find vexing uncertainties in the steps immediately ahead. The Lord knows the end from the beginning and everything in between. You, however, function in the muddled, mortal middle. Both the help and comfort of the Holy Ghost are thus much needed for the short run too!
"Hence, you are to proceed with your lives within what is allotted to you, while letting adversity highlight any need for some personal and individual course corrections (see Alma 29:3). Happily, discipleship carries within itself its own witness that it is the true way of living; it is self-reinforcing....
"Pay heed, therefore, to your inborn spiritual reflexes. Use, even more, the gifts of the Holy Ghost, who can fill you with 'hope and perfect love' (Moro. 8:26). He can 'enlighten your mind, ... [and] shall fill your soul with joy' (D&C 11:13). How precious and relevant these gifts of hope, love, and joy are in any age, but certainly in yours, when so many feel unloved, hopeless, and sad!"
- Neal A. Maxwell, "These Are Your Days," Ensign, Oct 2004, pp. 26-31
Click here to read the full article

What does it mean to have faith in God? Elder Maxwell's analogy of a trail is a very instructive one. It's possible to have a good understanding of the "ultimate outcome" or destination of the trail but be uncertain about the many intermediate steps that lead there. The "muddled, mortal middle" of our overall mortal journey is where we are struggling now, and we need the help and comfort of One who knows the trail well!

I love the thought of "self-reinforcing" discipleship. As we strive to be true disciples, we will know when we get off course; adversity quickly highlights our needs for adjustments as we cease to feel the blessings of being on the proper path. Our "spiritual reflexes" will help us follow the proper trail.

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