Friday, October 7, 2016

Ezra Taft Benson on enduring in righteousness

President Ezra Taft Benson (1899-1994) was called to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 1943, and served as the 13th President of the Church from 1985 until his death in 1994 at age 94.
"When George A. Smith was very ill, he was visited by his cousin, the Prophet Joseph Smith. The afflicted man reported: 'He [the Prophet] told me I should never get discouraged, whatever difficulties might surround me. If I were sunk into the lowest pit of Nova Scotia and all the Rocky Mountains piled on top of me, I ought not to be discouraged, but hang on, exercise faith, and keep up good courage, and I should come out on the top of the heap.'
"There are times when you simply have to righteously hang on and outlast the devil until his depressive spirit leaves you. As the Lord told the Prophet Joseph Smith: 'Thine adversity and thine afflictions, shall be but a small moment;
"'And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high.' (D&C 121:7-8.)
"To press on in noble endeavors, even while surrounded by a cloud of depression, will eventually bring you out on top into the sunshine. Even our master Jesus the Christ, while facing that supreme test of being temporarily left alone by our Father during the crucifixion, continued performing his labors for the children of men, and then shortly thereafter he was glorified and received a fullness of joy. While you are going through your trial, you can recall your past victories and count the blessings that you do have with a sure hope of greater ones to follow if you are faithful. And you can have that certain knowledge that in due time God will wipe away all tears and that 'eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.' (1 Cor. 2:9.)"
- Ezra Taft Benson, "Do Not Despair," Ensign, Nov. 1974, p. 65
Click here to read the full talk

How do we deal with discouragement and disappointment in our lives? President Benson discusses the concept of "hanging on" in spite of the challenges. This quote is insightful:

Note that it's not just hanging on, but also exercising faith and keeping up good courage. I think the faith is a crucial part of the solution. President Benson adds the encouragement to "outlast the devil until his depressive spirit leaves you." And then he shares the Savior's reassurance that eventually we will realize that the trials are really "a small moment" in the scope of eternity.

The other key is hope—the confidence that it will all be worth it in the end. President Benson reminds up to acknowledge current blessings and to retain the assurance, even ?a sure hope of greater ones to follow if you are faithful."

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