Saturday, April 29, 2017

Elder Neal A. Maxwell on the eternal perspective of life's challenges

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.
"One's life, therefore, cannot be both faith-filled and stress-free. President Wilford Woodruff counseled us all about the mercy that is inherent in some adversity: 'The chastisements we have had from time to time have been for our good, and are essential to learn wisdom, and carry us through a school of experience we never could have passed through without.' (In Journal of Discourses, 2:198.)
"Therefore, how can you and I really expect to glide naively through life, as if to say, 'Lord, give me experience, but not grief, not sorrow, not pain, not opposition, not betrayal, and certainly not to be forsaken. Keep from me, Lord, all those experiences which made Thee what Thou art! Then let me come and dwell with Thee and fully share Thy joy!'
"Serving, studying, praying, and worshiping are four fundamentals in perfecting 'that which is lacking in [our] faith.' (1 Thes. 3:10.) If we cease nurturing our faith in any of these four specific ways, we are vulnerable."
- Neal A. Maxwell, "Lest Ye Be Wearied and Faint in Your Minds," Ensign, May 1991, p. 88
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

This was one of the many masterful messages from one of the most gifted orators of our dispensation, full of nuggets of insight and inspiration.  Elder Maxwell certainly had a wise perspective on eternity, that enabled him to interpret the mortal experience in light of so much more than the short-term frustrations and concerns. Without the "chastisements" of mortality, in the words of President Woodruff, we would not be gaining the wisdom and experience necessary for our growth. That understanding helps us see how unwise we would be to avoid the intermittent pain and opposition of life: Truly, our life "cannot be both faith-filled and stress-free."

Elder Maxwell shares "four fundamentals in perfecting" our faith:
  • serving
  • studying
  • praying
  • worshiping
We must not stop nurturing faith in any of these areas! That would be an excellent area for self-examination.

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