Thursday, August 24, 2017

Elder Robert D. Hales on the Lord as the ultimate caregiver

Elder Robert D. Hales (born August 24, 1932) served as a Seventy from 1976 to 1985, when he was called as a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles.
"When we are experiencing pain, the caregiver is a very important part of the recovery process. Attentive doctors, nurses, therapists, a loving spouse, parents, children, and friends comfort us when we are ill and speed our recovery process. There are times when, no matter how independent we may be, we must entrust others with our care. We must surrender ourselves to them. Our caregivers are those who assist in the healing process.
"The Lord is the ultimate caregiver. We must surrender ourselves to the Lord. In doing so, we give up whatever is causing our pain and turn everything over to Him. 'Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee' (Ps. 55:22). 'And then may God grant unto you that your burdens may be light, through the joy of his Son' (Alma 33:23). Through faith and trust in the Lord and obedience to His counsel, we make ourselves eligible to be partakers of the Atonement of Jesus Christ so that one day we may return to live with Him.
"As we put our faith and trust in the Lord, we must battle our pain day by day and sometimes hour by hour, even moment by moment; but in the end, we understand that marvelous counsel given to the Prophet Joseph Smith as he struggled with his pain of feeling forgotten and isolated in Liberty Jail:
"'My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;
"'And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes' (D&C 121:7-8).
"My dear brothers and sisters, when pain, tests, and trials come in life, draw near to the Savior. 'Wait upon the Lord, ... look for him' (Isa. 8:17; 2 Ne. 18:17). 'They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint' (Isa. 40:31). Healing comes in the Lord's time and the Lord's way; be patient.
"Our Savior waits for us to come to Him through our scripture study, pondering, and prayer to our Heavenly Father. Great blessings and lessons come from overcoming adversity. As we are strengthened and healed, we can then lift and strengthen others with our faith. May we be instruments in the Lord's hands in blessing the lives of those in pain."
- Robert D. Hales, "Healing Soul and Body," General Conference, October 1998; see Ensign, Nov. 1998, 14
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

The role of caregiver is an important and almost sacred one. When someone faces serious struggles with physical health or handicaps, they often require assistance in basic needs that we normally take for granted in life. Sometimes the need for help is temporary and short-lived; sometimes it is chronic and extended. A caregiver can be a trained medical professional, or it can be a loving family member or friend who lends assistance in the time of need. They truly "assist in the healing process" when possible, or just help to bear the burdens that can't be relieved.

Acknowledging that we each have needs in our spiritual and emotional lives, we recognize that the Lord can function as that kind of caregiver who provides succor and sustaining when we have no where else to turn. Learning to accept and access His assistance is critical in our times of pain and sorrow.

The critical task for us is to learn to draw near to Him in times of need. Elder Hales explains that through our acts of worship and devotion, we gain strength and assistance from the Savior. As we survive and overcome those times, we are then prepared to become the caregiver that can bless others in the future. It's a beautiful process of receiving and giving.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2017)

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