Saturday, February 10, 2018

Elder Neal A. Maxwell on learning to be of good cheer in life

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.
"My brothers and sisters, we are living in a time in which we shall see things both wonderful and awful. There is no way that we can be a part of the last days and have it otherwise. Even so, we are instructed by our Lord and Exemplar, Jesus Christ, to 'be of good cheer.' (D&C 61:36; D&C 78:18.)
"Jesus has given that same instruction to others before, when the stressful circumstances in which they found themselves were anything but cheerful. For instance, he told the original Twelve to be of good cheer when, on the surface, there was nothing to be cheerful about. (John 16:33.) The indescribable agonies of Gethsemane were imminent. Judas’s betrayal lay immediately ahead.
"Likewise, Jesus’ arrest and arraignment. The Twelve would be scattered like sheep. Jesus’ unjust and mocking trial and His terrible scourging were but hours away. The shrill and disappointing cry of the mob—to release Barabbas instead of Jesus—would soon echo in the air. Then would come the final, awful moments on Calvary!
"Therefore, how could Jesus expect the Twelve to be of good cheer? Because, the Savior said, 'In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.' (John 16:33; italics added.)"
- Neal A. Maxwell, "Be of Good Cheer," General Conference October 1982
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

"Things both wonderful and awful"—certainly a very accurate description of our time. It's easy to get caught up on the "awful" part of life and of the world around us; and perhaps that is part of the challenge we are being warned against in this message:

Truly, regardless of the circumstances in which we find ourselves, there are always wonderful things to be recognized and for which to be grateful. The key, according to Elder Maxwell, is to recognize that the Savior has overcome the world; the "awful" parts are replaced by the true and lasting joy that He offers. Therefore, He can instruct and invite us to "be of good cheer" because that cheerfulness is available in and through Him. Elder Maxwell's talk is worth reviewing to discover many wonderful suggestions on bringing that power and perspective into our lives.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2018)

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