Friday, July 6, 2018

Elder Neal A. Maxwell on the life process of trusting God

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.
"The object is for our wills to be finally 'swallowed up in the will of the Father' (Mosiah 15:7), eventually bringing to us the joys gladly given by the Father and constituting 'all that He hath' (Genesis 24:36). In a very real sense, therefore, what we can take now foretells what He can give later! This reality should be kept firmly in mind as we understandably pray for relief from short-term stress or long-term trauma. We would, if we could, put periods, if not exclamation points, where God is content to put commas in the process.
"Either way, the 'process of time' is needed to facilitate our incremental improvement (Moses 7:21). Therein, individual increments of personal improvement are often scarcely discernable by themselves, yet the cumulative process moves us ever closer to Home.
"Successfully traversed, the individual Sinais of stretching can facilitate our developing and better emulating Christlike attributes. Along with receiving His ordinances and keeping our covenants with Him, each of these attributes also certifies our eventual admissibility to the celestial kingdom.
"Hence, the stretching trek requires deep faith in God's existence, deep faith in God's purposes, and also deep faith in His timing. The latter is sometimes most difficult to develop, yet 'the cross comes before the crown.'"
- Neal A. Maxwell. The Promise of Discipleship [Deseret 2001], p. 36

Perhaps among the great purposes of this mortal experience is the need for us to learn to trust God completely and perfectly. The beautiful phrase used in Abinadi's description and witness, "the will of the Son being swallowed up in the will of the Father," helps us understand that process. Eventually, as we come to truly trust Him, we'll understand that it's not about what I want, but it's about what He wants for me.

We must learn to use "the process of time" to gradually draw nearer to that perfect understanding. Those small and steady "increments of personal improvement" are the essence of eternal progress. They are the steps in developing the "Christlike attributes" that prepare us to return to Him as we learn to have faith in His timing.

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

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