Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland on trusting Jesus when we face challenges

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland (born December 3, 1940) served as Church Commissioner of Education from 1976-1980, as the president of BYU from 1980-1989, as a Seventy from 1989-1994, and as a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles since 1994.
"Katie Lewis is my neighbor. Her father, Randy, is my bishop; her mother, Melanie, is a saint. And her older brother, Jimmie, is battling leukemia.
"Sister Lewis recently recounted for me the unspeakable fear and grief that came to their family when Jimmie’s illness was diagnosed. She spoke of the tears and the waves of sorrow that any mother would experience with a prognosis as grim as Jimmie’s was. But like the faithful Latter-day Saints they are, the Lewises turned to God with urgency and with faith and with hope. They fasted and prayed, prayed and fasted. And they went again and again to the temple.
"One day Sister Lewis came home from a temple session weary and worried, feeling the impact of so many days—and nights—of fear being held at bay only by monumental faith.
"As she entered her home, four-year-old Katie ran up to her with love in her eyes and a crumpled sheaf of papers in her hand. Holding the papers out to her mother, she said enthusiastically, 'Mommy, do you know what these are?'
"Sister Lewis said frankly her first impulse was to deflect Katie’s zeal and say she didn’t feel like playing just then. But she thought of her children—all her children—and the possible regret of missed opportunities and little lives that pass too swiftly. So she smiled through her sorrow and said, 'No, Katie. I don’t know what they are. Please tell me.'
"'They are the scriptures,' Katie beamed back, 'and do you know what they say?'
"Sister Lewis stopped smiling, gazed deeply at this little child, knelt down to her level, and said, 'Tell me, Katie. What do the scriptures say?'
"'They say, "Trust Jesus."' And then she was gone.
"Sister Lewis said that as she stood back up, holding a fistful of her four-year-old’s scribbling, she felt near-tangible arms of peace encircle her weary soul and a divine stillness calm her troubled heart.
"Katie Lewis, 'angel and minister of grace,' I’m with you. In a world of some discouragement, sorrow, and overmuch sin, in times when fear and despair seem to prevail, when humanity is feverish with no worldly physicians in sight, I too say, 'Trust Jesus.' Let him still the tempest and ride upon the storm. Believe that he can lift mankind from its bed of affliction, in time and in eternity.
"Oh, dearly, dearly has he loved!
And we must love him too,
And trust in his redeeming blood,
And try his works to do.
- Jeffrey R. Holland, "Look to God and Live," General Conference October 1993
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

Elder Holland is a gifted story-teller, and some of his best messages are his personal insights and experiences. This tender glimpse into a 4-year-old neighbor's thoughts, and her mother's response, is enough to melt any heart. Clearly that young girl had been well taught, and she had learned several important messages already related to the value of the scriptures and the treasure of their teachings. There aren't many messages more important for us all than "Trust Jesus."

To trust means to believe. It means to accept and follow. It means to have faith in promises of help and sustaining power. It means to rely on the merits, and mercy, and grace that are offered to us by Him. What a tender and powerful message!

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

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