Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Elder Neal A. Maxwell on becoming submissive to God's will

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.
"As one’s will is increasingly submissive to the will of God, he can receive inspiration and revelation so much needed to help meet the trials of life. In the trying and very defining Isaac episode, faithful Abraham 'staggered not ... through unbelief' (Rom. 4:20). Of that episode John Taylor observed that 'nothing but the spirit of revelation could have given him this confidence, and ... sustained him under these peculiar circumstances' (in Journal of Discourses, 14:361). Will we too trust the Lord amid a perplexing trial for which we have no easy explanation? Do we understand—really comprehend—that Jesus knows and understands when we are stressed and perplexed? The complete consecration which effected the Atonement ensured Jesus’ perfect empathy; He felt our very pains and afflictions before we did and knows how to succor us (see Alma 7:11–12; 2 Ne. 9:21). Since the Most Innocent suffered the most, our own cries of 'Why?' cannot match His. But we can utter the same submissive word 'nevertheless ...' (Matt. 26:39).
"Progression toward submission confers another blessing: an enhanced capacity for joy. Counseled President Brigham Young, 'If you want to enjoy exquisitely, become a Latter-day Saint, and then live the doctrine of Jesus Christ' (in Journal of Discourses, 18:247)."
- Neal A. Maxwell, "Swallowed Up in the Will of the Father," General Conference October 1995
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

For many of us, it's not easy to submit. We are proud of our knowledge and understanding, of our personal abilities and experiences. We have to learn to submit to God, to seek His will first. Elder Maxwell testified that as we learn that lesson and become more and more submissive, we will feel a growth of "inspiration and revelation" to help us deal with the trials of life. Trials will surely come; but will we have the humble submission to trust God when we don't fully understand the reasons behind our circumstances?

When we truly trust in God and have faith in His wisdom for our path in mortality, we will not worry about asking "Why?" in the midst of our trials. Instead, we will confidently move forward with the declaration of "Nevertheless." What a beautiful spirit.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2019)

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