Thursday, October 15, 2020

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland on hope through the gospel of Jesus Christ

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.
"My beloved brothers and sisters, Christianity is comforting, but it is often not comfortable. The path to holiness and happiness here and hereafter is a long and sometimes rocky one. It takes time and tenacity to walk it. But, of course, the reward for doing so is monumental. This truth is taught clearly and persuasively in the 32nd chapter of Alma in the Book of Mormon. There this great high priest teaches that if the word of God is planted in our hearts as a mere seed, and if we care enough to water, weed, nourish, and encourage it, it will in the future bear fruit 'which is most precious, … sweet above all that is sweet,' the consuming of which leads to a condition of no more thirst and no more hunger. (Alma 32:42)

"Many lessons are taught in this remarkable chapter, but central to them all is the axiom that the seed has to be nourished and we must wait for it to mature; we '[look] forward with an eye of faith to the fruit thereof.' (Alma 32:40) Our harvest, Alma says, comes 'by and by.' (Alma 32:42) Little wonder that he concludes his remarkable instruction by repeating three times a call for diligence and patience in nurturing the word of God in our hearts, 'waiting,' as he says, with 'long-suffering … for the tree to bring forth fruit unto you.' (Alma 32:43)

"COVID and cancer, doubt and dismay, financial trouble and family trials. When will these burdens be lifted? The answer is 'by and by.' (Alma 32:42) And whether that be a short period or a long one is not always ours to say, but by the grace of God, the blessings will come to those who hold fast to the gospel of Jesus Christ. That issue was settled in a very private garden and on a very public hill in Jerusalem long ago."

- Jeffrey R. Holland, "Waiting on the Lord," General Conference October 2020, Sunday afternoon

Elder Holland has had his own personal challenges recently. During the past few months, he was hospitalized; and as he gave this talk he clearly seemed to be less strong and vigorous than in the past. But his faith, his characteristic warmth, and his heartfelt witness of the Savior were as powerful as ever. He spoke authentically about the many challenges we face in mortality, and the questions often raised about God's ability or willingness to intervene on our behalf.

In these closing paragraphs, he sums up his message. We will face challenges in life, but there is always hope for those who have faith in Jesus Christ.

The faith expressed in "by and by" echoes in the heart of every true Saint. All is well; God is in charge. His grace is available and is sufficient for all our needs.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2020)

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