Thursday, November 12, 2020

Elder Ulisses Soares on taking up our cross

Elder Ulisses Soares (born October 2, 1958 in Brazil) has served as a Seventy since April 2005, and as a member of the Presidency of the Seventy since January 2013. He was sustained to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles on April 1, 2018.
"We all face adverse circumstances in our lives that make us feel sad, helpless, hopeless, and sometimes even weakened. Some of these feelings may lead us to question the Lord: 'Why am I experiencing these situations?' or 'Why are my expectations not met? After all, I am doing everything in my power to carry my cross and follow the Savior!'

"My dear friends, we must remember that taking our cross upon ourselves includes being humble and trusting in God and in His infinite wisdom. We must acknowledge that He is aware of each of us and of our needs. It is also necessary to accept the fact that the Lord’s timing is different than ours. Sometimes we seek for a blessing and set a time limit for the Lord to fulfill it. We cannot condition our faithfulness to Him by imposing upon Him a deadline for the answers to our desires. When we do this, we resemble the skeptical Nephites from ancient times, who mocked their brothers and sisters by saying that the time was past for the fulfillment of the words spoken by Samuel the Lamanite, creating confusion among those who believed. (See 3 Ne 1:4-7) We need to trust the Lord enough to be still and know that He is God, that He knows all things, and that He is aware of each of us. (See D&C 101:16.) ...

"Brothers and sisters, I want to testify to you that taking upon us our cross and following the Savior requires us to follow His example and strive to become like Him, patiently facing the circumstances of life, denying and despising the appetites of the natural man, and waiting on the Lord. The Psalmist wrote:

"'Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord' (Psalm 27:14).

"'He is our help and our shield' (Psalm 33:20).

"I testify to you that following our Master's footsteps and waiting on Him who is the ultimate healer of our lives will provide rest to our souls and make our burdens easy and light."

- Ulisses Soares, "Take Up Our Cross," General Conference October 2019, Sunday afternoon

To his ancient disciples, the Savior said, "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me" (Matt 16:24). Learning to be obedient and submissive is, according to Elder Soares, "the price to be paid for the salvation of a soul." Many face great challenges in this life, and all of us will face some. But each of us must learn that critical lesson of taking up the cross that is given to us, and trusting in the wisdom of Him who knows intimately what cross we bear. Learning to fully trust in His wisdom and His timing is perhaps one of the most important things we must accomplish in our mortal experience.
Truly "He is aware of each of us and of our needs." But we can't set terms and conditions on God, whose knowledge and wisdom are far beyond ours. Our desire must always be to learn His will for us and follow it with obedience and submission.

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

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