Monday, September 20, 2021

Elder Neal A. Maxwell on recognizing God's plan for our lives

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.
"I have been mercifully granted what might be called a 'delay en route.' Whether short or long, it is a wonderful blessing from the Lord! I have thereby learned, however, that there is another side to the 'Why me?' question, since some are not granted any 'delay en route' at all. Whichever side of that question, what is needed is mortal submission, even when there is no immediate divine explanation. Thus we are to press forward, whatever the length of the near horizon, while rejoicing in what awaits us on the far horizon....
"Mortality presents us with numerous opportunities to become more Christlike: first, by coping successfully with those of life's challenges which are 'common to man[kind]' (1 Cor. 10:13). In addition, there are also our customized trials such as experiencing illness, aloneness, persecution, betrayal, irony, poverty, false witness, unreciprocated love, et cetera. If endured well now, 'all these things' can be for our good and can 'greatly enlarge the soul,' including an enlarged capacity for joy (D&C 122:7; D&C 121:42). Meek suffering often does the excavating necessary for that enlarging! My admiration goes to my many spiritual superiors who so exemplify for us all. In the world to come, to these, the most faithful, our generous Father will give 'all that [He] hath' (D&C 84:38). Brothers and sisters, there isn't any more!"
- Neal A. Maxwell, "Apply the Atoning Blood of Christ," Ensign, November 1997, p. 22
Click here to read the full article

Elder Maxwell was diagnosed with leukemia in 1996. Against the odds, he was in remission by the time he spoke in the October 1997 general conference. As he discussed his "delay on route" he must have had particularly poignant feelings. I'm fascinated by his insight into the "why me?" question. We usually think of that when we're struggling or suffering; but we rarely do when we feel blessed or spared. I acknowledge a number of both types of "why me?" instances in my own life—but actually, quite a few more of the blessing kind!

And then this beautiful comment about faith and perspective:

The second part of this process is Elder Maxwell's description of "numerous opportunities to become more Christlike" that includes the variety of challenges we encounter. Things that "greatly enlarge the soul" also enlarge its capacity to experience joy. "Meek suffering often does the excavating necessary for that enlarging!" Elder Maxwell knew whereof he spoke, based on his recent experiences when he gave this address. But in conclusion, and perhaps in another of those "why me?" type of scenarios, there is this ultimate promise:

The perspective of eternity will surely illuminate, clarify, and even justify what we view as the trials of mortality.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2021)
May 18, 2015

No comments:

Post a Comment

// Customization to close archive widget on first view - DK 3/15