Friday, November 5, 2021

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland on the burdens and blessings of life

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland (b. 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.
"On this upward and sometimes hazardous journey, each of us meets our share of daily challenges. If we are not careful, as we peer through the narrow lens of self-interest, we may feel that life is bringing us more than our fair share of trials—that somehow others seem to be getting off more lightly.
"But the tests of life are tailored for our own best interests, and all will face the burdens best suited to their own mortal experience. In the end we will realize that God is merciful as well as just and that all the rules are fair. We can be reassured that our challenges will be the ones we needed, and conquering them will bring blessings we could have received in no other way.
"If we constantly focus only on the stones in our mortal path, we will almost surely miss the beautiful flower or cool stream provided by the loving Father who outlined our journey. Each day can bring more joy than sorrow when our mortal and spiritual eyes are open to God's goodness. Joy in the gospel is not something that begins only in the next life. It is our privilege now, this very day. We must never allow our burdens to obscure our blessings. There will always be more blessings than burdens—even if some days it doesn't seem so. Jesus said, 'I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly' (John 10:10). Enjoy those blessings right now. They are yours and always will be."
- Jeffrey R. Holland, "What I Wish Every New Member Knew—and Every Longtime Member Remembered," Ensign, October 2006, pp. 10-16
Click here to read the full talk

This is an important warning. It's so easy, so natural for us to constantly compare our situation with what we perceive of the situations of others around us. We know quite a bit about our own "daily challenges," and at times it can seem that we are getting more than we deserve of those problems than our friends or associates. We "peer through the narrow lens of self-interest" and compare burdens; but we often misinterpret the burdens carried by others, not realizing the weight or severity of the challenges they face.

More importantly, we forget that God is in charge, and He molds the experience of life to "our own best interests." It's so important that we learn to trust in His wisdom, His personal knowledge of each of us, and His deep and unending love.

Once we begin to open our eyes and see not just the stones in the path but the beautiful vistas that accompany it, then we begin to experience the abundant life that the Savior promised.

Joy is available NOW! Life is a great blessing, and "there will always be more blessings than burdens" if we only have eyes to see.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2021)
July 28, 2015

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