Saturday, July 11, 2015

Today's Challenges

I have always loved Neal A. Maxwell. I think I have every one of the books he wrote and have read all his conference talks many times. On 1 September, 1974, he gave a fireside at BYU entitled But For A Small Moment, which is also the title of one of his books. He talks about challenges:

"So much is about to happen in which you will be involved and concerning which you will have some great influence. It is because you will face some remarkable challenges in your time; it is because the Church has ceased to be in the eyes of men a mere cultural oddity in the Mountain West and is now, therefore, a global church--a light which can no longer be hid; it is because you have a rendezvous with destiny that will involve some soul stretching and some pain that I have chosen to speak to you tonight about the implications of two things we accept sometimes quite casually. These realities are that God loves us and, loving us, has placed us here to cope with challenges which he will place before us.

I'm not sure we can always understand the implications of his love, because his love will call us at time to do things we may wonder about, and we may be confronted with circumstances we would rather not face. I believe with all my heart that because God loves us there are some particularized challenges that he will deliver to each of us. He will customize the curriculum for each of us in order to teach us the things we most need to know. He will set before us in life what we need, not always what we like. And this will require us to accept with all our hearts - particularly your generation - the truth that there is divine design in each of our lives and that you have rendezvous to keep, individually and collectively.

God knows even now what the future holds for each of us. In one of his revelations these startling words appear, as with so many revelations that are too big, I suppose, for us to manage fully: "In the presence of God, . . .all things . . . are manifest, past, present, and future, and are continually before the Lord." (D&C 130:7) The future "you" is before him now. He knows what it is he wishes to bring to pass in your life. He knows the kind of remodeling in your life and mine that he wishes to achieve. Now, this will require us to believe in that divine design and at times to accept the truth which came to Joseph Smith wherein he was reminded that his suffering would be "but a small moment" (D&C121:7)."

There is so much more wonderful stuff there - the talk is many pages long but I was struck by a couple of things as I read the first page. The word challenges jumped out at me because today we are facing some mountainous challenges in protecting not only our personal freedoms, but our religious freedoms. I'm afraid we have some "tough challenges" ahead and I don't think it will be an easy thing to get out of our comfort zones and make a stand. But I do not doubt that we will have to do that.

The other thing that really struck me was: "He will customize the curriculum for each of us in order to teach us the things we most need to know."  I believe that he knows what I can do and am capable of becoming - with His help. I also know that my own vision of that probably falls far short of His vision for me. My next thought was: which of the challenges that I most fear are the ones that He has prepared for me? Is there something I'm supposed to do in this new war we are fighting for our very freedoms?

This has given me much food for thought. I never in my wildest dreams thought I would see in my lifetime our precious freedoms being taken away, one by one, and feel so terribly helpless to prevent it. But I feel so strongly that this is a fight we must make here and now. Will I have the courage, the knowledge to do what might be my role? 

Just some disconcerting, very unsettling thoughts Elder Maxwell stirred up for me today.

1 comment:

Cheri J. Crane said...

I have always loved the messages in Elder Maxwell's talks and books. Very thought provoking. Thanks for sharing. =)