I spoke in church today and usually I don’t really write out my talks but this one I did. I spoke with Howard and Dan as I was working on this talk. They’re both in it. I liked the talk.
Earning the Trust of the Lord
Today I am speaking about Earning the trust of the Lord. I learned a lesson about gaining that trust as I prepared this talk. I wanted to give an exciting, inciteful, funny talk and wanted to do it on my terms. I struggled as I tried to put the talk together because I was not placing my trust in the lord. After thinking about the subject for days and finally praying that I could say the words the Lord wanted me to share rather than my own I knew how to address this subject.
I’ll start by talking about my friend Matt. He’s been my best friend since I was 19 years old. If there is one person that I’ve seen more sunsets with than my wife it would be him. He recently started a blog on the internet entitled embracing powerlessness. The purpose of his writings are to explain how he embraced his powerlessness over addiction and turned it all over to God. He could not overcome addiction until he realized that he did not have power over it. He knew that no matter how hard he worked, no matter how many scriptures he read and no matter how much he prayed he could not overcome the addiction if he tried to do so under his own power. It was not until he embraced the atonement of christ and turned his burden over to the Lord that he was able to begin a real recovery. When my friend put his full trust in the Lord and stopped trying to put his trust in his own strength he began to find real peace. When I talked with him about trust he said, “All relationships are based on trust. When we place our trust in our Heavenly Father his trust is naturally placed in us.”
So to gain our Heavenly father’s trust we must first trust in him. Placing our trust in our father in heaven is easy when things are going well. Its like when a teacher gives nothing but A’s I always think, “Now that is a great teacher.” It is when a teacher begins to give me poor grades that I begin to question his/her qualifications to teach and intelligence.
Elder Scott addressed facing adversity by saying, “When you face adversity, you can be led to ask many questions. Some serve a useful purpose; others do not. To ask, Why does this have to happen to me? Why do I have to suffer this, now? What have I done to cause this? will lead you into blind alleys. It really does no good to ask questions that reflect opposition to the will of God. Rather ask, What am I to do? What am I to learn from this experience? What am I to change? Whom am I to help? How can I remember my many blessings in times of trial? Willing sacrifice of deeply held personal desires in favor of the will of God is very hard to do. Yet, when you pray with real conviction, “Please let me know Thy will” and “May Thy will be done,” you are in the strongest position to receive the maximum help from your loving Father.”
After all we are taught in Proverbs 3-11-12
11 ¶My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord; neither be weary of his correction:
12 For whom the Lord loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.
When my daughter Elsie was a newborn infant she developed torticollis. Basically it meant that her head preferred to look in one direction and the muscles in her neck were unusually tight. Babies with torticollis can develop flat spots on their heads and rigid muscles that may eventually require surgery to release the tension. The doctor instructed us to stretch Elsie’s neck several times each day. In Elsie’s young life there was nothing she liked less than having her neck stretched. Three times a day Elsie would scream and her mom or me pinned her down to the changing table and stretched her neck. I found myself one day saying something like this to Elsie, “Elsie, I’m your father and I love you. I’m stretching your neck because it needs to be stretched. This discomfort now will prevent future pain and discomfort. Elsie I am causing you this discomfort because I love you.” I told her this but she still continued to scream. Elsie knew that I loved her but she wasn’t sure that I really knew what I was doing. Elsie didn’t understand that at that moment I had better understanding of her life than she did. Elsie couldn’t see what I could see and she continued to scream every time we stretched her neck until we no longer had to.
Elder Scott taught, “We are like infants in our understanding of eternal matters and their impact on us here in mortality. Yet at times we act as if we knew it all. When you pass through trials for His purposes, as you trust Him, exercise faith in Him, He will help you. That support will generally come step by step, a portion at a time. While you are passing through each phase, the pain and difficulty that comes from being enlarged will continue. If all matters were immediately resolved at your first petition, you could not grow. Your Father in Heaven and His Beloved Son love you perfectly. They would not require you to experience a moment more of difficulty than is absolutely needed for your personal benefit or for that of those you love.”
I spent about an hour last night talking to another very good friend named Dan. Dan and I served in the same mission together and afterwards we were roommates at BYU. I used to describe Dan as the best guy I know. About one year into his mission his father succumbed to cancer and died. Dan’s father had be battling cancer since Dan was 7 years old. He was not surprised by the death but he was saddened. He flew home for one day for his father’s funeral primarily because no one in his father’s family was a member of the church and Dan’s stake president felt like he needed to be there. He attended the funeral and then he returned to the mission field. Dan served the remainder of his mission with honor. He was one of my leaders in the mission field. I knew that if Dan could serve the Lord even after not having the opportunity to say goodbye to his father, I could too. Dan put his trust in the Lord and when he got back home he did all he could to get into BYU. Dan could see that even though the Lord let his father die that there was still a plan for Dan. He told me last night that he knew that being on a mission was exactly where the Lord wanted him to be. I know Dan plans to see his father again and embrace him in the celestial kingdom. His father wouldn’t have wanted him to be anywhere else but serving that mission
My favorite hymn is “A poor wayfaring man of grief.” I can’t sing the hymn and not get tears in my eyes. It’s the only hymn I know how to play on the guitar. (it only consists of two chords so its not too difficult). The narrator of the hymn frequently sacrifices his own comfort to take care of the poor wayfaring man of grief. His own needs are placed secondary and each time he first takes care of the wayfaring man the narrator feels peace and reward. Sleeping on the ground in his own home feels like sleeping in Eden. Finally it is revealed that the poor wayfaring man was in fact the Savior. Through selfless sacrifice the narrator of the hymn gained the trust of the Lord and felt the joy of his service.
I’m not the first person to love this hymn. On June 27, 1844 Joseph and Hyrum Smith were incarcerated in Carthage Jail with John Taylor and Willard Richards. The hymn had not been introduced in Nauvoo long before but it had become one of Joseph’s favorites. Joseph asked John Taylor to sing the hymn and when he finished Hyrum asked him to sing it again. Not long after the second singing the mob attacked. Willard Richards was not hit with any bullets but the other three men were. “Hyrum was shot first and fell calmly, exclaiming: I am a dead man! Joseph leaped from the window and was shot in the attempt, exclaiming: O Lord my God! They were both shot after they were dead in a brutal manner.” John Taylor was also wounded with four balls but was saved by Willard Richards taking him into an adjascent room as the mob hurriedly left the scene following the maryrdom of Joseph and Hyrum.
Joseph’s entire life was an example of gaining the trust of the Lord. Joseph built his trust over time and with great effort. Sometimes he faltered but in the end the Lord was able to accomplish a great work through him. Joseph prayed with real faith and received a visitation from his father in Heaven and Jesus Christ. Through faith and trust Joseph received the Book of Mormon. Joseph’s trust in God faltered as he let Martin take the Manuscript for the Book of Mormon. Joseph’s trust was restored and God’s trust in him restored as he was able to complete the translation. Joseph gradually became a great prophet with a true trust in Jesus Christ. In liberty Jail God taught Joseph a great lesson concerning this trust.
5 If thou art called to pass through tribulation; if thou art in perils among false brethren; if thou art in perils among robbers; if thou art in perils by land or by sea;
6 If thou art accused with all manner of false accusations; if thine enemies fall upon thee; if they tear thee from the society of thy father and mother and brethren and sisters; and if with a drawn sword thine enemies tear thee from the bosom of thy wife, and of thine offspring, and thine elder son, although but six years of age, shall cling to thy garments, and shall say, My father, my father, why can’t you stay with us? O, my father, what are the men going to do with you? and if then he shall be thrust from thee by the sword, and thou be dragged to prison, and thine enemies prowl around thee like wolves for the blood of the lamb;
7 And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.
8 The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?
Elder Scott also taught, “This life is an experience in profound trust—trust in Jesus Christ, trust in His teachings, trust in our capacity as led by the Holy Spirit to obey those teachings for happiness now and for a purposeful, supremely happy eternal existence. To trust means to obey willingly without knowing the end from the beginning (see Prov. 3:5–7). To produce fruit, your trust in the Lord must be more powerful and enduring than your confidence in your own personal feelings and experience.”
We have no greater example of trusting our Father in Heaven than Jesus Christ. Heavenly Father had a perfect trust in Jesus because Jesus had a perfect trust in him. When Christ faced his greatest challenge in the Garden of Gethsemene he prayed, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt” (Matt. 26:39). I can testify to you that this prayer was said in perfect sincerity with a perfect trust in his Father in Heaven… (I shared my testimony at this point.)