Happy Sunday everyone! I was asked to speak in my singles ward today. Yep, I know what you’re all thinking. “Didn’t she just barely speak?” Yes, but that was in Stake Conference – where all the wards gather to hear speakers. So, because it was in my little ward, I felt so much more at home and comfortable. Here is my talk I gave:
I had a really hard time writing this talk. The topic I was given was pretty broad. Bishop wanted me to speak on how my testimony has grown over the last year. As I wrote it, read it, rewrote it and practiced it, I felt like the direction I needed to go is kind of a continuation of last week’s talks – which were about overcoming trials. I hope that I will have the spirit with me so I will be able to say what you need to hear and learn.
Trials are hard and obnoxious but so very important for our spiritual growth. The Lord has us learn through experiences. There are usually two kinds of trials. The first being the results of choices we make. The second is when the Lord tests us. He does this to help us learn and grow.
Richard G Scott said, “They are evidence that the Lord feels you are prepared to grow more. He therefore gives you experiences that stimulate growth, understanding, and compassion which polish you for your everlasting benefit. To get you from where you are to where He wants you to be requires a lot of stretching.”
When Christ was in the Garden, He had asked Heavenly Father to take away the task that had been given Him. But rather than having it taken away, in the end He told His Father, “If not my will, Thy will be done.” There are times when I feel the same way. Sometimes I try to bargain with Him or remind Him how that I have already learned this lesson, but eventually I just give in and mimic what my Savior said.
My sophomore year of high school was a really bad time for me. My PLE kicked into high gear, I couldn’t go to school so my grades were going downhill, I missed my friends, I was always home feeling yucky and never wanted to do anything. There is one day in particular that will always stick out to me. That day I kept asking why me, what was I thinking when I signed up for this, this is so unfair; I want a different trial…. You know what I’m talking about. All those things we say when we are having a hard time and feeling sorry for ourselves. I remember making the mistake of complaining to my dad, which is not a good thing. He grabbed his scriptures and plopped me down on the couch. He asked me to tell him why I was so upset. I told him I knew that I had a divine plan and that I once told my Heavenly Father that I was strong enough for this and that I could do it faithfully. But all I wanted was for this trial to be done so I could move on with my life. He listened and after I was done talking, all he said was, “Well, why NOT you?”
That question has changed my outlook on any trial I have had and will ever have. Instead of thinking and asking, “What did I do to deserve this?” we need to ask, “What does my Father in Heaven want me to learn from this? How will it help me become better?”
But in order to be able to ask those questions, we need to have faith. One of my very favorite stories of when Christ was on the earth is when a father brought his little boy to be blessed by the Savior. Christ said if he had faith, his son would be healed. I can imagine, he almost immediately answered, “Yes. I believe. I have faith.” But then said, “Help thou my unbelief.” I know I have felt that way in my life more times that I’d like to admit. We are so eager to receive blessings and help, we don’t often realize that we need to come to our Father with more than just a “please fix this.”
Another story that I love is found in Matthew 14. Christ appears to His disciples as He is walking on the water. Verses 27 through 31 say, “But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me to come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter came down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?”
Peter was faithful in the beginning, but as he looked around at what he was doing, he lost his faith. The act he was performing was impossible, unless he had faith in his Savior. There are times in my life where I start a trial all pumped up and eager to conquer it. But as time goes on, I find myself becoming afraid, like Peter. I find myself not knowing how I will complete the task ahead.
When Elder Bednar came for the fireside in February, there was a question about knowing what we do and whether it is out of faith or fear. I loved his response. He said that fear is the opposite of faith. If we act out of fear, it’s because we think everything that could go wrong, will. Faith is action.
Alma 32:21 says, “And now as I said concerning faith – faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true.” We all need faith to get back to our Heavenly Father. We also need faith to know that the Lord knows what He is doing and we need to trust that everything will be just fine.
Elder Worthlin once said, “It’s always okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.” I just love that. It gives me such hope. I know that we are given trials to help us, not damage us. I know that this church true. I know that our church leaders are called of God. I know that I have a Heavenly Father who loves me so much, I can’t even comprehend it. I know that He loves you too. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.