18 October 2016

A Thought Provoking Sunday

This Sunday we had a really uplifting church service. If you've never been to a sacrament meeting with a congregation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons), you should add it to your bucket list. The talks given by members after the sacrament was passed were so brave and honest. Then Scott and I went to a teacher's council meeting where we discussed ideas on how to improve challenges extended to class members that are open and allow for agency and varying spiritual progression. The Relief Society lesson talked about charity and how we can show more love to our neighbor. Then that night we attended a special meeting where they announced that our ward boundaries were shifting slightly and a few families would now be attending another ward, including the presidents of three of our ward auxiliaries. A lot to ponder!

One of the sisters that I serve(d) with in the Relief Society presidency gave a talk on Sunday that truly moved me. She began her talk by saying, "How many of us would love to be able to have a magic wand that we could wave like Harry Potter to give us all of our righteous desires? ... Three years ago I had the privilege to hear Elder Oaks from this very pulpit. I have not forgotten one of the things he told us. He said, 'We are children of a God. We have a heavenly father and mother. He reminded us to have hope. You cannot have everything you desire in morality, but you can have everything you desire in the eternity. But you must desire it more than your desires of the world. We have the capacity to become whatever we desire in all eternity.'" This sister reminded us that the purpose of this life is not to get everything we desire, which means that at times we won't be blessed with the righteous desires of our hearts.

She then shared some words from Elder Neal A. Maxwell in a talk given at our church's General Conference in April 2000.  He admonished us in that conference to be content and find purpose in the space allotted to us in life. That's not to say we should stop progressing, stretching, and striving for something more, but rather that we should, as he put it, "do what we can within our allotted 'acreage,' while still using whatever stretch there may be in any tethers."

Elder Maxwell went on to say, "The Lord knows our circumstances and the intents of our hearts, and surely the talents and gifts He has given us. He is able to gauge perfectly how we have performed within what is allotted to us, including by lifting up some of the many surrounding hands that hang down. Thus, yearning for expanded opportunities while failing to use those at hand is bad form spiritually."

I needed to hear that, and I know others felt the same words applied to their current prayers. I know that Heavenly Father loves us and wants us to be happy, but that doesn't mean he's going to give us answers in the way we expected. It was clear from the messages this Sunday that I need to be more observant to see the opportunities at hand that might still accomplish my righteous desires.