This Thanksgiving time finds the world outside (and maybe inside) our homes in utter chaos. Natural disasters, political rivalries and uncertainties, advancing secularism, a war which no one seems to understand. And yet, the world has seen many such times in the past and pulled through, because the Kingdom of God is not yet fully established on the earth. We have been assured by our prophets that the Kingdom of God will never be taken from the earth again.
What is the answer to the encroaching fears we feel? King Benjamin gives us the key in Mosiah 4:11-12:
. that as ye have come to the knowledge of the glory of God, or if ye have known of his goodness and have tasted of his love, and have received a remission of your sins, which causeth such exceedingly great joy in your souls, even so would that ye should remember, and always retain in remembrance, the greatness of God, and your own nothingness, and his goodness and long-suffering towards you unworthy creatures, and humble yourselves even in the depths of humility, calling on the Lord daily, and standing steadfastly in the faith of that which is to come . . .
And behold, I say unto you that if ye do this ye shall always rejoice, and always retain a remission of your sins; and ye shall grow in the glory of him that created you, or in the knowledge of that which is just and true.
What particular experiences have you had in your life that have forged your testimony, that have shown you that God is there? Do you always retain them in remembrance? I believe it is too easy to let them slip away and get thrown in the laundry with all your unwashed clothing.
And yet, they are the foundation of your testimony and should stand forever bright before you. They may be little things. They may be great things. Have you written them down? Have you shared them with your family and with others whose testimony may be flagging?
Take some time to ponder and reflect and if you haven’t done so, record them: the times you have tasted the knowledge of the glory of God, have known of the goodness and have tasted of his love and received a remission of his sins. Surely, this Thanksgiving season would be a good time to preserve these moments and to share them.
A Bright and Shiny Remembrance
God didn’t forget a lonely girl living in Austria with her university program. She did not have much background in the Gospel, and yet she was living, virtually unsupervised, in a large hotel in the Alps with eighty other students. She was the only one who was not experimenting with drugs and “free love.” All of her love and attention was focused on her boyfriend, who was studying in England.
She wrote of all the experiences she was having from a Greek revolution to a heart-rending visit to Auschwitz. He was her other half, her confidant and she loved him with all the ardency of a first love. Every night she settled under her duvet with a warmth in her breast – she was loved.
Then, one day a letter came. The boyfriend admitted unfaithfulness and told her that “two trees living so close together could not thrive.” It was over. She was standing quite still in the middle of the room when the blow fell. The pain was excruciating – far beyond anything she had ever known. Through her mind the thoughts raced: “If that wasn’t love, then there surely was not such a thing as love. If love – that supposedly mighty power of the universe – did not exist, then God did not exist. And if God did not exist, there was no purpose to life, no purpose to suffering this intolerable pain.”
She was walking towards her razor blades, when a thundering came from her locked door, “Let me in! Let me in! It’s Deon.” When the broken-hearted girl let her friend in, she was astonished at her tears and tight embrace. “What’s wrong? Tell me what’s wrong! I was sitting in the library and the worst feeling came over me. I knew I had to race up here and save you from something. What is it?”
The broken-hearted girl was, of course, me, and that was the real foundation of my testimony that there is a God. What a miracle!
I keep it shiny and bright in my collection of remembrances of the goodness of God to me. There are so many, when I start to remember.
I know that each of you have such moments when you knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is a God on high, and that He remembers each of you.
Rejoicing Leads Us to the Savior
The greatest gift He can give us, is of course ? as King Benjamin says ? a remission of our sins. And this is a gift we can have on a daily basis. How can we not rejoice that such a gift is ours, that our future is bright not one of bleakness and hopelessness, no matter what we are currently experiencing in the world.
As Elder Scott said in his conference address, “The Foundation of Correct Decisions”:
Righteous character is what you are becoming . It is more important than what you own, what you have learned, or what goals you have accomplished. It allows you to be trusted. Righteous character provides the foundation of spiritual strength. It enables you in times of trial and testing to make difficult, extremely important decisions correctly even when they seem overpowering.
So, this tells us that rejoicing in truth is like stepping stones to a righteous character, because we will go from truth to truth. I am very different from that spiritually poor young woman in Austria. Using that experience as a base, I have climbed a ladder, with experiences with my Heavenly Father and my Savior as the rungs. I have become during this climb. Though I am far from the top, I have finally achieved the level where the trust Elder Scott discusses has been given to me.
Faith is what enables us to climb that ladder and faith is forged by recognition and gratitude for all those intimacies we have experienced with our Savior that were “just for us.” As Elder Scott goes on to say, “He makes us feel loved, appreciated, valuable, and dear to Him.”