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For a Little Season: Moving Forward with Life When Life Doesnt Seem to Move Forward


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Title: For a Little Season: Moving Forward with Life When Life Doesnt Seem to Move Forward

For a Little Season Moving Forward with Life
When Life Doesnt Seem to Move Forward
  • Scott C. Esplin
  • Church History and Doctrine
  • Brigham Young University
  • 2009 OPAC Conference

Misunderstandings in Scripture
  • Think of prominent misunderstandings or
    misinterpretations in scripture, times when the
    person or people misunderstood the Lords will
    for them.

What patterns or lessons do you see?
Doing Right at the Right Time
  • In all the important decisions in our
    lives, what is most important is to do the
    right thing. Second, and only slightly behind
    the first, is to do the right thing at the
    right time. People who do the right thing
    at the wrong time can be frustrated and
    ineffective. They can even be confused about
    whether they made the right choice when what was
    wrong was not their choice but their timing. . .
    . Faith means trusttrust in Gods will, trust
    in His way of doing things, and trust in His
    timetable. We should not try to impose our
    timetable on His.
  • Dallin H. Oaks, Ensign, Oct. 2003, p. 10

The Whys of Life
  • 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.
  • Richard G. Scott, Conf. Report, Oct. 1995, p. 18

What Am I to Change?
  • Facing Fear with Faith
  • DC 9
  • DC 67
  • Moving Forward Without an Answer
  • DC 5826-27
  • DC 605 6122 625, 7
  • How to Act For the Present Time
  • DC 483-6 5116-17

Facing Fear with Faith
  • I would like to have a dollar for every
    person in a courtship who knew he or she
    had felt the guidance of the Lord in that
    relationship, had prayed about the experience
    enough to know it was the will of the Lord,
    knew they loved each other and enjoyed each
    other's company, and saw a lifetime of wonderful
    compatibility ahead--only to panic, to get a
    brain cramp, to have total catatonic fear sweep
    over them. They "draw back," as Paul said, if not
    into perdition at least into marital paralysis.

Facing Fear with Faith
  • I am not saying you shouldn't be very careful
    about something as significant and serious as
    marriage. And I certainly am not saying that a
    young man can get a revelation that he is to
    marry a certain person without that young woman
    getting the same confirmation. I have seen a lot
    of those one-way revelations in young people's
    lives. Yes, there are cautions and considerations
    to make, but once there has been genuine
    illumination, beware the temptation to retreat
    from a good thing. If it was right when you
    prayed about it and trusted it and lived for it,
    it is right now. Don't give up when the pressure
    mounts. You can find an apartment. You can win
    over your mother-in-law. You can sell your
    harmonica and therein fund one more meal. It's
    been done before. Don't give in. Certainly don't
    give in to that being who is bent on the
    destruction of your happiness. He wants everyone
    to be miserable like unto himself. Face your
    doubts. Master your fears. "Cast not away
    therefore your confidence." Stay the course and
    see the beauty of life unfold for you.
  • Jeffrey R. Holland, BYU Speeches, March 2, 1999

What Am I to Change?
  • Facing Fear with Faith
  • DC 9
  • DC 67
  • Moving Forward Without an Answer
  • DC 5826-27
  • DC 605 6122 625, 7
  • How to Act For the Present Time
  • DC 483-6 5116-17

Moving Forward Without an Answer
  • Usually the Lord gives us the overall
    objectives to be accomplished and some guidelines
    to follow, but he expects us to work out most of
    the details and methods. The methods and
    procedures are usually developed through study
    and prayer and by living so that we can obtain
    and follow the promptings of the Spirit. Less
    spiritually advanced people, such as those in the
    days of Moses, had to be commanded in many
    things. Today those spiritually alert look at the
    objectives, check the guidelines laid down by the
    Lord and his prophets, and then prayerfully act
    -- without having to be commanded in all
    things. This attitude prepares men for godhood.
    . . . (cont.)

Moving Forward Without an Answer
  • Sometimes the Lord hopefully waits on his
    children to act on their own, and when they
    do not, they lose the greater prize, and
    the Lord will either drop the entire matter
    and let them suffer the consequences or else
    he will have to spell it out in greater
    detail. Usually, I fear, the more he has to spell
    it out, the smaller is our reward.
  • Ezra Taft Benson, C.R., April 1965, p. 121-122

Moving Forward Without an Answer
  • What do you do when you have prepared
    carefully, have prayed fervently, waited a
    reasonable time for a response, and still do
    not feel an answer? You may want to express
    thanks when that occurs, for it is an evidence
    of His trust. When you are living worthily and
    your choice is consistent with the Saviors
    teachings and you need to act, proceed with
    trust. As you are sensitive to the promptings of
    the Spirit, one of two things will certainly
    occur at the appropriate time either the stupor
    of thought will come, indicating an improper
    choice, or the peace or the burning in the bosom
    will be felt, confirming that your choice was
    correct. When you are living righteously and are
    acting with trust, God will not let you proceed
    too far without a warning impression if you have
    made the wrong decision Richard
    G. Scott, Ensign, May 2007, p. 10

What Am I to Change?
  • Facing Fear with Faith
  • DC 9
  • DC 67
  • Moving Forward Without an Answer
  • DC 5826-27
  • DC 605 6122 625, 7
  • How to Act For the Present Time
  • DC 483-6 5116-17

Making the Most of Now
  • This is our one and only chance at mortal
    lifehere and now. The longer we live, the
    greater is our realization that it is brief.
    Opportunities come, and then they are gone. I
    believe that among the greatest lessons we
    are to learn in this short sojourn upon the
    earth are lessons that help us distinguish
    between what is important and what is not. I
    plead with you not to let those most important
    things pass you by as you plan for that illusive
    and nonexistent future when you will have time to
    do all that you want to do. Instead, find joy in
    the journeynow. (cont.)

Making the Most of Now
  • I am what my wife, Frances, calls a
    show-a-holic. I thoroughly enjoy many
    musicals, and one of my favorites was written
    by the American composer Meredith Willson and
    is entitled The Music Man. Professor
    Harold Hill, one of the principal characters
    in the show, voices a caution that I share with
    you. Says he, You pile up enough tomorrows, and
    youll find youve collected a lot of empty
  • Thomas S. Monson, Ensign, November 2008, 84

What to Do in the Meantime?
  • The timing of marriage is perhaps the
    best example of an extremely important event
    in our lives that is almost impossible to
    plan. Like other important mortal events
    that depend on the agency of others or the
    will and timing of the Lord, marriage cannot be
    anticipated or planned with certainty. We can and
    should work for and pray for our righteous
    desires, but despite this, many will remain
    single well beyond their desired time for
    marriage. (cont.)

What to Do in the Meantime?
  • So what should be done in the meantime?
    Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ prepares us
    for whatever life brings. This kind of faith
    prepares us to deal with lifes
    opportunities to take advantage of those that
    are received and to persist through the
    disappointments of those that are lost.
    In the exercise of that faith, we should commit
    ourselves to the priorities and standards we will
    follow on matters we do not control and persist
    faithfully in those commitments, whatever happens
    to us because of the agency of others or the
    timing of the Lord. When we do this, we will have
    a constancy in our lives that will give us
    direction and peace.
  • Dalliin H. Oaks, Ensign, Oct. 2003, p. 10

Putting the Lord First
  • Whatever the circumstances beyond our
    control, our commitments and standards can
    be constant. . . . Wise are those who
    make this commitment I will put the Lord
    first in my life, and I will keep His
    commandments. The performance of that
    commitment is within everyones control. We can
    fulfill that commitment without regard to what
    others decide to do, and that commitment will
    anchor us no matter what timing the Lord directs
    for the most important events in our lives. . . .

Putting the Lord First
  • If we have faith in God and if we are
    committed to the fundamentals of keeping His
    commandments and putting Him first in
    our lives, we do not need to plan every
    single eventeven every important eventand
    we should not feel rejected or depressed if some
    thingseven some very important thingsdo not
    happen at the time we had planned or hoped or
  • Dallin H. Oaks, Ensign, Oct. 2003, p. 10

What Am I to Learn?
  • Trust in Gods Timing
  • DC 3524-25
  • DC 8868
  • DC 6431-32
  • Ecclesiastes 31-8
  • The Process of Time
  • Moses 721
  • Destination vs. Process
  • Take the Long View

An Experience of Profound Trust
  • This life is an experience in profound
    trusttrust 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. . . . To exercise faith is to
    trust that the Lord knows what He is doing with
    you and that He can accomplish it for your
    eternal good even though you cannot understand
    how He can possibly do it. 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.
  • Richard G. Scott, Ensign, Nov. 1995, p. 16

Eternal Growth and Happiness
  • 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.
  • Richard G. Scott, Ensign, Nov. 1995, p. 16

Trusting Gods Timing and Plan
  • The issue for us is trusting God enough to
    trust also His timing. If we can truly believe
    He has our welfare at heart, may we not let His
    plans unfold as He thinks best?
  • Neal A. Maxwell, Even as I Am, p. 93
  • I assure you, my brothers and sisters, that
    our Heavenly Father is aware of us,
    individually and collectively. He understands
    the spiritual, physical, and emotional
    difficulties we face in the world today. In
    fact, they are all apart of his plan for our
    eternal growth and development.
  • M. Russell Ballard, Ensign, Nov. 1992, p. 31

What Am I to Learn?
  • Trust in Gods Timing
  • DC 3524-25
  • DC 8868
  • DC 6431-32
  • Ecclesiastes 31-8
  • The Process of Time
  • Moses 721
  • Destination vs. Process
  • Take the Long View

Zion In Process of Time
  • This promised Zion always seems to be a
    little beyond our reach. We need to
    understand that as much virtue can be
    gained in progressing toward Zion as in
    dwelling there. It is a process as well as a
    destination. . . . Many are perfected upon the
    road to Zion who will never see the city in
  • Robert D. Hales, Ensign, May 1986, p. 28

What Am I to Learn?
  • Trust in Gods Timing
  • DC 3524-25
  • DC 8868
  • DC 6431-32
  • Ecclesiastes 31-8
  • The Process of Time
  • Moses 721
  • Destination vs. Process
  • Take the Long View

Taking the Long View
  • Do not rely on planning every event of
    your lifeeven every important event. Stand
    ready to accept the Lord's planning and
    the agency of others in matters that
    inevitably affect you. Plan, of course, but
    fix your planning on personal commitments
    that will carry you through no matter what
    happens. Anchor your life to eternal principles,
    and act upon those principles whatever the
    circumstances and whatever the actions of others.
    Then you can await the Lord's timing and be sure
    of the outcome in eternity. (cont.)

Taking the Long View
  • The most important principle of timing
    is to take the long view. Mortality is just a
    small slice of eternity, but how we conduct
    ourselves herewhat we become by our
    actions and desires, confirmed by our
    covenants and the ordinances administered to
    us by proper authoritywill shape our destiny for
    all eternity. As the prophet Amulek taught, "This
    life is the time for men to prepare to meet God"
    (Alma 3432). That reality should help us take
    the long viewthe timing of eternity. (cont.)

Taking the Long View
  • As President Charles W. Penrose
    declared at a general conference
    memorializing the death of President
    Joseph F. Smith
  • Why waste your time, your talents,
    your means, your influence in following
    something that will perish and pass away,
    when you could devote yourselves to a thing
    that will stand forever? For this Church and
    kingdom, to which you belong, will abide and
    continue in time, in eternity, while endless ages
    roll along, and you with it will become mightier
    and more powerful while the things of this world
    will pass away and perish, and will not abide in
    nor after the resurrection, saith the Lord our
    God. CR, June 1919, 37
  • Dallin H. Oaks, Timing, BYU Speeches, Jan 29,

The Whys of Life
  • I have come to understand how useless it
    is to dwell on the whys, what ifs, and if
    onlys for which there likely will be given no
    answers in mortality. To receive the Lords
    comfort, we must exercise faith. The
    questions Why me? Why our family? Why now? are
    usually unanswerable questions. These
    questions detract from our spirituality and can
    destroy our faith. We need to spend our time and
    energy building our faith by turning to the Lord
    and asking for strength to overcome the pains and
    trials of this world and to endure to the end for
    greater understanding.
  • Robert D. Hales, Ensign, Nov. 1998, p .14

The Closing and Opening of Doors
  • Our Father in Heaven has invited you to
    express your needs, hopes, and desires unto
    Him. That should not be done in a spirit of
    negotiation, but rather as a willingness to
    obey His will no matter what direction that
    takes. His invitation, Ask, and ye shall
    receive (3 Ne. 2729) does not assure that you
    will get what you want. It does guarantee that,
    if worthy, you will get what you need, as judged
    by a Father that loves you perfectly, who wants
    your eternal happiness even more than do you.

The Closing and Opening of Doors
  • I testify that when the Lord closes one
    important door in your life, He shows His
    continuing love and compassion by opening many
    other compensating doors through your exercise
    of faith. He will place in your path packets
    of spiritual sunlight to brighten your way.
    They often come after the trial has been
    the greatest, as evidence of the compassion and
    love of an all-knowing Father. They point the way
    to greater happiness, more understanding, and
    strengthen your determination to accept and be
    obedient to His will.
  • Richard G. Scott, Ensign, Nov. 1995, p. 16

The Promise of Good Things to Come Elder
Jeffrey R. Holland General Conference, October