Sunday, August 3, 2014

The Good News of Christ | Religious Reflections 02

"Some blessings come soon, some come late, and some don't come until heaven; but for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, they come."  
-Jeffrey R. Holland, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles 

Last week I had this incredible blogging moment where I sat down to write and the words seemed to flow from my mind, out through my fingertips, and onto my keyboard almost effortlessly. I felt extremely inspired, wrote this post as a result, and proclaimed to the blogging/social media community that it was the start of a new series of posts reflecting on my own spirituality and religious beliefs. Admittedly, I was a little nervous to post it--realizing that I was putting myself and my beliefs out there in a big way. Fortunately, my amazing friends and followers gave kind, generous, positive feedback. It was the fuel that I needed. All week I've felt excited about writing and the prospect of using this blog to spread the gospel--i.e. the good news of Christ. 

That is, until Sunday rolled around and I still didn't have a topic to write about. Talk about self-inflicted pressure.

As I read scriptures, studied, and pondered this week I expected that something would stand out from the page, or strike me in the same way as before. But nothing really did, and I kind of put it off, expecting that it would be as easy as the last post. "An idea will come," I thought. Wrong. 

So there I was, 10:00 pm on Sunday night, finally at a point where I could sit down in the solitude of my office to write and... I had nothing. Nada. The panic started to set in. 

That is, until I looked up. Because, in the famous words of President Monson (quoted in this talk):

“Now, remember, it is better to look up.”

Well, I took this advice. Literally. And what to my wondering eyes did I see? A framed quote by Jeffrey R. Holland (the one found at the beginning of this post). My lovely brother and sister-in-law bought it for us last Christmas, and Sam hung it above my desk to complete the look of the office he created for me out of our spare bedroom (my surprise gift from my thoughtful hubby). 
Look how cute Klair was in her Christmas jammies: 
Anyway, back to the quote, at first I thought "yeah, that's nice" and continued on my quest to find something to write about. But, as I prayed and kept pondering, I realized that it was indeed the epiphany I had been waiting for. So, let's review the quote for analytical purposes, shall we?

"Some blessings come soon, some come late, and some don't come until heaven; but for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, they come."  
-Jeffrey R. Holland, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles 

First off, can I just say that Elder Holland is the man? Hopefully that's not disrespectful to talk of an apostle in that way, but seriously. I love conference, and I feel that every talk is truly inspired by the Lord himself. But when Elder Holland speaks, it's like he reaches through my television, grabs my shoulders, and shakes me. Not in a violent way of course, but in a "wake up!" and a "whoa, that is so true/amazing/insightful!" kind of way. I'm not sure you're supposed to have favorites... but let's face it, everyone does. And Holland is mine. Or, at least, I get the most from his particular style of writing and speaking. Plus, his wife is pretty stellar too. Forget celebrities, they are the best example of a powerhouse couple in the truest sense. 

This quote is certainly no exception to Elder Holland's record of awesomeness. In one short phrase, he capsulizes the essence of the atonement--the hope of Christ's gospel, and the implications for all who follow him. His words are universal in the sense that they can be applied to anyone, in every circumstance--everywhere. Because it doesn't matter who you are, what you have, where you've been, or where you are going. Everyone on this earth is searching, hoping, or longing for something. That's just the nature of this life. It's meant to test us, stretch us, and refine us. And, like a piece of coal placed under immense heat and pressure to form a diamond, refinement is a painful process.  Whether it's the desire for companionship, the ability to have children, freedom from sickness, depression, heartache, or pain, a longing for reconciliation with a lost loved one-- or, maybe it's simply a desire for someone you care about to find a better way-- whatever blessings you might seek--whatever burdens you may bear, they can be made lighter through Christ's atonement. 

And, eventually, all things will be made right. The righteous blessings we desire will be granted to us if we follow The One who gives. 

As President Monson so eloquently and succinctly put it, 
"Be of good cheer. The future is as bright as your faith." 

I believe this to be true with my whole heart. 

Even so, I often find myself on the slippery slope toward despair. Like fierce whirlwinds of opposition, the pains of this world--the longings of the heart--are very real. What's more, I know that many of those around me--those I love-- are facing awful, heart-wrenching challenges. At times it feels too easy to allow myself to be encircled, to give in to pain, fear, or doubt. In these moments, if I can find enough wisdom (and humility) to turn to God, His light always shines through my darkness. He doesn't necessarily remove the pain, or the weight of the burden on my shoulders--but He makes it bearable. He gives me the strength, hope, and fortitude to continue on--to press forward. 

Additionally, I think it's important to recognize that we're all facing challenges, and we should treat each other accordingly. In our day of social media where we often only see the highlight reels of those around us, it's easy to imagine that other people's lives are perfect, or nearly so. But that is not the case, and we need to be sensitive to this fact. We can either help or hinder the Lord's work, and often the most influential of our acts lie within the simplest of our daily interactions with others.   

To conclude my thoughts, I want to end with some lovely words from another of my favorite apostles. I saw this quote on Facebook of all places once. Someone posted it on the wall of a dear friend when she was facing impossible challenges. It struck me then, and I spent a good while trying to find it tonight because I feel like it summarizes my sentiments perfectly.

Elder Neal A. Maxwell taught, 
"Righteous sorrow and suffering carve cavities in the soul that will become later reservoirs of joy."

Amen. Just, amen. 

Sincerely yours,  


  1. this is just what i needed to hear today! thank you! and those quotes are all amazing.

    1. Yay! I'm glad these quotes were helpful. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment!

  2. I love all those quotes! I've never heard that last one. Perfect. Thanks! (Also, don't feel pressure to write a beautiful long post every single week. Sometimes all the spiritual thoughts I glean in a week can be summed up in just a couple of sentences. And I think that's sometimes all the growth we need at the moment.)

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