Consider the Goodness and Greatness of God

Read Elder Renlund's full address...


ONE || "Remember the greatness of God and to consider what He has done for us as individuals, as families, and as a people."


Last March, while I was nearly eight months pregnant with my third son, I experienced a month-long medical trauma that resulted with me in a coma. Our preemie baby came home to a household without a mom, and my husband was left trying to keep everyone happy and healthy by himself. On a day of many miracles, I coded as a result of complications, and it happened to be the day that our ward and many others in our area took part in a fast for my recovery. I was given a last-resort procedure that worked, and just one week later, I was discharged with no lasting health issues.


"Each of us has received gifts that we could not provide for ourselves, gifts from our Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son, including redemption through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ."


In our family's situation, there was nothing we could have done to alter the outcome. We had to rely solely on faith in God through the goodness and service of our neighbors, the wisdom and guided hands of the doctors, and the mercy and love of Heavenly Father.

Now, as families around the world struggle with the similar health issues caused by COVID-19, I hope they are able to find the same peace and identify the gracious blessings they've been given, no matter the outcome.


TWO || "When we consider the goodness of our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, our trust in Them increases. Our prayers change because we know God is our Father and we are His children. We seek not to change His will but to align our will with His and secure for ourselves blessings that He wants to grant, conditioned on our asking for them."


The phrase "our prayers change" hit home as I re-read this talk. As someone who's guilty of often reciting a mostly-scripted prayer, I realized that I should be speaking with (not at) Heavenly Father as a close and loving daughter, not a distant and inexact creation. Knowing what He's given me and what He continues to give me, I brim with gratitude and emotion, and I'd love for my prayers to convey it.


Many people who experience a major trauma, loss, or near-loss can vouch that it changes you. It grants you a perspective that humans seem mostly unable to attain without such an experience. It establishes a deep gratitude and a sense of purpose--a new North. If such blessings are able to change how I live my life, why should they not change how I speak to, plead with, and thank my Father in Heaven?


THREE || "The Savior loves to restore what you cannot restore; He loves to heal wounds you cannot heal; He loves to fix what has been irreparably broken; He compensates for any unfairness inflicted on you; and He loves to permanently mend even shattered hearts."


My one-year-old son (the one who was born when I was in a coma) is newly walking, and frequently lands on his bottom, bonks his head, or finds the effort required for using two legs tiring and frustrating. When he cries out in pain or sorrow, I rush to comfort him. He relaxes into me and sucks on his fingers, quieting and allowing me to rub his owies, kiss his head, and speak soothing words. These moments spent comforting him strengthen our bond and gives me a sense of happiness and calmness.


Likewise, the Savior LOVES to heal me. He LOVES to restore me. He is eager to hold my heart in his pierced hands and gently fix what has been damaged. His birth, life, and death served that very purpose - to fix what was irreparably broken. My trials, pain, sorrows, and shortcomings are no burden to my Savior. The transaction for my soul has already been made, and by turning to Him for comfort and restoration, I am strengthening the bond between us, and fulfilling both of our purposes.


"Every good thing comes from Jesus Christ."


"What does it take for you to be drawn to the Savior?"


THIS WEEK'S CHALLENGE


In your journal or Work and Wonder General Conference workbook, write down a few things the Lord has given you (or occasions He has blessed you) that you could not have provided for yourself. Then say a "changed prayer" to Heavenly Father thanking him for those customized blessings, and tune into your newfound closeness with Him.



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