Tag Archives: Elder Bednar

“Comfort in Weakness” (from Elder Bednar’s talk “In the Strength of the Lord,” used in the March 2013 New Youth Curriculum)

“This morning I take great comfort in knowing that I am one of the truly weak things of the world.” – Elder Bednar

What an interesting statement. (I love it!) Why “take comfort” in knowing you are weak?

Because there seems to be a marvelous formula in the scriptures: When you are made aware of your weakness, and God’s greatness and God’s love for you, you have a chance to humble yourself (Ether 12:27), yield to the enticings of the Spirit (Mosiah 3:19), and suddenly find yourself being used to “confound the wise” (1 Cor 1:27) – even though you are still weak!

There is a comfort in admitting you are one of the weak things of the world. Well, there can  be. Admitting you are weak is only half way there. It comes when you realize that you are weak, and God loves you in that weak state, and what he’s asking for is not perfection, but your will. And your trust in him. The comfort comes when you truly believe that God will take it from there – and guess what? He can still use you in your weak state.  I think that it is a shame how we use Ether 12:27. God doesn’t promise Moroni that he will get better at writing (Moroni’s weakness). He promises that it doesn’t matter – and/or, his weakness is being used for a purpose. See, the weak writing in the Book of Mormon serves as a stumbling block to those without faith. But, to those who humble themselves, the “weak thing” that Mormon and Moroni have produced will become strong (Ether 12, 2 Nephi 3:21). Through faith, every “thing” can become strong. Every weak person can be used for a strong purpose. Or every weak lesson can become strong, through the Spirit that works on the students. And so on. What God is asking for is not perfection as we think of it. What he is asking is that we fully commit to doing whatever he asks, and then we let him take the steering wheel and watch miracles happen.

And so, there is comfort in knowing that I’m not in the driver’s seat. That I’m not in charge. That I can’t mess anything up, because he’s the one with the plans and powers, not me. God is stronger than the wicked, than the armies (1 Nephi 4:1), then why isn’t he stronger than me? Any weakness I have he is already able to work around, or through it. But what he really wants is to not just work around me, but through me, with me. When I yield myself to the Spirit, he can use me for so much more. Not because I am suddenly talented or gifted, but simply because I am willing to use my mind, time, and feelings for whatever work God gives me. I am still weak. But because I am weak, I am willing to listen. And because I am willing to listen, God will use me and teach me and bless me to feel the Spirit more and more. I think that is what consecration means – to be willing to listen, to yield, and to work. And it’s exciting to see what God will do with me. It’s the moment where I realize I don’t have to ask God to help me make sure I don’t mess up my work, and can actually ask God to let me help him in his work.

So there is great comfort in knowing that I am the weak one, because I know that God is the strong one.

Grace in Elder Bednar’s talk “In the Strength of the Lord”

Today I read through the talk “In the Strength of the Lord,” where Elder Bednar shared his thoughts on Grace when he was called to be an Apostle. I like some of the scriptures he brought out (&I’m going to add them to my growing list of scripture stories that demonstrate grace). I really liked this story, too:

On the night of June 20, 2000, several colleagues and I were working late in the executive offices of then Ricks College in Rexburg, Idaho. We were making final preparations for an unexpected and historic assembly on our campus the next morning and the announcement by President Hinckley that Ricks College would become a baccalaureate-degree-granting institution and take on the name of Brigham Young University–Idaho. As an administrative team we were just beginning to realize the monumental nature of the responsibility and challenges that were before us.

As we walked out of the building that night, one of my colleagues asked, “President, are you scared?” As best as I can recall, I answered something like this: “If I thought we had to execute this transition relying exclusively upon our own experience and our own judgment, then I would be terrified. But we will have help from heaven. Because we know who is in charge and that we are not alone, then no, I am not scared.” And we who serve at BYU–Idaho unitedly testify that there has been help from heaven, miracles have occurred, revelations have been received, doors have been opened, and we have been greatly blessed as individuals and as an institution.

I think we could apply that to life generally: “Are you scared?” “If I were on my own, yes. But I know who is in charge and that I am not alone, so no, I am not scared.” That is at least part of what I’ve been trying to describe when I feel consecrated.

Grace in Elder Bednar’s talk, “The Atonement and the Journey of Mortality”

(This morning I’m looking at Elder Bednar’s talk “The Atonement and the Journey of Mortality,” which was listed in the New Youth Curriculum for March 2013.)

Talking about Grace as an “enabling power” is actually more confusing to me than using the word Grace. I realize some people who have been in the Church longer than me have a different connotation of the word Grace than I do, so I think I that for many thinking of it as an enabling power is helpful to undo that connotation. Since Elder Bednar used that phrase often in his talk, it was a bit distracting for me. But I think I like what he is saying about the “good to better” route – I think he is trying to explain consecration without ever saying that word. 🙂

In addition, I thought this was some nice scriptural work:

You legitimately may be wondering, “What makes the episode with Alma and his people an example of the enabling power of the Atonement?” The answer is found in a comparison of Mosiah 3:19 and Mosiah 24:15.

“And putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father” (Mosiah 3:19; emphasis added).

As we progress in the journey of mortality from bad to good to better, as we put off the natural man or woman in each of us, and as we strive to become saints and have our very natures changed, then the attributes detailed in this verse increasingly should describe the type of person you and I are becoming. We will become more childlike, more submissive, more patient, and more willing to submit.

Now compare these characteristics in Mosiah 3:19 with those used to describe Alma and his people: “And they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord” (Mosiah 24:15; emphasis added).

I find the parallels between the attributes described in these verses striking and an indication that Alma’s good people were becoming a better people through the enabling power of the Atonement of Christ the Lord.

I like the clear similarities between these too verses! And I think I’m catching on to what he means by praying to be able to change circumstances, instead of praying for our circumstances to be changed.

When I talk about that idea I use different words, so I’m still realizing we’re probably talking about the same thing. I like to go to 2 Nephi 1-3, where Lehi tells Jacob that God will “consecrate thine afflictions.” I like the wording there, of taking something bad and making it sacred. It also reminds me of the talk “Come What May and Love it.” I like thinking that no matter what happens to us, God can use it for good. You can’t throw anything at Him that He can’t hit. 🙂 And so I think Elder Bednar is talking about much the same thing. No matter what happens to us, God can help us work with the situation so that good can come of it. And of course, Elder Bednar uses the idea of “acting” instead of being “acted upon.” He uses that language with learning too. It’s a nice way to put it, though not my normal way of talking, like I was saying.

Some initial thoughts. Now to get the kids some breakfast.