A few months before my sister passed away, she sent me an email. The concluding sentence has forever touched my heart.“ I know that the Lord has been very good to me and to the rest of the family. I know that His will prevails over all things and whatever he decides after my petition, I want you to know that I am good with it -- and not just because I HAVE to be -- I am really good with it.”
I would like to address submitting to His will and how we get to that point in our lives.
1The Savior showed us a great example of a prayer of submission. He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane as He worked out the Atonement that His Father's will would be done. He knew that His Father's will would be for Him to do what was so painful and so terrible that we cannot comprehend it. He prayed not simply to accept the Father's will but to do it. He showed us the way to pray in perfect and determined submission.
1So many of us are kept from eventual consecration because we mistakenly think that, somehow, by letting our will be swallowed up in the will of God, we lose our individuality (see Mosiah 15:7). What we are really worried about, of course, is not giving up self, but selfish things-like our roles, our time, our preeminence, and our possessions. No wonder we are instructed by the Savior to lose ourselves (see Luke 9:24). He is only asking us to lose the old self in order to find the new self. It is not a question of one's losing identity but of finding his true identity! Ironically, so many people already lose themselves anyway in their consuming hobbies and preoccupations but with far, far lesser things.
1Acknowledging God's hand includes, in the words of the Prophet Joseph, trusting that God has made "ample provision" beforehand to achieve all His purposes, including His purposes in our lives (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 220). Sometimes He clearly directs; other times it seems He merely permits some things to happen. Therefore, we will not always understand the role of God's hand, but we know enough of his heart and mind to be submissive. Thus when we are perplexed and stressed, explanatory help is not always immediately forthcoming, but compensatory help will be. Thus our process of cognition gives way to our personal submission, as we experience those moments when we learn to "be still, and know that I am God" (Ps. 46:10).
King Benjamin explained it as follows:
19 For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, 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…
Elder Neil Maxwell Said:
The submission of one's will is really the only uniquely personal thing we have to place on God's altar. The many other things we "give , are actually the things He has already given or loaned to us. However, when you and I finally submit ourselves, by letting our individual wills be swallowed up in God's will, then we are really giving something to Him! It is the only possession which is truly ours to give! " (Alma 31:38).
Many years ago, as a lonely homesick young serviceman, I struggled to find my identity. I eventually turned to a chaplain who recognized my problem and helped me to find my self worth. He had me memorized a poem called ”gratitude.” In doing so, he made me recognize the blessings that were mine…things I was taking for granted. Things like walking, talking, seeing and hearing. In order for me to accept what was going on in my life and to bend to the will of God, I had to recognize what He had given me.
In D&C 59:21 it says
21 And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not his commandments.
As we experience trials, struggles and joys in our lives, might we take time to reflect on the source of our blessings and express our gratitude for all things. Not just the easy things or the good things…for sometimes we learn most from the struggles and trials given to us.
# 1 Elder Neal A. Maxwell, "Swallowed Up in the Will of the Father", Ensign (CR), November 1995, p.22