As we accept the Lord’s will and timing with faith, we can drink from the “bitter cup” of soul-stretching trials and not shrink.
In the August 2016 Ensign article entitled “Accepting the Lord’s Will and Timing,” Elder David A. Bednar shares the story of John and Heather, a newlywed couple facing John’s frightening prognosis of cancer, and their struggle to reconcile themselves to the will of the Lord. Through counsel with Elder Bednar, they came to recognize that “if God’s will were for this good young man to be healed, then that blessing could be received only if this valiant couple first had the faith not to be healed” [italics added]. It was only when John and Heather accepted that the Lord’s will may be different from the path they would have chosen that they were prepared to move forward in their lives with faith.
The blessing to understand God’s will and his plan in our lives is available to each of us as we seek with real intent. Elder Bednar quotes the insights of Elder Neal A. Maxwell, who battled leukemia before passing away in 2004. Elder Maxwell taught, “As we confront our own . . . trials and tribulations, we too can plead with the Father, just as Jesus did, that we ‘might not . . . shrink’—meaning to retreat or to recoil (D&C 19:16–19). Not shrinking is much more important than surviving! Moreover, partaking of a bitter cup without becoming bitter is likewise part of the emulation of Jesus.”
Elder Bednar testifies that, to be effective, righteousness and faith must be coupled with God’s will. Though John’s cancer was initially healed following a priesthood blessing, its reoccurrence seven years later again tested the couple’s faith. The circumstances of adversity are not always within our choosing, but the attitude with which we meet it is. In facing adversity, we must remember that opposition is part of the plan and is designed with our greatest benefit and blessing in mind.
Read Elder David A. Bednar’s article “Accepting the Lord’s Will and Timing” to gain greater insight on aligning our individual will with the Lord’s.
—Susan Martin, Mormon Insights contributor
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Find more insights
Watch or read Elder Neal A. Maxwell’s talk “Apply the Atoning Blood of Christ,” quoted by Elder Bednar in his article.
Listen to or read the words of the hymn “Jesus of Nazareth“ for comfort during times of trial.
Read Elder Dallin H. and Sister Kristen M. Oaks’s article “Trust in Heaven’s Timing” for an address specifically for single adults.