Sunday, 3 October 2010

Everlasting Grace

In listening to Elder Christopherson's address in the Saturday Morning Session of the 180th Semiannual General Conference, I was touched in my heart when he reminded us that those who come unto Christ, and take His yoke upon them, have claim on his grace. I've always had a fascination with the term "grace" and in pondering Elder Christopherson's words, one of my favorite verses from the Book of Mormon, Ether 12:27 came to mind. It reads:

"And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them." (The Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ, p. 510)

I love the promise "my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them." To fully appreciate the importance of this promise, an understanding of the term "grace," as used in the scriptures, is requisite.

The Guide for the Scriptures gives a wonderful definition of the scriptural meaning of grace. It is

"The enabling power from God that allows men and women to obtain blessings in this life and to gain eternal life and exaltation after they have exercised faith, repented, and given their best effort to keep the commandments. Such divine help or strength is given through the mercy and love of God," (Guide to the Scriptures,

Notice that grace is an enabling power which comes to us "through the mercy and love of God." It is not free, however, as Elder Christopherson, Either 12:27 and the Guide to the Scriptures indicate. In order to activate the Lord's divine grace in our lives we must come humbly unto Him, exercise faith in Him, repent, and diligently keep His commandments. In doing so, the Lord's promise is sure, "then will I make weak things become strong unto them."

I have a firm testimony of the Lord's enabling grace. I know it is real. On multiple occasions, to numerous to recount here, either I, or my family, have been able to accomplish things that otherwise could not have been done. Permit me to share one.

In January 2006, I found out about a job opportunity in England. It intrigued me and I discussed it at length with my sweetheart. After our discussion we determined to pray about whether or not I should apply for the position. The answer came in the affirmative, so I applied. Shortly thereafter I had an interview which went very well. Within a few days I was told that an offer was imminent and was asked if I could come by May. Again a long discussion with my sweetheart ensued. After careful thought, we responded saying that the soonest we could come would be by the first of June and the hiring company agreed.

Then came the wait. The imminent offer did not come by the end of January. In speaking to the hiring company, they indicated that the offer was still coming but that there were some delays due to a shortage of HR staff. The end of February came and still no offer. It was very frustrating because there were a multitude of things that had to be done before we could go. We had to get our house ready to sell, which entailed repainting a good portion of the inside of our home, replacing the carpet, re-landscaping much of the outside, etc. We had to get a real estate agent to sell our home. We also had to complete all of the paperwork for and apply for passports and visas, then wait for them to come, which can take several months. We had to get all of the moving arrangements made.

On top of all this, my sweetheart found out she was pregnant, expecting our fourth child. The pregnancy came with it's attendant challenges of morning sickness and fatigue. The pregnancy also meant that I would be doing all of the interior painting by myself as she could not be in the house with those fumes. This in turn would lead to needing to have her and our children go and stay with grandma for a couple of weeks.

Additionally, as you might imagine, by this time doubt as to the answer to our prayers had crept in. Did we really feel like we should go to England and make such a huge change. We went to the Lord again in prayer and once again he gave us peace.

Finally, on March 21st, the offer came. The hiring company still wanted us there by June 1st, which meant that we had to accomplish everything described above in just a little over 2 months.

It was then that the Lord's enabling grace came in to play, without which, we would never have been able to accomplish all that we needed to. The Lord blessed me with both stamina and physical health. Though I was working full time and I lived off an average of 5 hours sleep per night I did not get sick. In 2 short months, with the help of many wonderful ward members, We were able to get the house entirely ready to sell, find a good real estate agent, and get our home on the market.

During that time we also applied for our passports and visas. Again the Lord opened up the way. A process that normally takes anywhere from 6 weeks to 6 months was completed in 3 weeks time.

Additionally, my sweetheart's morning sickness eased. We were able to make all of the moving arrangements and get everything packed and ready to go for when the movers came. Everything fell in to place, with one exception. We ended up leaving without having our home sold. Even so, we had the assurance from the Holy Ghost that everything would be okay. We gave my wife's brother power of attorney and once again the Lord came through. Our home sold 1.5 months after we arrived in England-- a complete miracle considering that there were several homes in the same neighborhood that had been on the market for nearly a year.

As stated above, this is just one example of many that I could site.

The Lord's grace is real. He loves us and we truly can be recipients of his grace if we will humbly come unto him and take his yoke upon us.