Bishop H. David Burton: 'These are the times'
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Despite difficulties that challenge some men's and women's souls, it is a good time to be alive and a time of great opportunity, said Presiding Bishop H. David Burton during BYU's weekly devotional held in the Marriott Center on Dec. 1.
"We all have to determine for ourselves if we, in mixed turbulent times like we are currently in, perceive the glass of water to be half full or half empty," he said. "I'm a half-full sort of guy. I propose that we are, indeed, living in the best of times. In spite of all of its warts, 2009 is a great time to be alive. We are living in a time of great opportunity."
With economic uncertainties and the widespread discontent existing between nations and world religions that oftentimes breeds fear for the future, Bishop Burton reminded students of other times in history — like the Great Depression in the late 1920s and the 1930s — when times were tough.
It was during times of difficulty, he said, that many rose above themselves and the times and gave support to others who were suffering. The hard times became a time to rise to a new level, allowing individuals to become capable in ways they never thought possible.
"We have that same opportunity today," Bishop Burton said. "The challenges of 2009 can be the platform that sensitizes, prepares and launches us to the tomorrows of our lives."
Although difficulty does come, there are so many aspects of life that can bring joy, Bishop Burton said.
"It is an awesome and exciting time to be alive because the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ has again been restored to the earth in our day," he said. "Only a relative few of our Father in Heaven's children have had that great blessing and opportunity."
Giving examples of many projects the Church contributes to worldwide, Bishop Burton spoke of the growing Church, and the plans necessary to accommodate such growth. Speaking of the Church's resources, he told of the efforts going towards meetinghouses and temples being built throughout the world, as well as missionary work and humanitarian aid.
"In terms of the gospel of Jesus Christ, it certainly is the best of times," Bishop Burton said. "As each of you contemplates what is occurring quietly around the world, I hope you can feel excitement and optimism laced with an abundance of gratitude."
No matter the challenges an individual must face, the future is bright for those who are obedient and recognize the blessings in their life, he said.
"Yes, these are the times that may try men's souls, and perhaps for some the challenges of the day may seem overwhelming, but for all who continue to have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, who, regardless of circumstances, continue to be positive and obedient, who continue to see the glass half full, 2009 and the times that follow will be the best of times. ...
"We need to 'remember, remember' during times that test our souls to enjoy and keep focused on our Father in Heaven's plan for eternal happiness, while at the same time carefully navigating through the best of times," he said. "Perhaps for us in 2009 it would be wise for us to 'remember, remember' to be fully immersed and invested in the gospel of Jesus Christ."
In addition to living the gospel to find joy in hard times, Bishop Burton said individuals must remember to take sufficient time to love, listen, learn, laugh, lighten, lead and lift.
"We indeed live at a time when men's souls are being tested, perhaps more severely than ever before," he said. "I also know opportunity beckons us daily to receive a full measure of joy as we experience the excitement that is 2009 — the best of times."