Elder Robert D. Hales: 'Waiting Upon the Lord'
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Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve said, "I have often pondered, why is it that the Son of God and His holy prophets and all the faithful Saints have trials and tribulations, even when they are trying to do Heavenly Father's will?"
During the Sunday morning session of conference, Elder Hales recalled the words of the Savior in Gethsemane who trusted His Father and declared, "Nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done." Joseph Smith who suffered illness as a boy and persecution throughout his life cried out, "Oh God, where art thou?" The pioneers who crossed the plains suffered sickness, privation and death.
"Why such terrible tribulation? To what end? For what purpose?" Elder Hales asked. "As we ask these questions, we realize that the purpose of our life on earth is to grow, develop, and be strengthened through our own experiences. How do we do this?"
Elder Hales said the scriptures provide the answer: "We 'wait upon the Lord'" (Isaiah 8:17). But that does not mean people will always understand their challenges.
To wait means to hope, anticipate and to trust, Elder Hales explained. It means to pray as did the Savior — to God — saying, "Thy will be done." To wait upon the Lord means to plant the seed of faith and nourish it.
"Waiting upon the Lord means pondering in our hearts and 'receiv[ing] the Holy Ghost'.... [It] means to stand fast and press forward and rely upon the merits of Christ.
Elder Hales said Job, through all his afflictions, waited upon the Lord and bore testimony, "For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth" (Job 13:15)."
Even with examples of Job, the prophets and the Savior, some still find it challenging to wait upon the Lord, especially if His plan and purposes are not understood.
Elder Hales said in his life he has learned that sometimes the Lord knows he is not ready. Too often one might pray to have patience, right now, Elder Hales said.
"We may not know when or how the Lord's answers will be given, but in His time and His way, I testify His answers will come."
For some, the answers may come in the hereafter but Elder Hales encouraged members to not give up on the Lord because His blessings are eternal, not temporary.
"He knows your sacrifices and your sorrows," Elder Hales said. "He hears your prayers. His peace and rest will be yours as you continue to wait upon Him in faith."
Just as the Savior submitted to the will of the Father, as individuals wait upon the Lord, they become "saint[s] through [His] Atonement, … submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon [us], even as a child doth submit to his father" (Mosiah 3:19)
Elder Hales concluded, "May we wait upon Him by pressing forward in faith, that we may say in our prayers, 'Thy will be done,' and return to Him with honor."