Today’s inspirational message comes from President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, First Counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Last night as I was waiting in the Stake office for my bi-annual Temple Recommend renewal interview I picked up a copy of a General Conference Ensign from 2013 and thumbed through it’s pages. This talk really resonated with me.
Here are a few excerpts that I particularly enjoyed:
I have a cherished painting in my office that is titled Entrance to Enlightenment. It was created by a friend of mine, the Danish artist Johan Benthin, who was the first stake president in Copenhagen, Denmark.
The painting shows a dark room with an open door from which light is shining. It is interesting to me that the light coming through the door does not illuminate the entire room—only the space immediately in front of the door.
To me, the darkness and light in this painting are a metaphor for life. It is part of our condition as mortal beings to sometimes feel as though we are surrounded by darkness.
We might have lost a loved one; a child might have strayed; we might have received a troubling medical diagnosis; we might have employment challenges and be burdened by doubts or fears; or we might feel alone or unloved.
But even though we may feel lost in the midst of our current circumstances, God promises the hope of His light—He promises to illuminate the way before us and show us the way out of darkness.
A Light in Africa
. . . Some years ago my wife, Harriet, and I had a memorable experience. . . We were in West Africa, a beautiful part of the world where the Church is growing and the Latter-day Saints are delightful. However, West Africa also has many challenges. In particular, I was sorrowed by the poverty that I saw. In the cities there is high unemployment, and families often struggle to provide for their daily needs and for their safety.
It broke my heart to know that many of our precious members of the Church live in such deprivation. But I also learned that these fine members help each other to lighten their heavy burdens.
We eventually arrived at one of our meetinghouses near a large city. But instead of finding a people burdened and absorbed by darkness, we discovered a joyful people who were radiating with light! The happiness they felt for the gospel was contagious and lifted our spirits. The love they expressed for us was humbling. Their smiles were genuine and infectious.
I remember wondering at the time if there could possibly be a happier people on the face of the planet. Even though these dear Saints were surrounded by difficulties and trials, they were filled with light!
The meeting began, and I started to speak. But soon the power went out in the building, and we were left in complete darkness.
For a while I could hardly see anyone in the congregation, but I could see and feel the brilliant and beautiful smiles of our Saints. Oh, how I loved being with these wonderful people!
The darkness in the chapel continued, and so I sat next to my wife and waited for the power to be restored. As we waited, something remarkable happened.
A few voices began singing one of the hymns of the Restoration. And then others joined in. And then more. Soon, a sweet and overwhelming chorus of voices filled the chapel.
These members of the Church did not need hymnbooks; they knew every word of every hymn they sang. And they sang one song after another with an energy and spirit that touched my soul.
Eventually, the lights sparked back on and bathed the room with light. Harriet and I looked at each other, our cheeks wet with tears.
In the midst of great darkness, these beautiful, wonderful Saints had filled this Church building and our souls with light.
It was a profoundly moving moment for us—one Harriet and I will never forget.
Come to the Light
. . . Yes, from time to time our lives may seem to be touched by, or even wrapped in, darkness. Sometimes the night that surrounds us will appear oppressive, disheartening, and frightening.
My heart grieves for the many sorrows some of you face, for the painful loneliness and wearisome fears you may be experiencing.
Nevertheless, I bear witness that our living hope is in Christ Jesus! He is the true, pure, and powerful entrance to divine enlightenment.
I testify that with Christ, darkness cannot succeed. Darkness will not gain victory over the light of Christ.
I bear witness that darkness cannot stand before the brilliant light of the Son of the living God!
I invite each of you to open your heart to Him. Seek Him through study and prayer. Come to His Church, even The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Learn of Him and of His gospel, participate actively, help each other, and joyfully serve our God.
Brothers and sisters, even after the darkest night, the Savior of the world will lead you to a gradual, sweet, and bright dawn that will assuredly rise within you.
As you walk toward the hope of God’s light, you will discover the compassion, love, and goodness of a loving Heavenly Father, “in [whom there] is no darkness at all.” (1 John 1:5)
Of this I testify in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen.
- Excerpted from Dieter F. Uchtdorf, The Hope of God’s Light, April 2013