In case you missed it, President Russell M. Nelson wrote an insightful opinion column in the Arizona Republic, the major Phoenix newspaper.
He writes like he talks: clear, poignant, and filled with faith-promoting experiences.
Here are some highlights from that column that was published just before he addressed 60,000-plus members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the massive State Farm football stadium.
He opened by sharing his thoughts when visiting people in the fire raged communities of Paradise, California.
“As we tried to comfort those still reeling from the disaster, they seemed more concerned about how we were doing in our time of loss.
“As we tearfully looked into each other’s hearts, the blackened chimneys and a sea of ash seemed to fade into the background. Our shared faith that God would heal our hearts and help us rebuild our lives knit our hearts together in love and allowed us to experience “the peace of God, which passeth all understanding” (Philippians 4:7).
“Not long ago, belief in God was a given and expressions of faith the norm.
“But in recent years, we have experienced a shift from a world in which it seemed impossible not to believe in God to one in which faith is simply an option — and far too often subject to ridicule.
“When God is removed from our collective conscience, there are sobering ramifications. Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, formerly Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the British Commonwealth, insisted that ‘what the secularists forgot is that Homo sapiens is the meaning-seeking animal.’
“If there is one thing the great institutions of the modern world do not do, it is to provide meaning.”
“As a young surgical resident at the University of Minnesota Hospitals in the early 1950s, I was on the research team that built the heart-lung machine that allowed the first surgical access to the open, beating human heart.
“Working alongside brilliant minds (there and elsewhere) was exhilarating. But human intelligence has its limits. As a surgeon, I repaired hundreds of hearts.
“But my skills could not heal heartache, or erase grief, or salve emotional wounds. Nothing man-made can ever approach what God can do for His children.
“… the most profound thing I’ve witnessed is the unrivaled difference that belief in God and His Son, Jesus Christ, has in a person’s life. There is simply nothing to compare with the refining, ennobling strength and meaning that come into the life of a devoted believer and servant.
“This is not to suggest that faith in God eliminates challenges. It does not. We will all experience the vicissitudes of life.
“Financial stress, ill health, fractured relationships and dreams, personal loss, unfairness at the hands of conspiring men and women — each of these can fill our hearts with anxiety and fear.
President Nelson concludes by inviting all to come unto Christ.
“Whatever your faith tradition or personal circumstances, as a servant of the Lord, I invite you to look to Him and make Him the center of your life. Pour out your heart to God and ask Him for His help.
“He will infuse your life with meaning and fill your heart with hope that transcends anything the world can offer.”
Charlie Roberts previously served as a bishop of the Tooele 6th Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.