Have you ever found yourselves in front of a task (any kind of task: church, school, work and the list goes on...) without having a clue how you're going to accomplish it? As a missionary, it happens to me all the time. The talk I'll share this week has helped me a lot whenever I've had to do things that seemed bigger than me.
Elder Neil L. Andersen (who is currently the junior member of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles) was yet to be called as an apostle when he gave this talk -- but I think it's such a great one that, that it definitely deserves studying and looking at! Its title is "You know enough".
When Elder Andersen was getting ready to serve a mission as a young man, he was wondering whether he would be able to be a good missionary. He relates:
"I felt very inadequate and unprepared. I remember praying,“Heavenly Father, how can I serve a mission when I know so little?” I believed in the Church, but I felt my spiritual knowledge was very limited."As I prayed, the feeling came:“You don't know everything, but you know enough!” That reassurance gave me the courage to take the next step into the mission field."
I think we can all have that exact spiritual experience as we go to our Father in Heaven and ask Him for comfort and reassurance. 99% of my stress is due to my fear that the lord expects me to be all perfect, all at once. I somehow think that the Lord expects me to be able to deal with all the difficulties of life by myself. When I get caught in that misconception, I fail to understand the very purpose of those trials and of my imperfections. "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." (Ether 12:27; italics added) What a wonderful scripture! What a wonderful promise from the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.
Let's read the story of how Elder Andersen helped a missionary stay in the mission field in a moment of crisis:
"The missionary told me about his challenging childhood, of learning disorders, of moving from one family to another. He spoke sincerely of his inability to learn a new language and adapt to a new culture. Then he added, “Brother Andersen, I don't even know if God loves me.” As he said those words, I felt a sure and forceful feeling come into my spirit: “He does know I love him. He knows it.”I let him continue for a few more minutes, and then I said, “Elder, I'm sympathetic to much of what you've said, but I must correct you on one thing: you do know God loves you. You know He does.”As I said those words to him, the same Spirit that had spoken to me spoke to him. He bowed his head and began to cry. He apologized. “Brother Andersen,” he said, “I do know God loves me; I do know it.” He didn't know everything, but he knew enough. He knew God loved him. That priceless piece of spiritual knowledge was sufficient for his doubt to be replaced with faith. He found the strength to stay on his mission."
The simple, basic knowledge that God loved him helped this young elder (I always like this oxymoron!) stay on his mission. My mission president says that to understand the gospel and resolve concerns we have to K.I.S.S. ("Keep It Simple and Stupid"). That does make the difference!
In his talk, Elder Andersen says that as "we choose the road of faith [...] our questions and doubts are resolved or become less concerning to us. Our faith becomes simple and pure. We come to know what we already knew."
It takes faith to realize that we don't know everything, but we know enough. It probably takes even more faith to realize that the Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ don't expect us to know everything. How wonderful is that, though! A good friend of mine, every time I talk to her about my problems and challenges, reminds me that I need to learn to turn it over to the Lord and quit over worrying about it!
I love this talk. It's been a huge part of my life ever since I first read it. It helps me remember that my Heavenly Father is a merciful God, who doesn't expect me to know everything. I'm sure He wants me to learn and increase my knowledge. But there are times when He does whisper to me -- just like He did to Elder Andersen more than 40 years ago -- "You don't know everything, but you know enough".
I do recommend that you read the entire talk. You might also wanna check out this nice Mormon Message.
Share your thoughts about this talk with me if you feel like. I love to hear from you all!
Bye for now.