Choosing the Will of the Father Brings Happiness, Elder Evans Says
Contributed By Marianne Holman Prescott, Church News staff writer
- Happiness comes from trusting God and willingly following His direction.
- Build and strengthen the Church wherever you are.
- Consider the Lord’s teachings and seek His will when making decisions as a family.
“Your greatest happiness and spiritual security will come as you love and trust God enough that you will willingly give your agency to Him and say, ‘I will do as you direct.'” —Elder David F. Evans of the Seventy
“Understanding our Father’s will and choosing to follow His will is the great test of our lives,” Elder David F. Evans, General Authority Seventy, told Brigham Young University–Hawaii students during a campus devotional on March 23.
“Your greatest happiness and spiritual security will come as you love and trust God enough that you will willingly give your agency to Him and say, ‘I will do as you direct,’” he said.
Elder Evans, who serves as the Second Counselor in the Asia Area Presidency, spoke to students about “choosing the Father’s will” and began with the doctrine of the gathering of Israel.
“The reason for this is that not only do we seek to understand and teach this doctrine, but in our own way we actually participate in that gathering,” he said. “It is because of this doctrine that we hope that after you receive your education in this and other institutions of higher education you will return to the country, culture, and language from which you came. The gathering to where God placed each of us is a vital part of the Lord’s plan for you, your family, and for His Church and kingdom.”
Elder Evans spoke of how in the early days of the Church conversion often meant emigration. Today, the gathering takes place in each nation, and using words from President Russell M. Nelson, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Elder Evans said that “Zion is wherever righteous Saints are.”
Again drawing from the words of President Nelson, Elder Evans said, “Spiritual security will always depend upon how one lives, not where one lives. Saints in every land have equal claim upon the blessings of the Lord.”
Speaking to a diverse student body, Elder Evans encouraged listeners to work to build and strengthen the Church wherever they were born. As the rising generation accepts His doctrine and gathers back to their own countries, they are able to be a part of the Lord’s plan to build up and more firmly establish His Church in each country, culture, language, and people.
“There they will work together to build up and strengthen the Church in that place,” he said. “There they will establish multigenerational families who will be the spiritual strength of that country and place.”
Some may ask if there are exceptions to this pattern, Elder Evans said. “The answer is that surely there are exceptions. One example: there are some of you who have fallen in love with and married someone who is not of your culture, language, or place. That’s what happens here at BYU–Hawaii. The two of you will need to prayerfully consider your choices and make sure that the decisions you make are consistent with the Lord’s will for you and your family.”
It is important to prayerfully consider the Lord’s teachings and seek His will when making decisions as a family.
“As you make the decisions that will affect your life and the lives of each member of your family and others, please remember that the spiritual guidance necessary to know whether your circumstances and choices are pleasing to the Lord will come as you first desire to do His will and accept His doctrine and then seek the guidance of the Holy Ghost in your life and the life of your family,” he said.
The Lord promises those who keep His commandments and seek to do His will shall have spiritual direction and guidance. Heavenly Father promises He will help individuals receive those things a person righteously desires, he taught.
“However, this kind of ‘desire’ is not simply what we wish for or want,” he said. “It is defined by those things that we are willing to live for and work for over time. This is powerful doctrine. Of course, the way we show our desire to God is through what we do—our actions and works—not just through our words, our wishes, or even our prayers.”
The Savior is a perfect example of following the Father’s will, even during difficulty.
“Just as in the Savior’s life, we will need to choose to follow the will of the Father daily and throughout our lives,” he said. “Indeed, continuing to choose to do the will of the Father becomes the mark of our discipleship. It is when we choose right and follow His will, especially when the choices feel difficult, that we grow the most in our love for God and our fellowman. This is how we become true disciples of Jesus Christ.”