4 ways to move through the unexpected with faith – Elder Morrison

Elder Morrison meet at Ensign College with students in a devotion. Expecting to serve as mission leaders in Africa, Elder Isaac K. Morrison and his wife, Sister Hannah Morrison, were surprised to receive a call to the South Carolina Columbia Mission. Yet when the COVID-19 pandemic closed country borders and prevented airline travel, the couple was reassigned to the Ghana Cape Coast Mission, its boundaries encompassing where the two had grown up.

“As a family, we knelt in prayer and asked God why this change had happened to us and how He wanted us to proceed,” said Elder Morrison, now a General Authority Seventy, to Ensign College students in a March 12 devotional. Sister Morrison offered brief remarks as well.”

The answer to the Morrisons’ prayer, a strong spiritual impression, came as a verse: “I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up” (Doctrine and Covenants 84:88).

1. Trust in the Lord’s timing

After arriving later than planned to the Accra Ghana Temple, 50-year-old John Mensah missed his scheduled session and went to do initiatory ordinances instead. While waiting, he met a 75-year-old with his same name and who was from the same village.

The older man was Mensah’s father, meeting his son for the first time since his birth, due to the dad having been cast out of the village.

“They had both received the restored gospel in different parts of Ghana and were privileged to meet in the house of the Lord,” related Elder Morrison. “Even when things may not happen according to our own plans, we can have faith that God’s timing is perfect.”

2. Submit to the Lord’s will

The Gospel of Matthew records that when the Savior suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane, he prayed three times, each prayer ending with the same sentiment: “Not as I will, but as thou wilt” and “thy will be done” (Matthew 26:39, 42).

Those who submit to and rely on God gain strength are equipped for challenges ahead, said Elder Morrison,. This is why open and regular communication through prayer is vital when navigating the intricacies of life.

“Let us humbly submit ourselves to His guidance, trusting that He knows what is best for us. As we surrender to His will, our own will is swallowed in His, and we offer our hearts, minds and souls as offerings to Him.”

True joy and fulfillment, he said, come by aligning one’s will with the will of Heavenly Father.

3. Make the best of challenging circumstances

Change is often seen as a threat, causing many to resist it without considering its potential benefits, said Elder Morrison. However, those who expect and plan for change can find incredibly fulfilling and transformative experiences in life.

“While change can be painful, recognizing the progress it brings can be immensely satisfying,” he said. “Rather than viewing change as an adversary, we should approach it thoughtfully and be open to the rewarding and profound experiences it can offer.”

Elder Morrison invited those struggling with change to recall the encouragement of Paul — “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13) — and President Russell M. Nelson’s call to “think celestial.”

“When we choose to follow and align our will to Heavenly Father’s will and to His prophets, we gain spiritual guidance and direction in our lives,” Elder Morrison said. “This can lead to personal growth, character development and an increase in spiritual strength.”

4. Embrace unexpected opportunities

Change is an inevitable aspect of life, said Elder Morrison. Yet “embracing new opportunities with faith means allowing hope to guide you.”

He continued, “Let us adopt an open-minded and willing attitude, embracing these pleasant surprises, knowing that they may lead us toward extraordinary paths that we could never have imagined.”

Possessing and exercising faith is a choice, Elder Morrison said. By choosing to act in faith and make righteous decisions, even despite unforeseen circumstances, Saints can enhance their spiritual capacity and strength.

Enduring peace, abundant blessings’

“I testify that in my own journey,” he said, “I have seen undeniable blessings that have come from embracing change and fixing my focus on the Savior.”

Elder Morrison invited listeners to reflect on changes that have occurred in their lives and to consider how focusing on Jesus Christ has influenced their experiences.

“As we embrace change with faith, trust in the Lord’s plan and anchor our lives to His teachings, we can find enduring peace, abundant blessings and the strength to face whatever lies ahead. … I testify of the Savior, whose work this is, and of the assurance that He is nearer us than we can possibly comprehend.

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