Michalyn Steele, associate professor of law, delivered Tuesday's Devotional address in the de Jong Concert Hall. Steele spoke about trusting the Lord throughout times of trial and tribulation.
Steele acknowledged the college experience as a time of tremendous personal growth. While pursuing a degree, many students develop critical thinking skills that help them develop intellectually and spiritually.
“We wrestle before the Lord to develop and deepen our testimonies and flesh out our identities," said Steele. "In this age of abundant information and disinformation, how do we know where to turn as we refine our beliefs and mature our testimonies? And how do we respond as our faith passes through refining fires?”
Steele said whatever trial we may be facing, mortal or spiritual, we can choose to trust the Lord.
“While so much around us is constant and fleeting, He is faithful. He will never fail us. You may rely on His love as an unerring truth.”
Steele explained that when she experienced painful moments in her personal life, she longed for the Lord to intervene in a specific way and pleaded for certain blessings, only to feel that questions had gone unanswered and the heavens remained silent. Through those times of confusion and fear, Steele chose to trust the Lord.
“Everyone passes through fiery trials. I know that the Savior is intimately acquainted with your grief and sees your sorrows," she said. "He has promised one day to wipe away all tears. And He will."
But making the decision to trust the Lord in the moment of that fiery trial isn't easy, especially when we feel alone. Steele suggested three principles that have helped her learn to trust the Lord during those moments:
1. Follow the "Seven Generations" principle
As a member of the Seneca Nation of Indians from New York, Steele grew up on the Cattaraugus Indian reservation where she learned to consider the consequences and outcomes of her choices on the next seven generations.
"The seven generations principle challenges us to pause to contemplate how our choices, multiplied and amplified through future generations, might affect our relationships with the Creator, with one another and with the Earth,” Steele said. "It means we strive to keep an eye on things of eternity, especially in the midst of blinding mortal pain."
With a broader perspective, we can allow our understanding of the Atonement to build a deeper capacity for mercy and compassion toward others.
2. Seek not to counsel the Lord, but to take counsel from His hand
Seeking to counsel the Lord means that we think we know more or have a better plan for our lives than the Lord does. This ultimately reflects a fundamental lack of trust in God and His perfect love.
“As learned as we may become, we will never have knowledge or judgment that will exceed the Lord’s,” she said. But as we put our trust in the Lord, the individualized path He has designed for each of His children will unfold.
“It is marvelous to contemplate that although He is the great God of the universe and the works of His hands are beyond our numbering, each of us is known and loved of Him. Indeed, we are graven in the palms of His hands.”
3. Love abundantly
When we can't understand the things happening in our lives, we can rely on the perfect and constant love of God. Steele said her happiness has multiplied and her challenges have dulled when she has tried to emulate that perfect love and has focused on serving friends, colleagues and family.
"Even where I felt my demand for justice was valid, my mother urged me to let mercy pay the debt and satisfy my claims.... Choosing to love is choosing to heal from the spiritual wounds inflicted by injustice and suffering."
Next Devotional: Chris Crowe
Chris Crowe, professor of English and English education, will deliver the next BYU Devotional on Tuesday, July 2, at 11:05 a.m. in the de Jong Concert Hall.
His remarks will also be broadcast live on BYUtv, BYUtv.org, KBYU-TV 11, Classical 89 FM and BYUradio.