“When you consider the concept of the unexpected, how do you feel?” mused Brooke Robertson, to a BYU audience on Tuesday in the Marriott Center. According to Robertson, some people love surprises and crave novelty, while others love predictability and crave routine. Unexpected events can cause this latter group great anxiety, which she admitted to being familiar with.
Delivering the first devotional address of the spring term, Robertson, a policy manager and analyst for BYU’s Integrity and Compliance Office, shared several personal experiences and testified that by binding herself to Jesus Christ, she has been able to navigate the unexpected.
During her junior year midterms as a student at BYU, Robertson began to constantly feel exhausted and experience other symptoms, prompting her to see a doctor who diagnosed her with type 1 diabetes. Despite being taught how to manage her condition, Robertson felt overwhelmed and scared by the new rules that governed her life and the uncertainty surrounding everyday activities such as eating and drinking.
Robertson realized that just as she struggled, many others have experienced similar feelings of fear and uncertainty in response to serious physical or mental health challenges, relationship breakdowns, financial difficulties or other traumatic events.
These challenges can be turning points, and Robertson taught that how people react to these difficult moments can alter their lives.
“We can allow our fear to paralyze us, to persuade us that the ambition we once had for our lives was misguided. We can believe we’re incapable, that there’s no point in trying,” she said. “When we are vulnerable and in pain, it seems so reasonable to give in to this line of thinking.”
About a week after receiving a diabetes diagnosis, Robertson found herself on campus, lacking her usual confidence and feeling like an imposter in her own life. Seeking relief, she turned to Doctrine and Covenants Section 122, which speaks of enduring trials and gaining experience through adversity.
Referring to the pain the Savior experienced, the scripture poses the question, “The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?”
“I was humbled by the piercing question, ‘Art thou greater than he?’ As I considered my situation in the context of the Savior’s infinite atoning sacrifice, my concerns were immediately tempered. I felt physically lighter. … I was assured that with Him, the burden of diabetes would be light.”
Robertson promised that when we turn and bind ourselves to Jesus Christ, Christ will bring relief and healing.
Robertson reminded her audience of the three steps President Nelson has encouraged us to take in partnering with the Savior.
Make and Keep Covenants
Robertson explained that nothing is more important in binding us to the Savior than making and keeping sacred covenants. These covenants will bring heavenly power and provide strength to make it through afflictions.
Help Gather Israel
Helping our brothers and sisters make and keep covenants is a deeply meaningful way to experience Christ’s goodness, said Robertson.
“Sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ, enhancing records in the FamilySearch website, performing proxy ordinances in temples, encouraging friends in their covenant making and keeping — these are all excellent ways to engage in the most important work of our day and draw near to Christ.”
Be a Peacemaker
“We are uniquely positioned in a world full of conflict to be bearers of Christ’s light through our peacemaking efforts,” Robertson declared. “I am heartened regularly by members of the BYU community who avoid contention and treat others with dignity and respect.”
Robertson warned that as people take time to dedicate themselves to Christ, they should expect opposition. She explained that Satan is motivated to distance individuals from the Savior by breaking their bond to Him however he can.
“[Satan] will try to amplify any pain, fear and isolation we feel to encourage us to wander. I invite you to resolve to stay faithful and take action daily to strengthen your bond with Christ so He can fulfill for us all the promises and blessings of our Heavenly Father.”