This is the title of the talk I gave today at church. It is also the title of the talk it was based on by Elder Holland. I liked writing this talk. Mainly as with most talks we are asked to give, the one researching and speaking is usually the one that gets the most out of it. Here it is:
The Best is Yet to Be
I have moved 39 times in my life. Though some of those moves were small and across town, there were many that were distant and required preparation and faith to accomplish.
Before one of my larger moves and life changes I felt unsettled in leaving my current living situation and state. One night as I was studying I found peace in the scripture 1 Nephi 4:6. This is the time where Nephi was to retrieve the brass plates from the home of Laban. Here Nephi states, “I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do.” The faith Nephi must have had to first receive the promptings, and second to actually follow.
In this last move back here to Oregon I left behind in Maryland 8 yrs of acquired friendships, contacts, and safety. Though I knew I was leaving many things behind, I looked forward to being reunited with family, and seeing what I could become in this new phase of my life. A kind of “Starting over”.
Elder Holland opened the January 2009 BYU devotional address with the phrase:
“Look ahead and remember that faith is always pointed toward the future.”
Elder Holland continued in his address to talk about the trials of Lot. Lot was told by the Lord in Genesis 19:17 “Escape for thy life”. And, “Look not behind thee…; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed”
The hardships in leaving their home and comfort were nothing in comparison to the dismay of losing their wife and mother as she looked back, and in doing so became a pillar of salt. As Elder Holland points out, “She was not just looking back, her heart wanted to go back.”
Elder Neal A Maxwell, commented once on Lot’s wife and stated that, “such people know they should have their primary residence in Zion, but they still hope to keep a summer cottage in Babylon”. Her attachment to the past outweighed her confidence in the future.
Lot’s wife did not have faith. She doubted. Not only in her husband, but also in the Lords ability to provide her with something better that what she already had.
We see another example of this in Luke 9:61-62. As the Lord was traveling with Peter, James and John a man stated to the Lord, “I will follow thee; but let me first go and bid them farewell, which are at home in my house”. The Lords comment to him was, “No man, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”
As we learn from the popular phrase, “Learn from the past, live in the present, look to the future.” The past is to be learned from, but not lived in.
Forgive and Forget
A vital part of looking towards the future by learning from our past is learning to forgive and forget. Elder Holland points out that: “There is something in many of us that particularly fails to forgive and forget earlier mistakes In life-either our mistakes or others. It is not good”.
In the mission I served my mission president strongly counseled to not have parents and or other family come and “pick us up” from the mission field. He told the story of a young man who when he came into the mission field was small and weak, both physically and spiritually. He watched this Elder stretch and grow. Accepting calls to leadership and serving faithfully. By the time of the end of this missionaries mission the Elder had changed to one of “mighty stature”. As was the custom at this time the Elders family came to tour the mission area and escort him back home. My mission President told us of how he watched the family tease and joke about the “poor companions” that had to put up with him. He watched as this Elder who had seen the Lords potential for him and had became strong in stature and spirit, slowly fade and doubt the Lords plan for him.
As Elder Holland states: Let people repent; let people grow.
To often when couples are deeply hurt or even just deeply stressed, they reach father and farther into the past and find yet a bigger brick to throw through the window “pain” of their marriage. It is not right to go back and open some ancient wound that the son if god himself died to heal.
In DC 58:42 The Lord states: “behold he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, remember them no more”
This repentance has to be sincere.
We need to follow the example of the Anti-Nephi-Lehies, and bury our weapons of war and leave them buried.
One thing to consider at the start of this New Year is that our Heavenly Father doesn’t care as much about where we have been as He does about where we are, and with His help, where we are willing to go.
And really what is a new year, rather than just the star of something new. A time to renew. A new move to a new place. The same as each birthday we celebrate, or when we take on the covenants of baptism. Or when we receive the blessings of the temple. Each week in partaking of the sacrament. Daily in our prayers and conversations with our Heavenly Father.
As Luke records in Luke 17:32: The Lord reminds us to “Remember Lot’s wife”
To quote Robert Browning: “The bets is yet to be”