God Loves Broken Things


Elder Holland came to our stake this weekend to reorganize the leadership. It was such a blessing to hear his testimony and wise counsel. Prior to this weekend I was feeling pretty down and because of this negativity I was also feeling distant from God. So many answers to questions I've had and so many thoughts that I needed to hear were given this weekend. I am so thankful. Bear with me while I review my notes and try my best to convey the powerful message he shared.

Elder Holland directed his thoughts to those who are having a hard time or who have had a hard time or who know of anyone who is having a hard time. In other words, he was talking to each of us. He said that if the room did not have one person in it who was currently going through a trial that he should stop talking right then and take a picture for the cover of the church magazine - "We found a stake without one person who has a problem!" I love his sense of humor.

He started off by saying on his drive down to New Haven, he wondered about each of us. He wondered how we are doing and what we are going through and whether we are happy. Even though he doesn't know many of us personally, he thought about us and about our spiritual/physical/emotional status. 

Then, he began with a point that he continued to go back to during his talk and that he made VERY clear throughout the rest of the evening:


When he was a grad student at Yale, he and his wife had two children and were dirt poor. At that time, they certainly were broken. Everything they had was literally broken: their cars, the kids' toys, their clothes, etc. His wife held a leadership position and then Elder Holland was called to the stake presidency. He made a joke that "you know when you call a grad student to the stake presidency that you are scraping the bottom of the barrel. You have splinters in your fingers from scraping so hard." How was he supposed to travel around the east coast throughout the stake, that at that time spanned across multiple states, given their situation? One car. Grad school. Two little kids. No money. Elder Holland expressed that he knows what it feels like to be broken. 

He then provided a different perspective to being "broken":
  • It takes broken clouds to nourish the Earth
  • It takes broken earth to grow grain
  • It takes broken grain to make bread
  • It takes broken bread to nourish the body
There are so many cycles of life, and sometimes certain cycles come that "break" us. When you are in that cycle and all you can see is the rain and the dirt, DON'T PANIC

The gospel teaches us that things get fixed. When things break, believe and have faith. Hang on, push through and let the cycle run. Things will be fixed.

For those who have been to the temple, we are under covenant to sacrifice. Perhaps the times in our lives when we are "broken" are a part of that sacrifice. When we sacrifice, we are saying that we trust in Christ and in His Atonement. Don't panic or say, "Why me?" or "Why us?" This is your chance to make an offering. 

When times get hard, God says, "Trust me." He can take a broken heart and make it better than ever before.

Elder Holland then went on to share a funny experience from his days in primary. He said his teacher gave the absolute worst object lesson and he wishes he could forget it because the theology behind it is so wrong. His teacher brought in a piece of wood with nails and a hammer. Each child in the class got to hammer in a nail. Then they were asked to pull the nail out. Her point was that it was hard to pull the nail out and that although it was possible to remove it, the holes will be there forever. 

This is not so. The gospel teaches us that you get a new piece of wood! Not a piece that has been filled with putty, not a piece that has been painted to look new, not a piece that has been turned to the other side. Through the Atonement of Christ, you get a new piece without any holes again and again and again. Every time you offer a broken heart and contrite spirit, you are forgiven. (Elder Holland added that he thinks the thing God loves most about His job is when He is able to be merciful.)

He returned to talking about the different cycles of life and how there are different times for different people. Sometimes you may look around and feel that you are in the darkness while others are in the light. It's 3 AM for you but 7 AM for your neighbor or 10 AM for your good friend. Be patient and know that the sun always comes up

The most foolish thing you can do is to think you're being picked on. If you think God doesn't love you because you're going through hard times, what does that have to say about His relationship with His Only Begotten Son? Christ suffered for each and every one of our sorrows and sins. Christ died of a broken heart. John 19:34 - "But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water." Where did that blood and water come from? He was not in a car accident. If an autopsy was performed on Christ, this is what they would have found: Cause of death: A broken heart. 

Please don't ever fall victim to think, "Well, I guess God doesn't love me!" When you are in a storm, stay in the boat. That is the number one rule of seamanship. When the waves get rough, you don't do a half-gainer off the bow. That's suicide. When you are going through a trial, strap yourself in and stay in the church. (Elder Holland even said that the "dumbestthing you can do when times get hard is to leave the church.) Stiffen your back and straighten your shoulders. Things will be fixed. You will see light again. Some things may not be resolved for months, years, decades and some may not be resolved until heaven, but they will be fixed. 

In Mark chapter 40 Christ taught the people and then afterward traveled with His disciples. In verse 35 Christ says, "...let us pass over to the other side." During their travels He falls asleep and then a storm comes. The storm is so powerful that the ship fills with water. His disciples wake Him and say, "Carest thou not that we perish?" Jesus calmed the storm and then said, "Why are ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith?"

Elder Holland related this to our own lives. How many times could Christ say the same to us? "Why are ye so fearful?" "Where is your faith?" or maybe "Why do you worry so much?" Remember that Christ said BEFORE they began their journey that they would make it to the other side. He knew they would be okay. Do you think He would've gotten on the ship in the first place if it was going to sink? Do you think He would have been able to sleep during the storm if it was going to take the ship down? No matter what you are going through, you will make it to the other side. You will see the light again.

This life is not much of a test if it's not much of a sacrifice. Believe. Have faith. Trust in Christ. 


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1 comment:

Margie Pilling said...

That is beautiful! (Just like every talk I have ever heard Elder Holland give) Thanks for sharing this!

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