Lift Us To the Greatest Heights…
As little children the world around us was all a glorious display of wonders to see and to touch. When we were small, we seemed to know as much, and our humble childlike ways allowed us to seek help in reaching greater heights and accomplishing greater things. A mother’s finger was great leverage to help us stand or even walk. A father’s reach was just what was needed to allow us to put the star atop the tree. The world was glorious and we appreciated joyfully any help we could receive to fully explore its wonders. Then came our days of false pride, seeking to do everything for ourselves, and fearing to appear weak if we sought needed help. I always thought this was a man thing, but I have learned since that our dear sisters struggle with this also. I, like all of you, have had to struggle with this weakness/strength thing, and the false pride that comes with it, but the Lord has taught me that my weaknesses can become strengths if I am humble to take His finger or allow Him to lift me to greater heights.
It is by our nature as men to despise our weakness. Throughout time men have been nurtured in cultures that have rewarded strength with honor. The very appearance or thought of weakness causes men to react in ways as to hide our foibles from the eyes of those around us. Fear of discovery, that we may be taken advantage of by those who would exploit our weakness, is powerful cause to hide them. Perhaps an even greater fear is appearing weak before those who rely on us or seek our protection, thus losing their confidence. I believe in most cases a good man can maintain the confidence of those he loves and leads solely through his faith and efforts, but the fear of losing that confidence can be overwhelming to the heart of a man, and that is when faith and self-confidence is lost. A man then is likely to either give up and fall publicly to his perceived weakness, giving into those things he would call his nature, or bury it deep and project false pride. Neither alternative will make him strong in any real sense.
The Lord taught these things to the Prophet Moroni, “Fools mock, but they shall mourn; and my grace is sufficient for the meek, that they shall take no advantage of your weakness; And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them” (Ether 12:26-27).
Again, culture throughout the ages would teach us that what makes a man a man, or a woman a woman for that matter, is strength, not weakness. We should try to do it on our own, and not seek help. If we fail then we are failures. But this is not true. The Lord taught us that by becoming humble and bringing our weaknesses to Him, weak things can be strong for us.
A baby may be weak and cannot survive without the suckle of his mother’s breast, and therefore may appear weak in this thing. Yet with this infantile suckling and training, he or she will grow strong, learn to self nourish, and one day perhaps have the skill and strength to feed many who would humbly partake of the gifts he or she has to offer. In like fashion, we are all like suckling babies unto the Lord, and if we would humbly partake of His gifts, set pride behind us forever, our weaknesses may become strengths to us, and serve the greater good to those for whom we have love and seek to provide.
President Henry B. Eyring taught,
“Those who do not see their weaknesses do not progress. Your awareness of your weakness is a blessing as it helps you remain humble and keeps you turning to the Savior. The Spirit not only comforts you, but He is also the agent by which the Atonement works a change in your very nature. Then weak things become strong” (General Conference, April 2017).
We do not necessarily want to show off our weaknesses, or to embrace them, but we do need to recognize that we have weaknesses, and take them to the Lord. In answer to prayer God may show us how to overcome our weaknesses. He may guide us to specific individuals to help us to become stronger and to overcome those things that make us feel less than we are. We may have to endure challenges that will specifically test our faith and give us strength. Regardless of the way that is best for us to grow and to learn, God will help us.
There is no shame in weakness. There is only rejoicing that the Lord loves us enough to train us in such a way that we may become truly strong. With His teaching we will come to know how to overcome, by faith and His power. There will be no pride in this, false or otherwise, because we will know that while we did all that we could to complete the task, we only succeeded by His hand, and we can humbly acknowledge that before all men. All the newborn baby needs to do is suck to receive the gift of nutrition offered, and by this action survival and strength will be the reward. There is no shame in receiving this blessed gift, no honor lost, only the acknowledgment that there are some things that we cannot provide for ourselves, some things that only He can give. As Moroni taught, “Wherefore, ye may also have hope, and be partakers of the gift, if ye will but have faith” (Ether 12:9). Let us have faith sufficient to bring our weaknesses unto the Lord, reach out for the leverage of His finger, and allow Him to work miracles in us, to turn our weaknesses into strengths. May we be humble and place our faith in the Savior’s reach to lift us to the greatest heights. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.