And there’s lot’s to enjoy (pun intended) in Elder Christofferson’s remarks. Although he didn’t address singles specifically, there’s lots there for LDS singles. Those who open their minds and dig a little deeper can discover that, irrespective of their circumstances, the joy of the saints can be theirs.
Joy in keeping the commandments
Elder Christofferson begins by recounting the experience of Enos in the Book of Mormon who remembered his father speaking often about “the joy of the saints” (Enos 1:3). He then quotes from another Conference talk on joy, this one given by President Russell M. Nelson.
That address, entitled “Joy and Spiritual Survival,” is absolutely classic and necessary reading for all LDS singles. There we find from Eliza R. Snow this gem of a quote : “None but saints can be happy under every circumstance.” I love that we can have joy regardless of our circumstances, but I also love how timeless that principle is. It’s true today because it’s always been true.
Elder Christofferson reaffirms that truth in a new light: “‘The joy of the saints’ denotes the joy of becoming Christlike.” He further taught
Indeed, keeping the commandments brings true joy in life, an experience the wicked will never know until they repent and keep the commandments themselves.
Joy in overcoming sorrow and weakness
Of course, trials and troubles come to everyone in life, not just the wicked. Keeping the commandments will not prevent storms in life. But it will provide added strength to weather those storms and near us to He Who still controls the wind and the waves.
Elder Christofferson points us to Him by quoting His words: “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Christ gives us the power to overcome the storms of life, resulting once more in joy only the faithful will know.
I love the illustrative example Elder Christofferson shares. He tells of Jack Rushton, a stake president in California. In 1989, a tragic surfing accident left Brother Rushton paralyzed from the neck down. Not only had he lost control of his limbs, but he could no longer speak or breathe on his own.
Elder Christofferson continues,
Think of that. Here’s a paraplegic, someone whose situation is far worse than mine and probably yours as well. Yet he felt joy in His life by surrendering to the Lord, Who then helped this good brother overcome his misery. Elder Christofferson shares examples of how that works.
Joy in serving as He served
No matter our circumstances, we can come to the Savior Who can give us “beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness” (Isaiah 61:3). The challenges of LDS singles life certainly include the ashes left behind from dreams set aflame, mourning for treasured relationships which died or were never even born, and heaviness from the lonely walk through life without a partner.
Yet Christ overcame all things. This is why we can have joy regardless of our circumstances. Circumstances may bring happiness, but joy comes only from Christ, because Christ is joy.
President Nelson said as much in that classic Conference address all LDS singles should read. Elder Christofferson quotes those passages in his own address. He then shared these salient ideas:
This is precisely why I keep talking about a personal ministry. A personal ministry helps LDS singles focus on bringing goodness into the world and experiencing joy from blessing the lives of others.
Your singleness need not keep you from the joy you were meant to have now. Keep the Lord’s commandments, overcome sorrow and weakness by coming to Christ, and serve as He served through your personal ministry. When you do, you can experience the joy of the saints for yourself. And that will bring you more joy in your journey.
Howdy! I'm Lance, host of Joy in the Journey Radio. I've been blogging about LDS singles life since 2012, and now I produce a weekly radio show to help LDS singles have more joy in their journey and bring all Latter-day Saints together. Let's engage a conversation that will increase the faith of LDS singles and bring singles and marrieds together in a true unity of the faith.
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