Light for Shadows: Risk/Blessing of Choice

Light for Shadows: Risk/Blessing of Choice July 10, 2024

Light for shadows that can confuse choice
(Lunardi/Wikimedia Commons

Current youth have been called  the “choice generation” for the “mindboggling” number of choices available to them, more than any past generation. Particularly with the omnipresence of technology. Living in a world of such challenges, we all need light for shadows of distraction and confusion that seem to close in around us.

Dodge or Procrastinate?

Many do. But we who love and follow our Father in Heaven and His Son Jesus Christ cannot. As President Nelson has told us, “The baseless notion that we should ‘eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die; and it shall be well with us’ is one of the most absurd lies in the universe.”  He offers instead the words “dignity of choosing.” Dignity—not fear, pride, or greed.

Jeffrey R. Holland warned 26 years ago, “the days of comfortably having one foot in the restored Church and one foot in the world [are] vanishing quickly.” Those of us who can remember 26 years ago agree with the worsening speed.

Necessary for all generations is Lehi’s explanation to his young fifth son, Jacob, that to use their agency to act for themselves, God’s children must experience contrasting options. He used the words “opposition in all things.” To choose wisely, we must know what the choices are. Later, as a spiritually mature  and wise prophet, Jacob taught his people, “Cheer up your hearts and remember that ye are free to act for yourselves—to choose the way of everlasting death or the way of eternal life” (see 2 Nephi 2:27).

Book of Mormon prophets emphasized this choice.

  • On the sins of Korihor, Alma (30:8) noted this scripture: “Choose ye this day, whom ye will serve.”
  • The People of Ammon chose to bury their swords and let themselves be slaughtered rather than defend themselves (see Alma 24).
  • Samuel the Lamanite preached from his wall: “God hath given unto you a knowledge and he hath made you free” (Helaman 14:30).

Scatter or Matter?

With shadows of so many choices surrounding us, we need light, even for what has been called “the middle ground—the workaday world and seemingly ordinary decisions where we spend most of our time.” Quentin L. Cook suggested some considerations to lead us toward light. They are mentioned here as questions, with workaday applications added.

  • Is the choice “consistent with your goals”? Would a safety-conscious person take off their protective helmet when it is awkward or inconvenient?
  • Is the option “consistent with the gospel?” If someone badly needs listening and understanding, would Jesus want you to catch up first on lawn mowing or laundry?
  • Does the practice contribute to balance and stability in your life? Are you spending hours every day on the same hobby or entertainment, neglecting important life needs.

Some matters in our lives we cannot control, and the clouds may seem thicker and darker. But choices must be made, and we may find ourselves pleading to receive light for shadows.

A highly respected Church leader enlightened us, describing “absolute control” over our responses to changes, circumstances, or an “unexpected path.” “How we respond is a choice. Turning to the Savior and grasping His outstretched arm is always our best option.”

The uncontrolled challenge is sometimes a person. David A. Bednar offered light, assuring that no one can offend anyone. We must choose to  be offended. God gives us “moral agency, the capacity for independent action and choice.”  Blaming our anger, pain, or bitterness on another person “diminishes our moral agency, our power to choose how another person’s words or behavior will affect us.” Moral agency is a precious gift.

Fear of the Little-Known or Light for Shadows?

Patrick Kearon shared the one true light for shadows.

 Jesus Christ, our beloved Saviour, is the transcendent source of light in our lives. He Himself has assured us, “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12). The light of life! That’s who He is. That’s what He offers us. Because of His light, we really can choose hope and joy in the midst of life’s confusing storms . . . The miracle of His light that can penetrate any gloom.

How?  Apostle Kearon added, “If we open our hearts to the scriptures, [we can] be guided by their light.” Scriptures contain God’s specific words: “That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day . . . that you may chase darkness from among you” (Doctrine and Covenants 50:24-25).

Scriptural accounts illustrate choices made in God’s light. Abraham chose to follow the Lord in every challenge. Moses chose to climb Mount Sinai to commune with the Lord. Joshua chose to commit to the Lord (his people with him). Other choices denied the light. Lot clung to Sodom, losing most of his family. Aaron chose to made a golden calf. Saul chose greed over obedience to God.

Elder Kearon testified of the temple as “an unwavering source of light and a symbol of safety . . . [that provides] steadying constancy in a world of turmoil and uncertainty [and] fills us with the Lord’s light.”  He concluded that if we can be “led purely by the hand of God . . . we will be empowered to face the unknowns of our future with sustaining faith and abiding trust.”

Significantly, he added, “Each of you is loved in ways you cannot comprehend.”

Perfect choices? Of course not! We could not use our agency to grow and develop as the Savior desires if walking in the light removed all shadows and challenges. We have a better perspective. Being a disciple does not mean our choices are perfect; it means we make them intentionally. As they reflect our intent, they reveal our actual selves—more significant than abilities.

  We make choices constantly: sometimes hesitant choices; often middle-road, workaday choices; occasionally choices of attitude toward something we cannot control. God’s loving light is our supreme light for the shadows of mortal experience.
























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