"We all are spirit sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father, an encouraging genealogy without temporal and national borders."These words left me feeling uplifted and humbled at the same time. Elder Maxwell had a wonderful way with words and I hope some day to have as much knowledge of the scriptures as he did. (P.S. It took me a ridiculously long time to find this article on the Church's website. I hope they're still working on making it more user-friendly. I even typed in "Neal A. Maxwell" and the exact title, but I had to dig through other stuff and click a link within a "resources page." Phew.)
"Don’t worry if you cannot give glib explanations as to the meaning of all things happening to you or around you."
"The Lord said comfortingly, 'I am in your midst' (D&C 38:7). 'And ye cannot bear all things now; nevertheless, be of good cheer, for I will lead you along. The kingdom is yours and the blessings thereof are yours, and the riches of eternity are yours' (D&C 78:18). God watches the times and seasons. He knows your individual bearing capacities. In the very, very last days, for example, He will display His mercy in an unusual way: 'And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened' (Matt. 24:22)
"Hence, you are to proceed with your lives within what is allotted to you, while letting adversity highlight any need for some personal and individual course corrections (see Alma 29:3). Happily, discipleship carries within itself its own witness that it is the true way of living; it is self-reinforcing. Enoch rejoiced, and so can you over the grand, consoling reality regarding God: 'And yet thou art there' (Moses 7:30). Privileged Enoch even saw the God of heaven weep! (see Moses 7:29). Yet Enoch was very discouraged by the gross wickedness anciently. He said he would 'refuse to be comforted' (Moses 7:44). The mentoring Lord, however, told Enoch to 'lift up your heart, and be glad; and look' (Moses 7:44). Then revealed to Enoch was Jesus’ Atonement in the meridian of time and also the latter-day Restoration. Enoch, who had been so distraught, now rejoiced! Do not 'refuse to be comforted.' Let the revelations comfort you. Let the scriptures refresh you!"
Elder Holland also had some fabulous things to say about learning from adversity:
"You can have sacred, revelatory, profoundly instructive experience with the Lord in the most miserable experiences of your life—in the worst settings, while enduring the most painful injustices, when facing the most insurmountable odds and opposition you have ever faced."
"We will face things we do not want to face for reasons that may not have been our fault. Indeed, we may face difficult circumstances for reasons that were absolutely right and proper, reasons that came because we were trying to keep the commandments of the Lord. We may face persecution; we may endure heartache and separation from loved ones; we may be hungry and cold and forlorn. Yes, before our lives are over we may all be given a little taste of what the prophets faced often in their lives. But the lessons of the winter of 1838–39 teach us that every experience can become a redemptive experience if we remain bonded to our Father in Heaven through that difficulty. These difficult lessons teach us that man’s extremity is God’s opportunity, and if we will be humble and faithful, if we will be believing and not curse God for our problems, He can turn the unfair and inhumane and debilitating prisons of our lives into temples—or at least into a circumstance that can bring comfort and revelation, divine companionship and peace."
"God was not only teaching Joseph Smith in that prison circumstance but He was teaching all of us, for generations yet to come. What a scriptural gift! And what a high price was paid for it!" [here he encouraged everyone to re-read D&C 121, 122, 123]
"Even though seemingly unjust circumstances may be heaped upon us and even though unkind and unmerited things may be done to us—perhaps by those we consider enemies but also, in some cases, by those whom we thought were friends—nevertheless, through it all, God is with us."
"In fact, it ought to be a matter of great doctrinal consolation to us that Jesus, in the course of the Atonement, experienced all of the heartache and sorrow, all of the disappointments and injustices that the entire family of man had experienced and would experience from Adam and Eve to the end of the world in order that we would not have to face them so severely or so deeply. However heavy our load might be, it would be a lot heavier if the Savior had not gone that way before us and carried that burden with us and for us."
"It has always been a wonderful testimony to me of the Prophet Joseph’s greatness and the greatness of all of our prophets, including and especially the Savior of the world in His magnificence, that in the midst of such distress and difficulty they could remain calm and patient, charitable and forgiving—that they could even talk that way, let alone live that way. But they could, and they did. They remembered their covenants, they disciplined themselves, and they knew that we must live the gospel at all times, not just when it is convenient and not just when things are going well. Indeed, they knew that the real test of our faith and our Christian discipleship is when things are not going smoothly. That is when we get to see what we’re made of and how strong our commitment to the gospel really is."
"I bless every one of you, each one of you in your individual circumstances, as if my hands were on your head. I offer that to you as honestly as I offer my testimony. I bless you in the name of the Lord that God does love you, does hear your prayers, is at your side, and will never leave you."
"In every generation, it would seem, from the beginning of time down to the present hour and beyond, so often it has been the women in our lives—our grandmothers, our mothers, our wives, our daughters, our sisters, our granddaughters—who have taken that torch of faith and that banner of beautiful living and have carried gospel principles wherever it would take them, against whatever hardship, into their own little equivalent of Liberty Jails and difficult times. Sisters, we love you and honor you and bless you. We ask that every righteous desire of your heart, tonight and forever, be answered upon your head and that you will walk away from this devotional with the understanding and the knowledge firmly in your heart as to how much God and heaven and the presiding Brethren of this Church love you and honor you."