“Drawing Near to the Lord in Our Weakness,” Ensign, Mar. 2003, 38–39
Perhaps as some others, I’ve felt there are some parts of my personality that I wished weren’t there. Saddened by these flaws and troubled at my lack of progress in overcoming them over the years, I sought help in the scriptures.
I received new hope after reading Ether 12:27: “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.”
This scripture is familiar, but when I read it again while pondering some of my problem areas, it struck me with new meaning. I realized I needed to find for myself how the Lord viewed me if I am to discover each weakness and, with His help, make it a strength. Also, the idea that God helps us recognize our weaknesses is a wonderful reason to talk to Him! It was then that I felt His guidance directing me toward new growth.
My first awareness of His guiding hand came shortly after my scripture experience, while attending a class on anger—because I thought someone else needed it. The instructor asked me to describe how I was doing in regard to anger. I could tell him more about how the strangers in the class felt than I could find words to tell how I was feeling. Suddenly it came to me that we often possess weaknesses we see in others.
This realization brought added meaning to the Savior’s teachings on the Sermon on the Mount when He said, “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?” (Matt. 7:3).
The discovery that some of the characteristics I have the least tolerance for in others are sometimes my own shortcomings was eye-opening and humbling. By focusing on my own growth and progress, I have learned I need not spend time worrying about others. I am now better able to admit my wrongs. Instead of justifying my mistakes, I now sorrow for them, try to forsake them, and repent. And surprisingly, embracing the fact that I have shortcomings has allowed me to understand some personal character strengths, like being outgoing, aware of others, and open-minded.
Moroni relates the Lord’s promise to him regarding this: “And because thou hast seen thy weakness thou shalt be made strong, even unto the sitting down in the place which I have prepared in the mansions of my Father” (Ether 12:37; emphasis added).
This scripture study has made me more conscious of my personal responsibilities.
Proverbs 3:4–6 says: “So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” I have found when I do so, ultimately I’m happier.
Susan Wilson Ackerman, Riverton Seventh Ward, Riverton Utah North Stake