BYU Devotional: Sterling Hilton advises on walking Christ’s path

Sterling Hilton speaks on having faith and walking the Lord’s path at the Oct. 13, 2015 devotional. (Natalie Bothwell)

BYU professor Sterling Hilton spoke at the Oct.13, 2015 devotional on finding peace during tribulation by walking the Lord’s path.

Hilton shared one of his favorite scriptures, Matthew 11:28-30, in which Christ lays out a path to eternal life and promises rest to those who come unto him.

The scripture said Christ’s “yoke is easy.” Hilton explained how the image of a yoke, a bar or frame connecting two individuals, evokes the image of the Savior and whether “we are either teamed with him, side-by-side, or we are carrying his yoke.”

He recognized that the path isn’t always what people understand as easy, but the lesson learned on Christ’s “path of meekness and submission” is meekness. Following God’s will can help people reconcile with the last verse during times of tribulation, according to Hilton.

Hilton suggested people should also consider the scriptural synonyms of light: truth, glory, and love. This can help them understand and remain yoked to Christ by following his example in the best and worst of times.

He shared a personal example of the struggles and joys of following the Lord’s path when he and his family were inspired to adopt a child from India in 2000. Years later they were matched with a three-month-old baby, Chetna.

Hilton explained that Chetna had no known major disabilities at first. He and his wife weren’t looking for a challenge. They decided to adopt Chetna after studying their information, praying and receiving a clear answer at the temple: “Yes, this is your child.”

They quickly discovered Chetna had some diabilities. “She was profoundly deaf in her right ear and severely deaf in her left and blind,” Hilton said.

He explained that heir social worker offered a way out, but their decision hadn’t changed. Chetna was their child.

He said he still had faith, even though he was afraid. He mentioned he prayed and had faith that Chetna’s sight would be restored.

“Some times my prayers weren’t prayers at all; they were demands couched in the trappings of prayer,” Hilton said.

He said he eventually paused to hear the Lord’s answer: that the Lord would take care of Chetna and that he knew her needs.

The Hiltons’ answer hasn’t changed as they discovered, over the years, that she had quadriplegic cerebral palsy. They didn’t know how to raise her, but Hilton said they trusted the Lord.

“But God knew, and in his infinite kindness, he gave Chetna her sight and her smile that she might have one avenue of communication with her world,” Hilton said.

Chetna’s example has shown Hilton how to stay the path.

“Through her pattern of choices, Chetna has become my greatest teacher of how to bear my burdens with greater grace and patience,” Hilton said. “She reassures me that God is real and that all is well because we have his love.”

Hilton said tribulation can be a bright hope instead of a “crushing, hopeless despair.”  He said suffering instead reveals Christ to us. Hilton recognized he knows people on earth are not finished products, but he also knows repentance cleanses and following the path strengthens.

“So, stay the course!” Hilton said. “I encourage you not as a bystander on the sidelines watching you run, nor as a finisher who has completed the race, but as a fellow runner who is running the race with you.”

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