One day in early 2004, Robert C. Gay and his wife, Lynette, sat in the office of an Apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Gays, Church members living in the eastern United States, were busy with family, large humanitarian projects around the world, and Elder Gay’s work as a senior managing partner of a global investment firm.
Even so, on that day, this Apostle asked them to set their everyday lives aside for three years to be a mission president and companion of one of the faith’s 337 missions. Considering the busyness of their lives, they politely declined.
The Apostle did not miss a beat. “Lynette, you are going to make a great missionary and companion to your husband,” he said. Then, turning to Robert (now Elder Gay of the Presidency of the Seventy) he spoke with unmistakable candor. “You really don’t get it,” the Apostle said. “The Lord is calling you to save your life. You are either going to live your life by covenant or convenience. There is never a convenient time to serve. This is a matter of faith. You either believe that the Lord will bless your life with the blessings you need as you do His priorities, or you don’t.”
Elder Gay was stunned. Upon further prayerful reflection, he and Lynette realized their lives were out of balance with their faith and their Church. They chose to serve the mission, which would be in Accra, Ghana.
“A covenant life is a more balanced life, lived according to God’s priorities, not our own agendas,” Elder Gay said Sunday, May 3, 2020, during a devotional for young adult Latter-day Saints worldwide. “Our lives have not been the same since. We have been completely blessed by His love and tutoring. If I know anything, I know that this same blessing will be yours if you faithfully stay on His covenant path. God wants to save your life.”
Like the faith’s April 2020 general conference, Sunday’s global broadcast originated from the Church Office Building auditorium on Temple Square in Salt Lake City. Attendance was limited to those who spoke and offered prayers. Sunday’s devotional was streamed live in 18 languages. In the coming days, it will be archived in 39 languages on broadcast.churchofjesuschrist.org.
To bring about the best change in their lives, Elder Gay encouraged the young adult audience to carefully consider how their desires line up with God’s priorities.
“Where, and on what, you place your hearts’ desire will determine how you will be both empowered to move through and prevail in life,” he said. “Therefore, tonight I invite you to choose to frame your life by the overarching desire to become converted [to the Lord] and to strengthen others.”
Elder Gay, who has been a General Authority Seventy for eight years, reminded young adults that establishing spiritual equilibrium in their lives is a process, not an event. Thus, they should be patient with themselves.
“Jesus gave His life so we would not measure our lives by our weaknesses or imperfections, but so we could repent daily and grow in strength through repentance into faith unshakeable,” Elder Gay said. “Those that live by covenant do not by any means live perfect lives but refine their lives through daily repentance. Such refinement opens them to God’s richest blessings and the very powers of heaven.”
Sister Gay: Learn to Hear God Speak to You
Sister Gay, who has served as a seminary teacher and in various roles in the Church’s Relief Society and Primary organizations, spoke about how everyone can hear God communicate with them. She once thought revelation was something reserved for Church leaders. Her life—including a dramatic experience that may have saved her daughter—taught her otherwise.
The Gays’ oldest daughter was a student at the University of Utah. Elder and Sister Gay were living in Connecticut. Sister Gay was awakened peacefully one night by a calm impression—one of love for her daughter and of the possibility that she might be in danger.
“This thought came to me, ‘Call the police. Ask them if they can send a police car to check out the area around where she lives,’” said the mother of seven. “I hesitated for a minute, trying to understand, and heard the voice again, ‘Call the police.’ So I did just that. I called the police. I couldn’t explain exactly to the officer why, but I told him I would really appreciate it if he would please send a car to check on the area around her house. He assured me he would, and I calmly went back to bed. I awoke the next day hardly remembering what had occurred during the night.”
When no one else understands you, [Jesus] does. … Face towards the Savior each day. Turn towards Him with faith. —Sister Gay
Several days later, the Gays were in Utah and heard news on the radio about the arrest of a man in connection with a murder that had taken place near student housing at the University of Utah. Sister Gay then remembered her late-night call to local police.
“While I don’t know exactly what had occurred, I do know that a quiet nudge awoke me in the middle of the night and compelled me to make a call to help ensure my daughter’s safety in what was an apparently unsafe situation,” Sister Gay said. “I am impressed that the only true language we all must hear, know, and understand is the language of the Spirit. May you perfect that language in your life. As you do so, you will be guided, protected and lifted in every needful way.”
Sister Gay concluded by directing her college-aged audience to take their burdens directly to the loving, caring, consoling arms of Jesus Christ. “When no one else understands you, He does. He understands,” Sister Gay said. “I lovingly urge that you face towards the Savior each day—not away. Turn towards Him with faith in those truths you know to be true. Don’t let your doubts, your fears, or those things that keep you up at night turn you away from the protection and power of the Holy Ghost and [the] promises of our Savior, Jesus Christ.”