Thy Affliction Shall Be For Thy Good

Reading: 2 Nephi 2:1-3, D&C 122

FYI, just in case there is actually anyone subscribed to this blog, as of the start of this year I am only posting Monday through Friday.

In my last post I promised to pick apart 2 Nephi chapter 2, so today I am starting with verses 1-3.

As a child, Jacob was born into hard times.  He was born in the desert, in a tent, while his family was on the move.  Also, with his older brothers constantly fighting Jacob faced many tense times where it was very possible on or more of his family might kill other members of his family.  So, when Lehi starts out his father’s blessing to Jacob with the following, it is with great justification:

And behold, in thy childhood thou hast suffered afflictions and much sorrow, because of the rudeness of thy brethren. Nevertheless, Jacob, my first-born in the wilderness, thou knowest the greatness of God; and he shall consecrate thine afflictions for thy gain.

The wording in this verse is very similar to the wording found in D&C 122, where God tells Joseph Smith that all of the things he has experienced will also be for his good.  (Read the whole section for a full list of afflictions.) He says,

And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.

The key message here, I think, is that God is familiar with our afflictions, whatever they may be.  If we remain true throughout them then we will gain good from them.

While thinking of an example in my life I could share, I thought of a particular experience I had in college.  At the time I was really struggling with my classes, and struggling with really getting along with my roommates.  Although I didn’t know it yet, what I was really struggling with was also an anxiety disorder.  Then a relationship with a boy went bad.  I really felt like “why me?” at that time.

That night I had a dream, the only dream I have ever had that was also a semi-spiritual experience.  In this dream there were a bunch of people trapped in a building hiding from some bad creatures who were attacking them.  A man came to the people and said that he could get them out, but they would have to do what he said.  In order to get out some people would have to go through some bad stuff, while others would get easier paths.  The fact was that if everyone went the way the man said, the would all get out in the end.  But, if they didn’t, what they would experience would be far, far worse than anything they would encounter on the path.

The man in the dream, of course, was a parallel to the Savior leading us the best way through this life.What this dream seemed to be telling me was that although I had to go through some bad stuff, it was good for me to do so. And, although I may never know the details of it, this trial would be far better than the alternative of not following God.

Today I am going to write in my journal about how the things that I am having a hard time with right now (which really isn’t that bad, at the moment, but there’s always something) can turn out to be for my good.

Are there afflictions in your life that you are facing right now? What helps you when you are feeling down and out?

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