Archive for the ‘trials’ Tag

Men Are That They Might Have Joy

Reading: 2 Nephi 2:25

Sometimes when I am going through a particularly hard time I start to feel as if I will never be happy.  However, Lehi tells us that men are meant to have joy:

Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.

God created us with the purpose of giving us joy.  As Lehi has spent the whole chapter explaining, in order for us to have real joy we must 1) be able to choose for ourselves and 2) have a sense of what it means to have pain.

This scripture is always one I love to read when I am feeling down because it reminds me that God wants me to be happy and that if I remain faithful through my trials I will eventually have great joy.

Today I am going to write a list in my journal of the blessings that God has given me that give me the greatest joy.

What in your life has given you the greatest joy?  What joy are you looking forward to?

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All-Knowing God

Reading: 2 Nephi 2:24

Today is an exciting day in our house.  It is our baby’s first birthday.  Also, my sister-in-law is in labor and it looks very much like our little girl will be sharing a birthday with her cousin.  We are excited for our own baby’s growth, and for the birth of a new baby in the family.

The scripture I am discussing today seems especially poignant.  2 Nephi 2:24 says:

But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things.

When I am happy, and things are going well (like today), it is easy to believe that God is in control and that he knows what he is doing.

However, when things are not going well it becomes harder for me to have faith that “all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all thing.”  However, I know that many of the trials I have experienced in the past have helped me to better appreciate the good things that happen.

For example, if it weren’t for my own experiences as a mother over the past year and a half (pregnancy, birth, and onwards) then I wouldn’t feel so happy that my baby is a year old, or that a new baby is being born.  Before I was a mother I could not appreciate the amount of work and sacrifice it takes to bring a baby into the world and to raise them, so I didn’t have the depth of appreciation I have now for these precious moments and milestones. I see that God is directing me on a path to teach me and help me have joy.

Today I am going to give myself a little break and just enjoy the birthday celebrations, and appreciate what God has given me.

What things do you better appreciate now that you have experienced some trial or sacrifice?

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?

Hard Times

Reading: “‘Hope Ya Know, We Had a Hard Time,'” Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, October 2008 General Conference, Sunday Afternoon Session

Today I was listening to one of my favorite political commentary podcasts and he was going on and on about what is wrong with politics today.  It was getting very depressing, as there are many problems we face that seem insurmountable.  Then, I read Elder Cook’s talk and realized that we all face difficulties because they are part of life, and that while it may seem (or maybe even really be) that our problems are bigger than ever, every society and every generation has faced troubles.

Elder Cook says,

One of the essential doctrines illuminated by the Restoration is that there must be opposition in all things for righteousness to be brought to pass. This life is not always easy, nor was it meant to be; it is a time of testing and proving. As we read in Abraham, “And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them.” Elder Harold B. Lee taught, “Sometimes the things that are best for us and the things that bring eternal rewards seem at the moment to be the most bitter, and the things forbidden are ofttimes the things which seem to be the more desirable.”

We have been very blessed lately in that in a time of economic distress, my husband has gotten a really great job and for the forseeable future our financial situation will be pretty good.

So, when we went to Colorado this past weekend to look for a new home I was unpleasantly surprised when many things seemed to go wrong.  We had trouble getting to where we needed to be, we had to run around to one appointment after another and try to find time to also take care of the baby, and we had to make many hard choices about what was important to us in finding a home.  All in all, I felt really stressed out, and started to also worry that the move would be even more stressful and also worried about all the things that could go wrong.  I got kind of depressed about the whole thing.

Yesterday, and while reading this talk, I realized that there are always going to be hard things to deal with.  Moving is a really, really good thing for us, but there will still be many things about it that will be hard. God blesses us with trials in order to help us grow, and to help us truly appreciate the good.

Today I am going to write down in my journal ten things about moving that I am really happy about.

How do you keep hope alive when you are going through hard times?