Thursday, July 28, 2011

Mormon 9:14 -- On Finding the Happiness

"And then cometh the judgment of the Holy One upon them; and then cometh the time that he that is filthy shall be filthy still; and he that is righteous shall be righteous still; he that is happy shall be happy still; and he that is unhappy shall be unhappy still."
Mormon 9:14

I love this verse, and I think that it has changed the way that I think about a lot of things. Often in life we're tempted to just "suffer through" something and come out the other side saying, wow, that was horrible, but at least I made it. We equate sacrifice with suffering, and feel like God asks us to suffer in order to pass whatever test we have to go through. I think though that when we think those things, we're getting it wrong. Men are that they might have joy (2 Nephi 2:25), right? ... I think that the whole purpose of life is to be happy, and this scripture says that he that is unhappy will be unhappy still after judgment day. That sounds horrible... and it means that it is up to us to find happiness now. We can't "suffer through" and wait for it... or learn to be happy tomorrow. We need to find a way in whatever we're going through now. And if we can't, then something needs to change. God does ask us to sacrifice, but he doesn't ask us to sacrifice joy. Perhaps trade an inferior or temporary happiness for a longer lasting and greater one maybe... but never any permanent choice of joy for sorrow, or happiness for pain.
One of my favorite books is called Till We Have Faces, by C. S. Lewis, and in that book the main character is the ugly daughter of the king, and usually lonely and unloved. At one point in the book she is traveling to the place where someone she loved was allowed to die for a reason that makes no sense to her, and she's sad losing the only person that she really cared about, and sad to have to live through the loss more, and angry with her father for allowing it to happen... so filled with negative emotion that it's crazy... and then she rides over this meadow that is breathtakingly beautiful and she's surprised by a feeling of happiness struggling to get through... the thought comes to her "why should your heart not dance?" ... and I think that is what God is saying to us as well. No matter what is going on in our lives, and no matter how bleak things can sometimes seem... at work, at home, at school... joy is still there, waiting for us to notice. We can always choose it, though sometimes it is hard to remember.
At the judgment, we're going to be restored to what we've learned to be while here on Earth. If we've learned righteousness and happiness, then we'll be restored to that. But God can't restore righteousness and happiness to us if we didn't have them in the first place. We have to find a path to happiness... and God shows us his path, but sometimes we forget the happiness part along the way, and think that it is okay to just go through the motions without feeling good about it. And that's an okay way to start if we're struggling to be obedient, but if we don't eventually find a way to like what we're doing, and *want* it... God isn't going to give us something eternally that we don't want and don't value.
Today, let's find the happiness in what we're doing now, and work on finding the joy in God's plan that we can take with us into the next life. :)

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