Friday, August 10, 2012

Doctrine and Covenants 122:5-7

"If thou art called to pass through tribulation; if thou art in perils among false brethren; if thou art in perils among robbers; if thou art in perils by land or by sea;
If thou art accused with all manner of false accusations; if thine enemies fall upon thee; if they tear thee from the society of thy father and mother and brethren and sisters; and if with a drawn sword thine enemies tear thee from the bosom of thy wife, and of thine offspring, and thine elder son, although but six years of age, shall cling to thy garments, and shall say, My father, my father, why can’t you stay with us? O, my father, what are the men going to do with you? and if then he shall be thrust from thee by the sword, and thou be dragged to prison, and thine enemies prowl around thee like wolves for the blood of the lamb;
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."
Doctrine and Covenants 122:5-7

This set of verses is really packed with examples... and how extreme some of them are.  A six year-old watching his father being taken off by obviously violent men?  And imagining the elements or the winds against us, or "the very jaws of hell" trying to swallow us... Yikes.  Instead of "all things shall work together for your good," God here addresses the question of, okay, what if it seems like they don't?  What about when all things are working against us and trying to eat us for breakfast?  What about those rough patches in life... or the long, slow skids... or the pain that seems like it will never go away?  And I think that God's message here is clear:  No matter what we are going through, no matter how bad it gets, it will all give us experience, and shall be for our good.
Definitely not saying that it is all fun and games.  When the elements and the wind and the jaws of hell are after you, sometimes you struggle to come up with a good joke to lighten the mood.  ... But in all seriousness, God makes up for any strength we lack, and gives us the power to handle any situation we're in.  Sometimes it can't be solved, but only endured.  Sometimes it changes our very definition of who we are.  Sometimes it seems like it is unendurable.  But with God, everything can be overcome, and getting through the pain makes us into stronger, more compassionate, better people.
None of this is easy to see in the midst of the suffering.  And it isn't always much comfort to know that we're changing for the better, because it's a painful process.  But today, let's seek comfort in God, who never leaves us comfortless, and try to remember that all of it is working for our good... think of how amazing we are going to be. :)

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