Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Isaiah 1:5 -- On Tantrums

"Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint."
Isaiah 1:5

When I was a little kid, I would be upset and crying about something inconsolably, so out of control that I would be breathing in great gasps, not able to get enough air.  And my mom would tell me to calm down... that I was making myself sick.  And I was.  Whatever small thing it was that I was upset about was not in any way proportionate to the level of my emotional disturbance.  I'd like to say that I've grown out of that completely, but maybe I haven't.  And I think that what God is saying here is similar to what my mother said.  We're making ourselves sick.  We sin and rebel and try to assert our wills by raging against what has been done "to" us, when really, no matter what it is, our rage and our anger and our rebellion are out of proportion.  Instead of looking for ways to solve our problems, we're making ourselves sick.
Yes, definitely some things in our lives just are, and aren't necessarily chosen.  For example, I didn't choose to have allergies, and people don't usually choose to get cancer or any other ailment.  And things we don't choose are hard sometimes.  It's hard to know that we're going to experience pain, that there are things that we can't do, or be, or have, because of something we didn't have control over.  And yet, I still say that we're making ourselves sick.  Why?  Because "he that is happy shall be happy still" (Mormon 9:14).  We all have challenges.  Yes, some are bigger than others... but we all get big ones at different times.  And the test here is to find a way to be happy anyway.  To find God in the darkness, and know that he can *never* be taken from us.  He is our peace and our happiness, if we turn to him.  In Mosiah 24:15, the people of Alma were slaves, being driven like animals, and God visited them and strengthened them, so that they "did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord."  ... And I'm not saying that slavery is the worst thing or that it is worse than that thing that is happening to us now.  But it was a big, scary thing, and they learned to submit cheerfully to it, with God's help.  I think that we all can do that, with all of our burdens, if we turn to the Lord and let him teach us, and let him help us.
Today, let's try not to make ourselves sick.  Let's choose our emotions and our actions and choose happiness even in the worst circumstances.  Let's turn to God for help in learning and overcoming rather than raging against him.  He loves us, and he will help us as we look to him.

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