Saturday, August 16, 2014

3 Nephi 19:31-34 -- On Hope and Wonder

"And it came to pass that he went again a little way off and prayed unto the Father;
And tongue cannot speak the words which he prayed, neither can be written by man the words which he prayed.
And the multitude did hear and do bear record; and their hearts were open and they did understand in their hearts the words which he prayed.
Nevertheless, so great and marvelous were the words which he prayed that they cannot be written, neither can they be uttered by man."
3 Nephi 19:31-34

Sometimes I think that people mock religion because some things are unknowable.  There are mysteries that we tolerate and things that we know we won't understand completely in this life.  Perhaps we ourselves mock others in similar circumstances who don't understand or know the things that we do, and we feel sorry for them or look down on them because they embrace ignorance or rejoice in a mystery.  But truly, sometimes the wisest thing we can do is recognize our ignorance, and realize where the gaps in our knowledge are.  Without that, we can't see reality, and we become overconfident, thinking that we have everything figured out, when really we don't.  It's sort of like being 5, or even 13.  At many young ages we can be supremely confident that we've grown into ourselves and that we've mastered dealing with the world.  We know what is up, and we sometimes think that we know more than our parents do about jumping into life and never compromising.  And yet, we grow up a little, and we realize how ignorant we used to be.  Sometimes that helps us realize that we are still ignorant... but sometimes we get a false sense of confidence again, that *now* we have it figured out.  I think these verses are a good reminder that we're still a long way from figuring it all out, and we're still a lot closer to thirteen than we thought.  Words that can't be spoken, or written.  Things that are too amazing to express.  Christ could express them, but it's beyond us currently.  That's amazing.  And I think that we lose a lot when we start thinking that there isn't anything left to learn... that there aren't mysteries and puzzles and lifetimes of amazing things still to discover.  Imagining that heaven is boring, for example, or that the only excitement in life is doing stuff that is forbidden because it makes us feel all independent and rebellious.  ... Those things are utterly and overwhelmingly lame in comparison to the things that God has in store to teach us.  Things like this... too wonderful for earthy language.  Walking on water.  Being instantly at shore, when you were really far out.  Being taken by the spirit to the top of a mountain.  Ascending into heaven.  Being resurrected.  Being able to move a mountain with faith.  There are no end of mysteries still out there... things that Christ has done and we can learn and actually maybe be able to do ourselves someday.  It's wise and full of hope to realize that we still live in a world filled with wonder, and that we can't possibly know everything yet.
Today, let's look to God to teach us, and let's remember how much we don't know, and be open and receptive to the new things that God has in store for us.

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