Monday, September 5, 2016

D&C 103:12 -- On Tribulation

"For after much tribulation, as I have said unto you in a former commandment, cometh the blessing."
Doctrine and Covenants 103:12

This seems harsh to us sometimes I think... that we should have to endure tribulation.  We want things to work differently.  We usually either want things to go well if we are being good (if we are), or we want things to go well regardless of our actions (if we are not being very good).  We justify these differently, in one case thinking that God somehow *owes* us for making the effort to be good, and in the other case that he somehow owes us just because we exist... that unconditional love means giving us whatever we want, all the time.  Both ideas are, however, false.

God does love us, without doubt.  He loves us enough to teach us, and to set real choices before us with genuine consequences.  He loves us enough to know that we need opposition in order to learn--that we sometimes learn our most important lessons *through* tribulation.  He also promises us blessings if we do well, and he fulfills those promises.  But promised blessings do not equal a life without challenge or hardship.  We will all have to endure darkness and storms in life.

Let's try to get past the idea that God somehow owes us anything at all.  Instead, let's focus on the opportunities that he has given us, to choose life and happiness and peace, or the opposite.  We don't get to choose all the consequences of our actions, and we can't predict in what form blessings *or* challenges will come, but the very freedom to choose is a gift given to us, at great cost, by God.  A sacrifice that we should not overlook, demanding an ever-more-unreasonable more than the *everything* God has already given us.

Today, let's choose good.  Let's make choices that lead to happiness.  Let's make choices that prepare us for the storms of life, that we know we will need to weather.  Let's choose God, even in the midst of tribulation--thanking him for his goodness, grace, and overwhelming love.

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