Thursday, May 23, 2019

D&C 19:18-19 -- On Dashes and Difficulty

"Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink—
Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men."
Doctrine and Covenants 19:18-19

I think that the most significant part of these verses is that dash.  The period between shrinking and wishing you could avoid something and actually doing it anyway--or the period in between hitting the wall and thinking maybe something is too hard for you and then picking yourself back up and trying again.  And I am not happy that Christ had to go through that, but I appreciate it, because all of us reach a similar point sometime, and often many times in our lives, and because he experienced it, he understands how hard things are at that point for us. 

Maybe we are trying to learn something and it is pretty easy for us until we hit something tough which makes us doubt whether we can go on (this happened to me with trigonometry for instance).  At that point we can choose to give up or to run away (which is what I did with trigonometry), or we can face it, try again, and keep at it until we learn the lesson or get through the hardship.  And the decision made during that dash is the difference between success and failure, the moment when "endure to the end" has meaning, and even the moment in which we learn how to love.  We don't improve until we start hitting the hard part--the part we don't know or understand yet.

I don't mean my trigonometry example to belittle Christ's suffering, or the suffering of any of us.  I'm only using it as an illustration.  I never learned trigonometry, and I probably should have stuck with it, and done the hard thing... and that is even more true about more important things in life.  Today, let's face the hard things, and petition God for his help in dealing with them.  Let's stick with it, and not give up.  In time, if we stick with it, those hard things can become our strengths and our best qualities *because* they were hard for us, and we had to dedicate so much focus and time to them, so we learn them better than we learn anything else.

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