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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A better understanding



I have been studying the Book of Mormon this year.  I was able to read the entire book between January and March.  I then decided I wanted to study it and downloaded a study guide to my Kindle.  I have really enjoyed studying it in depth.  Today I was reading about Lehi's blessings to his posterity before his death.  One of the things the author pointed out is that Lehi taught about Agency versus Predestination.   He talked about our Heavenly Father knowing us so well that He knows what kind of choices we will make.  This bothered me at first.  I couldn't see how this was in any way different from predestination.  He compared it to this:  His child HATES peas.  He puts a plate of peas in front of her.  He knows her so well he knows she will choose to avoid them.  He is not making her make that choice, he just knows her so well that he knows what she will choose to do in that situation. 
I started comparing that to trials that I have had in my life.  I began to wonder why a loving Heavenly Father would ask his child to endure such hard things.  I am not talking about trials that come from our own poor choices, I am talking about trials that come to us because of someone Else's actions. 
So I turned to lds.org and began to read about Agency and Trials.  President Monson said that many of us let the enemy of achievement even the Culprit "self defeat' dwarf our aspirations, smother our dreams, cloud our vision and impair our lives"
So we have to ask ourselves "what did we learn from this trial, from this pain?"  Maybe it was to make us stronger?  President Monson also advises us to 1. Fill our minds with truth. 2. Fill our hearts with love. 3. Fill our hearts with service.
He tells us to be forgiving, stay faithful and pray for the Lords help and comfort.  How well we endure our trials is up to us.  We can grow from them, and stay close to the Lord and once again ask "what did I learn from this?' 
Sometimes we are tempted to feel sorry for ourselves and ask "why me".  This is my definition of Self defeat.  I think the answer to that question is "why not you?"  After all the Savior had to endure it all and he was perfect.
That thought led me to a remembrance that the Atonement was not just about paying for our sin's.  That our Brother Jesus endured it all.  Our pain, our sicknesses, our temptations and our weaknesses.  He also sends the comforter to us when we need it.  We do not have to endure any of it alone.  Some how knowing that he knows what my own personal heart aches and pain feels like, comforts me.  He has a special understanding.
Our trials, the pain, the agony and the endeavors of life refine us.  They burn away the unimportant things, they melt away the impurities and makes our faith brighter and stronger.  It helps us to be able to listen to the whisperings of the Spirit.
I guess the hardest thing to remember when going through hard times is that this too will pass.  I have a favorite scripture that reminds me of that fact. Psalm 30:5  "weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning."
Also Matt 11:28  "come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."
This reminds me once again, that I can turn to my Heavenly Father for help and for comfort and even understanding and He will always be there.  So yes sometimes we are given trials for reasons we can't always see at the moment.  But we can choose to endure them well, and to continue seek the spirit, read our scriptures, serve others, and seek peace and comfort from our friends and families.
I am so grateful that I am learning these lessons.  I was promised in my Patriarchal Blessing with a great love for the scriptures.  I truly do love them.  I learn lessons from them every day.  I am so glad that today I received a better understanding of those things.

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