This summer has been filled with so many trials for myself and so many I am surrounded by. As I have watched my dear friends and family face adversity so valiantly I have found it hard to complain about the small mishaps in my life. Still, hidden behind my smiles and laughter are so many wants and desires. Maybe I keep so many of my thoughts to myself because I feel guilty for wanting more after I have already been so abundantly blessed, or so I can appear fierce, rather than vulnerable, or maybe it's because my trials and struggles are so petty compared to others. Regardless of the reason, they are mine and no one else’s. For that reason, I hold them dear.
Yesterday, I struggled more than I’d like to admit as I fought my inner-self. Then I went to sacrament meeting today. The talks today were on pioneers, not my favorite subject. Usually, I tune out during the Pioneer Day talks. After all, my ancestors didn’t cross the plains so how do these talks really relate to me? However, today’s speakers caught me off guard as they captivated me. There was one talk given by a young woman who talked about how she was a pioneer for her family. Another speaker talked about the pioneers of this area. The last speaker talked about lessons learned from pioneers. She had an ancestor that died crossing the plains with her family. After sharing this story, she speaker posed the question that many of ask during times of trials. Her ancestor was doing exactly what the Lord had asked of her and she still died. She then said her ancestor might have thought, “Lord, I did everything you asked of me and I still died. What’s the point?” She then expounded, Joseph Smith must have been asking a similar question when he received this revelation (D&C 121: 7-10)
7. My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;
8. And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt the on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes
9. Thy friends do stand by thee, and they shall hail thee again with warm hearts and friends hands.
10. Thou are not yet as Job; thy friends do not contend against thee, neither charge thee with transgressions, as they did Job.
How many scripture stories are there of prophets who followed the Lord perfectly and things did not end well for them. Joseph Smith and Job have already been mentioned. She also mentioned Abinadi. Being burned alive is definitely not a desired outcome. That struck home for me. How many times within the past week, month, or year have I asked the question, “Why is this happening to me? I’m doing all thou has asked of me so what’s the point?” Maybe there are lessons left for me to learn in order to best serve in the Lord’s kingdom in the future. Maybe it is not the season for me to experience certain things. Maybe, as one dear sister commented in Relief Society, we need to experience trials so we can feel comfortable in the presence of those such as Job after we depart this mortal life.
The speaker went on to discuss prayers. How many times has a new mother prayed for sleep only to find her infant still wakes up multiple times a night? She brought up a blog that discusses this. (I’m pretty sure this is the link to the blog https://www.lds.org/blog/how-to-pray-in-a-way-god-can-answer?lang=eng) The blogger mentions that as a new mom she often did pray for sleep. Then she read this passage in the Bible Dictionary under prayer, “We pray in Christ’s name when our mind is the mind of Christ, and our wishes the wishes of Christ—when His words abide in us.” The question posed is, “Do my prayers really align with the wishes of Christ?” So, how do we align our wishes and thoughts with Christ. The blogger suggest this formula:
My Desire + ”But If” + A Godly Desire
Here is an example the blogger gives of this formula in action, “God, please bless that I will be included in my group of friends, but if not, even if I feel excluded, help me to be kind and generous.” I’m excited to try this method of prayer. I will still pray for things my heart desires but will make sure I add the “but if” statement.
The closing hymn today was “Come, Come, Ye Saints.” The second verse really stood out to me.
Why should we mourn or think our lot is hard? ‘Tis not so; all is right.
Why should we think to earn a great reward if we now shun the fight?
Gird up your loins; fresh courage take. Our God will never us forsake;
And soon we’ll have this tale to tell—All is well—All is well!
I believe this verse stood out because everyone can relate to it. When life gets hard “fresh courage take.” We cannot always understand why things are happening to us but we can have faith that there is a purpose behind our trials and if we endure well we will be blessed. I truly don’t know what the future holds or why so many of my prayers for righteous desires seemingly go unanswered. However I do know that, “all these things shall give me experience and be for my good.” (see D&C 122:7)