Sunday, December 27, 2015

Receiving Our Trials With Thankfulness

Yesterday afternoon, after I finished exercising (I did one of Shaun T's Insanity videos!), I began listening to a few of the lessons in President Ezra Taft Benson's book, Teachings of Presidents of the Church on my smart phone. As I was listening to "Chapter 2: Pray Always" (I was in the shower at that point), my soul was instantly struck by the following paragraphs,
"For what should we pray? We should pray about our work, against the power of our enemies and the devil, for our welfare and the welfare of those around us. We should counsel with the Lord regarding all our decisions and activities. (See Alma 37:36–37.) We should be grateful enough to give thanks for all we have. (See D&C 59:21.) We should confess His hand in all things. Ingratitude is one of our great sins. 
"The Lord has declared in modern revelation: 'And he [she] who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious; and the things of this earth shall be added unto him [her], even an hundred fold, yea, more.'"D&C 78:19.
When I heard the scripture in the second paragraph, I had chills run from the tip of my head, down through my toes. My soul was on fire as I thought, "That means we should receive everything with thankfulness—even our trials!" While I've read D&C 78:19 many times in my life, I've never before thought about including our trials in the category of thankfulness.

In hindsight, I'm completely and wholly grateful for my trials. In my perfect 20/20 retro-vision (ha ha), it's easy and astounding to bear witness of the miracles that have blessed my life. But when I've been in the midst of my trials—with no visible end in sight—I admit it's been hard to be thankful 100% of the time. Yes, I am human: mortal and imperfect. I've made mistakes. In my own way, I've sinned with the rest of humankind. Throughout my life, I've said and done things that aren't totally pleasing to our Heavenly Father—many times, unknowingly, but a few times, knowingly. Yet I know that our Savior's Atonement covers all of my mess-ups, blunders, sins and ungratefulness through sincere repentance—He covers yours, too! :)

After I got out of the shower, I was listening to "Chapter 3: Freedom of Choice, an Eternal Principle." (Yes, I took a nice, long, rejuvenating shower because Insanity wore me out!) It's a fabulous lesson, too! I plan to give it for our Family Home Evening tomorrow night! But I digress... Anyway, I went to my phone, paged back to President Benson's lesson on prayer and began researching the scriptures associated with D&C 78:19. I was amazed with the scriptures listed in the footnotes—emphasis added:

I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
2 My soul shall make her boast in the Lord: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.
3 O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together.
20 I say unto you, my brethren, that if you should render all the thanks and praise which your whole soul has power to possess, to that God who has created you, and has kept and preserved you, and has caused that ye should rejoice, and has granted that ye should live in peace one with another—
21 I say unto you that if ye should serve him who has created you from the beginning, and is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and do according to your own will, and even supporting you from one moment to another—I say, if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants.
*Even though Mosiah 2:22 wasn't included in their footnotes, I must include it because I don't want us to end on a negative note! :)
22 And behold, all that he requires of you is to keep his commandments; and he has promised you that if ye would keep his commandments ye should prosper in the land; and he never doth vary from that which he hath said; therefore, if ye do keep his commandments he doth bless you and prosper you.
27 ¶Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?
28 And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
29 And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.
Why are those scriptures so amazing to me? Well, simply put, if we let go of everything that means so much to us in our earthly life, and follow Jesus Christ and his gospel in every possible way, we will be blessed one hundredfold—to the point of having everlasting life!

Going back to the idea of receiving our trials with thankfulness...I must say that I now view my trials in the same light as this scripture found in Ether 12:27:
"And if men [and women] come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men [and women] that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."

During the past few months, I've been on the edge of my seat with a trial that could potentially knock at our door. The crazy thing is, this potential trial could also fade into nonexistence! Thus, while trying to keep my non-worrying wits about me, many times I've reflected back on my family's experiences when we lived in Texas. Every time I've chosen to remember what we've been through, my soul has been instantly soothed. During most of our time living in Texas (until the last three months before we moved back to Utah), we simply couldn't see what was coming or why we had to suffer. To some, our situation wouldn't have been considered suffering, but to my sad soul, it was the most intense suffering I've encountered to this point in my life.

Yet my soul is reduced to tearful, joyful, happy smiles when I reminisce about the miracles that occurred in Texas, and how everything was restored to our family! Yes, my prior and significant weakness (those two-and-a-half-years we lived in Texas) has become one of my greatest strengths that I continually lean on during times of trial and stress! Thus, the words in Ether 12:27 are mighty applicable to me—their beauty is deeply personal!

My sincere plea to all of us is to receive everything in our lives—especially our trials—with thankfulness! Let each and every one of us praise our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ for every blessing and trial they see fit to bestow upon us. And let us cheerfully choose to follow Them regardless how we view the situations we find ourselves in. If we follow the beautiful words found in the scriptures I've shared here, I testify we will truly be blessed one hundredfold! :)

P.S. I'm so glad I wrote this blog post today because I'm certain I'll need it as a reminder when I'm struggling through my next trial! :)

1 comment:

  1. Hello Adrie!
    First, let me compliment you on your prayerfully pondered and well-thought out blog. You have a way of sharing things in not only an educational, but also in an entertaining way.

    You have a gift in writing.

    Now as to this topic:

    I found myself here by following the link to your comment on the "In The Head of Al" blog - Finding Strength during Trials.

    I made a comment there (a rather long winded one - evidence as to why I don't have a Twitter account *smiles*)about a trial I had at the ripe old age of 17 with a pack of five wolves.

    In that comment, I mentioned that I struggled that night, not only to stay alive, but also as to why - after making such wonderful (and challenging and sacrificing) choices that pleased God, WHY was my trial prolonged? I was attacked by the pack of five wolves again and again and again.

    And again.

    Throughout the night. All. Night. Long. Till the sun came up.

    I stopped counting after ten.

    Around the tenth time, I said out-loud:"Oh COME ON!"

    (I got no explanation from the wolves. Still haven't. They never call. They never write. And here I thought what we shared together was special.)

    But...

    Heavenly Father DID explain it to me that night.

    The immediate area was bereft of the wolves natural prey. They were looking to eat. And nothing else was around to distract them...

    EXCEPT...

    ...a friend who was probably in a sleeping bag sound asleep.

    Thus he was a friend who was easy pickings for the wolves.

    IF they left me during the night, and went off to find him, he wouldn't have a chance.

    So...Heavenly Father kept them focused on me. All night long.

    I was 180 pounds of muscle...a good thirty pounds heavier than my friend. I was designed by God to be better suited for harsh physical confrontation. And I exercised faith and showed that I was willing to serve.

    So God kept the wolves occupied with me all night. God was saving my friend's life. No doubt his Mom had been praying for him since he had left her sight. And, knowing my friend, he had prayed before he went to sleep.

    So although my personal trial in all of this was prolonged...I was helping to answer prayers.

    God told me that night..."Trust me. WE'VE got this".

    So yes, I was thankful for that trial.

    And almost as soon as I joined the Church a little less than a year later, Mosiah 2: 20,21,and 22 (and the rest) quickly became some of my favorite scriptures.

    I thank-you for your inspired thought on this topic. I did INDEED need them at this time.

    You do good work Adrie.

    Keep it up!

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