Sunday, September 1, 2013

My Ways are Not Your Ways

This past week on the first day of the Fall Semester at Utah State University a young man was riding his bike down a hill on campus and ran into a slack line that had been stretched between two trees. The impact took his life. It was a tragic event that effected everyone one on campus. When things like this happen, we often ask why someone so young with their entire life ahead of them should be taken. The boy’s father spoke at his son’s funeral as he spoke he quoted the scripture from Isaiah 55:8-9

 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

He said that no one should have to go through what his family had been through that week. He
said that he did not have any bitterness in his heart for the loss of his son. He added that he hoped that all those that were involved in the accident, in trying to help his son or anyone else involved would know that they do not have any ill feelings towards them. They trust that the Lord loves them and will help them get through this difficult time.

Why do bad things happen to good people? Many believe that God is the source of tribulations and evil in the world, or that if we are trying to keep God’s commandments that we will not experience trials happen to us. We may think that if bad things are happening to us then we are not worthy of God’s love, that we have sinned and are not worthy of his protection. We need to remember that Adam and Eve were driven out of the Garden of Eden to learn to distinguish between good and evil. We also are living in the lone and dreary world, not the Garden of Eden and bad things happen. Trials come to us sometimes due to our sins, or the sins of others. They also can come through no fault of ours but because evil exists and “stuff” happens.
The Lord knows the things that we can handle and he will not give us any challenge that we cannot overcome. The purpose of this life is to test us, to prove t hat we will do all that the Lord commands (Abraham 3:25). Keeping the commandments can shield us from unnecessary suffering and the consequences that come from sin.

Elder Quentin L. Cook, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, told of a time that he and his two young sons were traveling from San Francisco to Utah in June when they were trapped in a snow storm while crossing the Donner Pass in the Sierra Mountains. They spent the night in the car trying to stay warm. When the roads were finally cleared and they were allowed to continue on their trip, Elder Cook said he stopped to call his wife to tell them they were ok. His three year old son got on the phone and told his mom “I hope ya know we had a hard time”. Elder Cook talks about the trials we face in life:

“The incident I just recounted, while a difficult travel situation, was brief, and there were no lasting consequences. However, many of the trials and hardships we encounter in life are severe and appear to have lasting consequences. Each of us will experience some of these during the vicissitudes of life. Many listening to this conference are experiencing situations of a most serious nature at this very moment.
The challenges we face today are in their own way comparable to challenges of the past. The recent economic crisis has caused significant concern throughout the world. Employment and financial problems are not unusual. Many people have physical and mental health challenges. Others deal with marital problems or wayward children. Some have lost loved ones. Addictions and inappropriate or harmful propensities cause heartache. Whatever the source of the trials, they cause significant pain and suffering for individuals and those who love them.” (“Hope Ya Know We Had a Hard Time”, Elder Quinten L. Cook, General Conference Address, October 2008)

In the Book of Mormon we read of the purpose of opposition:

“Wherefore, the ends of the law which the Holy One hat
h given, unto the inflicting of the punishment which is affixed, which punishment that is affixed is in opposition to that of the happiness which is affixed, to answer the ends of the atonement

For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my firstborn in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility.” (2 Nephi 2:10-11)

So having challenges in our lives helps us grow and recognize the blessing we do have. Without the bad we would not enjoy the good things of life. We can also be assured that because of the atonement of Jesus Christ, we will be able to get through the hard times. Elder Cook said:

“Think of the Savior in the Garden of Gethsemane during the Atonement process, suffering agony so great that He bled from every pore. 27 His cry to His Father included the word Abba. 28 This might be interpreted as the cry of a son who is in distress to his father: “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” 29 I testify that the Atonement of Jesus Christ covers all of the trials and hardships that any of us will encounter in this life. At times when we may feel to say, “Hope you know, I had a hard time,” we can be assured that He is there and we are safe in His loving arms.” (“Hope Ya Know We Had a Hard Time”, Elder Quinten L. Cook, General Conference Address, October 2008)

It is comforting to know that when life throws us challenges, like those the Anderson family are experiencing with the loss of their son, and we wonder why me, we can know that it is because the growth that will come as we face the challenges with faith in Christ we will be able to endure and get through it. We also can be assured that just because we do not understand the reason for the things we suffer, the Lord does know and he will reveal his purpose in his own time and in his own way.

We know that the pain and suffering we experience can be swallowed up in the atonement of Jesus Christ. We can also be assured that his will can be done as we trust that he knows what we can endure and what we can become as we face the hard times that our thoughts are not the Lord’s thoughts nor our ways his ways.

Your thoughts and comments are welcome

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