I used to think that if you kept God's commandments and tried to be like Jesus that life would be a piece of cake, a series of blissful stages with everything going the way that you liked. Ha. That is NOT what happens. And its not even what God promises us as we do keep His commandments, so I don't know where my conclusion came from. Life is hard and trying, no matter who you are. Yet, rather than balk at that and refuse to accept it, I am learning that hard is good. It really is. And because it is hard and because Jesus has personally experienced how hard it is for each individual one of us, God promises His Spirit to be with us to grant us peace, hope, and blessings as we strive to follow Him, remember Him, and keep His commandments. These following thoughts are what I know and feel to be true.
God is good. We can trust Him. This is truth I have really wrestled with the past several months, but something of which I am sure. He is real. He knows us perfectly and loves us perfectly. He gets it. He sees the big picture and I am so grateful for that. Because I don’t and get impatient and frustrated and irritated, etc., as He tries and proves my heart. He is willing to listen to anything and everything, no matter how many times we say it. He has high expectations, and helps us rise and become what He sees in us, especially when we don’t see it ourselves.
I know that Jesus Christ loves. He lives and loves as His Father does and shares His expectation of us, to become perfect. He has perfect empathy and leads us to every good thing. He is incredible. I can hardly imagine what He was feeling before He went to the Garden of Gethsemane as he shared these words (John 16:33): “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” His encouragement, confidence, and trust in His Father and His own role in His Father’s plan for the salvation and exaltation of His children awes me. He invited His disciples then to have peace in Him and be of good cheer. He invites us as His disciples now to do the same.
I know that because of Jesus Christ, we can change. With him, we can have light, hope, patience, faith, love, and every good thing, no matter what our circumstance might be. I am so grateful that what He requires is a willing heart, because sometimes even that sometimes deceptively simple state is a battle for me to get to. I am grateful for His unwavering love, His grace, and His goodness. His grace is real and I have experienced it in my life.
This is His true and living church, I love and am grateful for how Joseph Smith worked with our Heavenly Father to restore it to the earth. I am so grateful for prophets. I love them and know that they are holy men. I am so grateful for God’s sometimes overwhelming call to be like Him—to be holy and whole—and His support and comfort and strength and goodness as we strive to accept His call. He is unfailingly good, endlessly kind, and unfathomably beautiful.
Reflecting on some experiences in my life and the lives of others, I cried out silently in prayer, “I don’t see how will this EVER turn into something beautiful and for my good.” God’s gentle response was: “Linds, you don’t need to see it. Trust me, it will be for your experience, and, yes, your good.” That simple answer has helped me immensely, and gives me strength to try to be like Him, my Savior, my Redeemer, my most compassionate and understanding friend, one whom I am trying to accept as my master. He has been here and He is coming again. That is so exciting. He is always here, and we can find Him as we turn toward Him. I love this quote by Charles Spurgeon: “Do not despair, dear heart, but come to the Lord with all your jagged wounds, black bruises, and running sores. He alone can heal, and He delights to do it. It is our Lord’s office to bind up the brokenhearted, and He is gloriously at home at it.”
That is true. No matter who deep, incurable, severe, painful, or unending our hurt or challenges or tribulation are, Christ can and will heal us. And we become the better for it. I know this is true and I am grateful for it. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
As I was writing this, a lot of what I feel can be summed up in the words of a hymn that I love called ‘Come Ye Disconsolate’. Here are the words: