It's been a little while since I've written anything. Partially because of other tasks that have required my attention, and partially because I hadn't stumbled upon a truth that I really felt I was prepared to write on. I didn't feel like I had a topic that was relevant to my life so far that I could really put my two cents in on. To make a long, and ongoing, story short I've come to really understand a few verses of scripture from the 24th Chapter of the Book of Mosiah very well.
Let's begin with verse 12 and then proceed forward. We might as well go chronologically because I really don't have any reason to break from the timeline recording the afflictions of Alma and his little band of loyal converts.
the Lord their God, but did pour out their hearts to him;and he did know the thoughts of their hearts.
Sometimes it's just not convenient to formally pray, especially in the case of Alma and his people because death is a bad thing. But when formal prayer is a little out of the question, like when you're driving through heavy traffic and people are merging in and out of your lane like it's going out of style. That's not the best place to get on your knees, fold your arms, and bow your head. But when all else fails I can testify that the Lord does hear our thoughts and understand the wants and the intentions of our hearts. In the past weeks I have had many an experience where formal prayer was right out of the question, but I needed God right then more than anything else. So immediately I began to do what is recorded in Mosiah; a non-verbal and a non-formal pouring of my heart out to God. I've come to understand in greater measure of what it means to pour. The people of Alma, and over the past few weeks I, haven't just trickled the wants and needs of my heart and soul to God. I have poured, and those thoughts have been heard, and those informal prayers answered.
13. And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord came to them in their afflictions, saying: Lift up your heads and be of good comfort, for I know of the covenant which ye have made unto me; and I will covenant with my people and deliver them out of bondage.
14. And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions
In a recent Zone Training Meeting our mission President has emphasized that spiritual power and effective missionary work comes as we keep our covenants. Jeffrey R. Holland emphasized this point, and was quoted in the meeting, as saying "Trust me. The key to this work is in keeping our covenants. In no other way can we claim and demonstrate the powers of godliness.You have the word of the Lord on that subject
" (From a missionary satellite broadcast address given on April 25, 1997
). When we uphold our end of the bargain we are entitled to the blessings of heaven, but are not entitled to say when we receive those blessings. Some relief comes instantly, some is delayed, and some isn't felt until the eternities. But the Lord has promised, and He will fulfill. Sometimes the blessing is physical, but we cannot expect by the sincerity of our pleading that it will always be so. The majority of the times I have struggled in the past few weeks I haven't felt a physical feeling of relief, and it's been anything but immediate, but I know that my prayers have been answered all the same. I have come to recognize the sometimes difficult to recognize feeling of peace where there once was anguish. It's been a process much like watching the dew disappear from the grass in the morning. As the sun rises and is a greater part of the world slowly the warmth of the sun increases. The heat slowly wicks away the moisture drop by drop. And it has been much in a similar way with me. The trials I've gone through haven't been aided by anything but the gentle presence of the Spirit. And as I press on through the day those drops of affliction and struggle slowly evaporate into a sweet peace.
15. And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord.
I really only want to focus on two words that title this post: submit cheerfully. This is where I get to toss in my two cents on the scriptures from my own personal experience. Alongside the truth that there isn't a situation which can't be made worse by a good complaint about it is the parrallel truth that there isn't a situation that can't be made better by choosing to be happy. Choose to be happy. I honestly struggle with that concept because sometimes life just makes it too difficult to choose to be happy. So I'm going to throw in my own little revision to that statemtent and simply encourage you all, no matter the trial, to choose to draw closer to Christ. I can't choose how I feel in a given situation sometimes, I'm human. But I always have the choice to draw nearer to Christ. That's always an option. And in the case of Alma and his people, they chose to submit to the will of the Lord. They chose in this instance to draw closer to God rather than drawing away from him, even though the situation demanded it at the point of a sword and at the cost of their lives. Taking a note from President Monson's talk 'Choices' in this past General Conference, if we choose christ, we'll always have made the right choice, and we will find happiness. I know that to be true.
I hope that you all have a wonderful week!
Love, Elder Gailey