Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Lessons From The Move; Part 2

We prayed about this move. We wanted to know that it was the right thing, even though we have little control over when the Army says "Go".

We got our answer. We the answer was not just "yeah, sure, whatever" but a strong and powerful "YES!"

So why did it take 4 months to get into a house?

For one thing, even though we were clear on the big picture, we were still fuzzy on the details. Like whether we should buy or rent or live on Post. Try as we might, we were still questioning which of those was right up until the day we closed. Really.

We were also a little unclear about the where. We had done plenty of research about the schools, the wards, the housing market, etc. We knew what we wanted and what we could afford. We even found several houses that met all of our criteria.

One after another slipped through our fingers.

When something like this happens, the first reaction is to question yourself. "Did we do something wrong?"
"Did we misunderstand?"

There is a mentality that if you pray and get an answer then everything will go smoothly. I don't know why we think that. ALL evidence is to the contrary.

One example that became very meaningful to me was the story of Lehi's journey to the Promised Land.  Lehi was told to take his family into the desert. He had to send his sons back twice. We could ask "Why didn't they plan better before they left so they didn't have to return?" But think of all the lessons and growth they would have missed if that had not happened.

Because of those return trips, Nephi learned exactly why they needed the Plates of Brass. (1 Nephi 4:13-16) Sariah's faith in her husband's vision was strengthened. (1 Nephi 5:8) Zoram was spared from the destruction of Jerusalem. (1 Nephi 4:34-35)

Throughout this story we see that both the wicked and the righteous suffered but their perspectives were very different. (1 Nephi 16) Nephi broke his bow, even though he had been obedient. Everyone was hungry and tired from their journey. 1 Nephi 17:1-4 gives more insight into what they all suffered during this time. 

1 And it came to pass that we did again take our journey in the wilderness; and we did travel nearly eastward from that time forth. And we did travel and wade through much affliction in the wilderness; and our women did bear children in the wilderness.

2 And so great were the blessings of the Lord upon us, that while we did live upon raw meat in the wilderness, our women did give plenty of suck for their children, and were strong, yea, even like unto the men; and they began to bear their journeyings without murmurings.

3 And thus we see that the commandments of God must be fulfilled. And if it so be that the children of men keep the commandments of God he doth nourish them, and strengthen them, and provide means whereby they can accomplish the thing which he has commanded them; wherefore, he did provide means for us while we did sojourn in the wilderness.

4 And we did sojourn for the space of many years, yea, even eight years in the wilderness.
Amazing, isn't it? They were surviving on raw meat and probably little of it, too. Yet they were blessed with strength. Their children were healthy and strong as well.

And did you catch that part at the end? The part that says it took 8 years? 8 years!!! And that was just to reach the ocean. Their total travel time to the Promised Land was 11 years!

I felt fortunate that our family happened to be reading this part of the Book of Mormon this summer. It seemed that each chapter addressed another aspect of our own journey to a new home.

The scriptures are FULL of similar experiences. The Israelites spent 40 years in the wilderness. While there may have been some who were rebellious and in need of hard lessons, there were others who were obedient among them. (Joshua 5:6)

Samuel was not wrong when he ordained Saul and David as kings. Their failings came through their own disobedience, not Samuel's.(1 Samuel 9:17, 1 Samuel 16:12)

 How lonely it must have been for Noah and his family, the only survivors of the cleansing Flood. Their challenges must have been great. (Genesis 7:23)

Abraham was obedient yet he was commanded to sacrifice his son. Even though we know the happy outcome, it must have been a heart-wrenching experience for Abraham in that moment. (Genesis 22)

The early Latter-Day Saints were driven from one place after another. Just when they were feeling settled and able to partake of the blessings of the Temple they were driven from Kirtland and Nauvoo by angry mobs.

Crossing the plains was no romp through a meadow either. Many walked, WALKED over 1000 miles to the Salt Lake Valley. Even in good weather it was hot, dry, barren, and long. Those who left too late in the season also suffered bitter cold, starvation, and loss of loved ones. All faced the threat of wild animals and other hostile forces.

Joseph Smith's entire life is a testament that doing the right thing doesn't lead to temporal comfort. He was beaten, tortured, slandered, hunted. He and his wife lost children. He was imprisoned repeatedly. The Lord's counsel to him in his time of need resonates with us all.

If thou art called to pass through tribulation;...if thou art in perils by land or by sea;...if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.

The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?

Therefore, hold on thy way, and the priesthood shall remain with thee; for their bounds are set, they cannot pass. Thy days are known, and thy years shall not be numbered less; therefore, fear not what man can do, for God shall be with you forever and ever. ( Doctrine and Covenants 122)

Yes, as this passage reminds us, even the Savior suffered. He suffered more than any of us. His life was not a life of comfort and ease. It could have been. He had the power to attain any worldly achievement he desired. Yet he chose to accept the will of our Heavenly Father.

It can be hard, SO hard, to submit to God's will when we know it will cause us pain in the short term. It is a leap of faith. We trust that he knows what he is doing and that whatever happens will be for our good.


Cheryl said...

LOVE this. So much. Blessings come, just not when or where or how we always expect.

I needed to read this today. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Wow, thank you! Thank you for such great insights into the scriptures and for the encouragement to face these trials. Thanks.