(August 25, 2014)
In reading this chapter today I was struck by King Benjamin’s words on the importance of remembering that the Lord created all things. Why should this be important enough for Benjamin to cite? But as I thought about it, I began to realize the implications of just what it meant when we say that the Lord created all things.
One of the big issues that philosophy had with religion was the argument of evil. Why, if God is omnipotent and all loving, should evil exist? Why couldn’t He simply end evil through Divine fiat? Many of the answers to this deal with respecting agency, and these can be persuasive. But the better argument to me seems to be the one that there are certain things that we can only learn through encountering evil and through suffering.
Viewed in this light, it becomes clear why it is so vital that we remember that God created all things – both Heavenly and earthly. If we see the others’ behavior causing us pain, we may be tempted to condemn or blame others. But if we understand that all things that happen (both good and bad) happen because of Divine will, and if we likewise remember how much God loves us, then we are capable of shouldering the load placed upon us and carrying it – learning the lessons the adversity has to teach us without becoming bitter or angry. For all eternity, assuming that we live such that we are able to participate with God in bringing to pass immortality and eternal life, we will be dealing with those who make decisions that are wrong and which hurt us deeply. If we do not show a willingness now to develop the character that will learn from such experiences (rather than condemning the perpetrator), how can we hope to be chosen to help in such circumstances in the future?
The second thought I had was on us being beggars. It is surprising to me a bit that my mind didn’t make this connection before, but when we judge a beggar because they placed themselves in the position they were in (even if we are correct in that estimation), we likewise condemn ourselves. Not only will we be beggars to the Lord, but we will be beggars to Him precisely because we placed ourselves in that position because of our failures and weaknesses. If we turn down a beggar because they don’t deserve our help, what does that do for our opportunity to claim similar blessings from the Lord when we beg Him for aid?