Sunday, November 15, 2015

Doctrine and Covenants 59

(October 22, 2015)
                Such a simple obligation – “thou shalt thank the Lord thy God in all things”—but so profound in both implications and blessings associated.  All things allows for no exclusions, which changes the way that we view the world dramatically.  Get into a car accident?  Thou shalt thank the Lord for the car accident.  Get terminal cancer?  Thou shalt thank the Lord for cancer.

                Is this merely wishful thinking, ignoring reality, or the worst of Panglossian excess?  Not at all.  What it truly is amounts to a fundamental shifting in how we view the world.  Central to that fundamental shift is the recognition that (a) the Lord is fully in charge; and (b) He loves us and works out everything for our good.

                When my children don’t want to go to bed, they view me imposing a bedtime on them as the most cruel thing in the world.  But I understand that a little bit of discomfort now (missing out on crucial playtime, in their minds) will bring them greater happiness tomorrow – and understanding these consequences better than them I am able to appropriately judge and determine that the aggregate of happiness they experience will be increased if they go to bed now (even with some weeping and wailing), leaving them better able to enjoy the coming day.

                This is applicable to so many things we experience in mortality.  I certainly wouldn’t have chosen the path that I find myself on – in fact, there was more than a little bit of weeping and wailing on my part.  But, ultimately, I am able to see that in the long run this will lead (frankly, it has already led) to more happiness in my life (and, presumably, in my eternity).

                So thanking God in all things is not Panglossian – it is simple trust that He is in charge and He loves us and conspires to make us happy.  When bad things happen, we are able to take comfort from the fact that we know that in the end it will lead to our good and joy.  This empowers us to not merely survive the hard times, but also to appreciate and find joy in them.  And, when times are at their very worst, I have discovered that a prayer of gratitude for blessings yet unseen has brought me immense relief as I struggled to deal with the burdens that have been placed on my shoulders from time to time.

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