Lately I have had some serious reflection on my own. And that was the problem. I've been trying to worry about things on my own, instead of letting the Savior help carry the burden, that I have almost been overwhelmed to the point that I can't even feel happiness.
Today was a true Sabbath, and the Spirit spoke to me to remind me of things that I need to remember at "the present time":
"Ye cannot behold with your natural eyes, for the present time, the design of your God concerning those things which shall come hereafter. . . .For after much tribulation come the blessings. (D&C 58:3–4)
"All things wherewith you have been afflicted shall work together for your good” (D&C 98:2–3)
I turned on a program this morning that I had recorded on BYU-TV. I caught the tail end of a talk by Randy Bott. It was exactly what I needed to hear today, after a difficult week:
"Sometimes life seems so difficult that we loose our zest for living. If we dwell too much or too long on what at the moment seems to be the negatives it is easy to miss the joy and the blessings which come our way daily." ("My Mind Was Called Upon Serious Reflection".)
I started today at church. Instead of finding negative things to criticize, I tried to cultivate a spirit of gratitude and to "Be of good cheer". I tried hard to focus on good things, and goodness, and to realize that we all have struggles and imperfections and are in need of the grace of Christ. I have especially felt this need lately.
We focus so much on being like the Samaritan in the parable and treating others like he treated the "certain man" on the way to Jericho. But sometimes we are the ones that are lying half dead on the side of the road, and we're in need of Christ's ministering to us. We may go unnoticed by others because we struggle internally. These are the times when we need to recognize that Christ is the only one to whom we can turn everything over and allow him to minister to us.
Sometimes the solution to that discouragement really is to stop focussing so much on yourself and to start thinking of others. But in the mean time, it's nice to hear some great counsel in our times of discouragement:
"When George A. Smith was very ill, he was visited by his cousin, the Prophet Joseph Smith. The afflicted man reported: “He [the Prophet] told me I should never get discouraged, whatever difficulties might surround me. If I were sunk into the lowest pit of Nova Scotia and all the Rocky Mountains piled on top of me, I ought not to be discouraged, but hang on, exercise faith, and keep up good courage, and I should come out on the top of the heap.” (George A. Smith Family, comp. Zora Smith Jarvis, Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press, 1962, p. 54.)
"There are times when you simply have to righteously hang on and outlast the devil until his depressive spirit leaves you". As the Lord told the Prophet Joseph Smith: “Thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high.” (D&C 121:7–8) (Ezra Taft Benson, "Do Not Despair".)
Lately I have allowed myself to get too overwhelmed when I think of all the things I have to do, pay for, achieve, etc--thinking I have to do them on my own. Today I realized that I need to turn my life over to the Lord and literally let his atonement take over. Let Him carry the burden. It brings peace to think of Him and know that His mission is "to bless in time of need"--and that He can bless us so personally according to our needs.
One of my favorite and reassuring scriptures is simply:
"Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not" (D&C 6:36)
Now there's food for thought.
Jesuit priest Tom Reese joins Religion News Service
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