We have discussed several powerful influences we have with our children. The first is that we can call down the blessings of heaven upon our children by our faith most powerfully after we have heard the voice of God proclaiming that they cannot be lost. This occurs when someone has their Calling and Election made sure. In previous Un-Blogs we have discussed the principle of C&E and how to proceed to claim that blessing, so I won’t repeat myself right now. The bright hope is that C&E does happen, it is common and many people have this “anchor to their soul” for themselves, and in their children. In this way we can rightly call down miracles upon their heads. This is principle number one.
The second principle we have discussed is that our greatest pull upon them is by the covenant relationship we form by making our families eternal. This does not happen only by an ordinance, but when that ordinance is sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise. This is also something we have discussed in Part 1 of this blog, and elsewhere in the Un-Blog. In short, the HSoP is that the Holy Ghost must ratify a priesthood ordinance to make it of eternal effect. We may elect to be married for eternity when we qualify by earthly standards. This is an ordinance performed by authorized mortals. When we actually qualify for the promised blessings by being “true and faithful in all things” then the Holy Ghost, acting as the Holy Spirit of Promise, ratifies the act and begins to pour out the associated blessings. The prophet Joseph taught us that one of those blessings is that in this profound priesthood relationship, our children cannot be lost. (Teachings, p 321)
The principle that our children “cannot be lost” is difficult to wrap one’s mind around because it appears to fly in the face of agency and justice. The answer lies in that all of these blessings were premortally arranged to not violate agency, justice or mercy. We can’t understand infinite things with these finite brains – so we fall back to faith, which is that however it works, it is eternally fair and just. This means that God has it figured out and we don’t. The only way I can think to describe it is that all of these things were known by God before we were born, and the family deck was stacked and shuffled. In other words, God is dealing from a divine deck – for which thing we are eternally grateful.
Families are eternal – not just hereafter, but before mortal life as well. Eternal means that they are without beginning or end. They don’t originate during mortality, they predate mortality, were designed by God, and thereafter endure for eternity. It is my personal testimony that we chose our children, and they us, and that we intimately understood our role as children, and as parents, and that those roles were divinely engineered. We not only agreed to it all, but we rejoiced in it.
I mentioned the Laman and Lemuel clause, which is that agency is the most powerful force in eternity. Prior to the judgment day even God does not infringe upon agency. It is my opinion that no matter how carefully families were arranged, or how blessings are poured out, that these blessings can be rejected. Favored and valiant children carefully positioned in righteous families can choose to reject their status and step out of the “cannot be lost” safety net, and sometimes do.
There is another principle that I choose to believe, which is “Divine Positioning”. I believe people are sent to earth at specific times, in specific families with a specific job. Sometimes that position is to purify a family by not passing on patterns of abuse, alcoholism, false tradition or evil. They come here as a buffer, an abrupt wall that says the abuse may go no further. This is the “heads” side of the Divine Positioning coin. The “tails” side is that sometimes people are positioned to challenge us, to force us to learn specific lessons, to hammer us into faith and humility be giving us no other option but to admit our utter dependence upon God. These people do not seem like valiant soldiers for Christ, but as workers of chaos and impassable obstacles to our peace and a hindrance to growth. Nevertheless, I believe that when we finally see the outcome of our lives from an eternal perspective, we will see that we could not have arrived in exaltation without them.
I certainly don’t believe that every wayward soul or emotional criminal is a divinely positioned soul. But, within the covenant family, I do not believe that the family constellation is the result of chance or a random-child-generator program in the divine computer. I rather find purpose and loving family architecture.
If this be true, then I ask – which is easier, to be the one being motived to faith and spiritual excellence, or the one whose life is going off like a hand grenade to provide us the motivation to excel. Whose life’s mission is the greater task, the rich man looking down at the beggar, or the beggar looking up who agreed to sit there year after year as a thorn in the rich man’s heart that would eventually teach him compassion. Which side of the hospital bed is easier, the sick child, or the loved one learning patience, hope and faith?
Of these things we do not know of a surety, and we see through the glass of mortality darkly, and faith tells me there are truths about families, priesthood covenants and the mission of wayward children that can only be seen on God’s side of the veil. I am grateful the prophet Joseph gave us this pinhole of hope in the otherwise sometimes helpless role we play in parenting wayward children.
© April 2012, John M. Pontius, all rights reserved. Non-commercial reproduction permitted.