Note: Spencer has submitted an incredible post on adversity, which I have broken into three sections. It is filled with thoughts that deserve pondering. Please enjoy and pray before reading.
Thoughts on Adversity, by Spencer
After John’s funeral, these thoughts came to my spirit, so I share them in their entirety:
The Veil of Forgetfulness
There has been a veil of forgetfulness placed over our minds so as to help us walk by faith and rely on our faith while in this life. If we remembered all we knew from the beginning, and all that happened to us in our pre-mortal existence, and all we experienced in the spirit world, faith would no longer be necessary. This is because our knowledge and memory of the Father and His Son would overwhelm our faith, and we would know and remember with a surety that could not be shaken.
Thus a veil of forgetfulness was put in place. However, this veil (which causes us not to remember our pre-mortal memories of the Father and Christ) does not affect or change the reality that our hearts hold a great treasure of experience, feeling and knowledge, about them and us. This is what we call in my profession “cell-memory.” Scripture instructs us that our hearts, when touched by the spirit of truth, can remember all things through the gift and power of the Holy Ghost. Thus, through the Holy Ghost, our hearts can recall that which our intellect does not now remember.
So on this past Saturday morn, while gathered together, remember (by opening our hearts) that Jesus who was born of Mary even Jesus the Christ, in all of his stages of life: Pre-mortal, his conception, his birth, his life’s short mission, his glorious atonement, his death and his post-mortal experience. Brothers & Sisters of the most-high God: I ask you, with me, to open our hearts, which have the capacity to recall and remember, feel, praise and commit ourselves anew to what we already know. Let us remember Him of whom I testify you know far better than you know yourself. I remind you that His face is the most familiar of all the faces you have witnessed so far in your pre-mortal and personal eternity. Much of this knowledge is held in your hearts, which can only be known and discovered by you and God. Only He knows our hearts, and we will be judged by their intent and their content.
Glory in Your Infirmities
In 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 we read,
“Christ’s grace is to be sufficient for us; for strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore should we rather glory in our infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon us. Therefore let us take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when we are weak, then we are strong.”
This concept — to gladly glory in the many dissimilar infirmities, trials and conflicts that so easily beset us in this life — may sound noble and lofty, but how do we realistically gain the conviction, courage and stamina necessary to overcome all that the world’s voices relentlessly try to shove at us?
Properly Making the Change
Too many of us take in daily from television, radio, video and the internet the many ways we need to improve ourselves, fix our marriages, change our husbands, spice up our intimacy, have numerous corrective surgeries, and discover what it is the so-called experts say we are missing in our lives. Remember: change always begins with us first. We can only change ourselves, not our husbands or our children or our friends. Where is the middle ground situated between dwelling on what needs to be fixed and learning that sacred region where we learn to be content with that which the Lord has allotted? Contentment and joy in the moment, whatever the moment brings, are becoming lost emotions.
How do we come to the place in our lives where we are able to emulate Nephi and Sam in our daily walk, behavior and attitudes, rather than follow the rebellious, murmuring and forever discontent Laman and Lemuel?
It is a hard thing to look each morning in the mirror at our own reflection after facing a very difficult personal tutorial, and recognize with chagrin, self-pity and sadness that what is gazing back at us is far more frequently situated in the complaining and grumbling category of Latter-day saints rather than being firmly situated in the more comforting saintly condition of the Latter-day Saints who are gladly embracing the motto, “I will go, I will do the things the Lord commands.”
It takes a life-time of learning and living to become high-yield, low-maintenance Latter-day Saints. However, it is through our daily scripture study, prayer and learning to be content with what we have been allowed, that we learn this is why we were sent here; this is why we are given the gift of the Holy Ghost to teach and lead us in all the things we must do. This is why Jesus employs no servant there; for only He who has born our grief, knows our weakness, felt of our infirmities (in utter anguish,) bore with patience all of our sorrows, and intimately shared in each and every heart-ache, can truly say when our testing and trials have ended.
“Father, spare these my Children who believe on my name, that they may come unto me and have everlasting life.”