The lesson was on Amos 3:6. “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.”
When I was thinking about what talks really stuck out to me this conference. The first was David A Bednars talk about loads. About how we think happiness is the absence of a load and that actually loads give us spiritual traction to accomplish and become what Heavenly Father wants us to be… and then Dieter F Uchtdorfs talk about being grateful in all things.
As I look at this commandment I feel a little torn. Grateful in abuse, grateful in parents divorce, grateful in an addiction that was in my marriage? Does it hardly seem right? “But those who set aside the bottle of bitterness and lift instead the goblet of gratitude can find a purifying drink of healing, peace, and understanding.”(Uchdorf, April, 2014)
Do I believe that promise? Do I really believe that I can push away a bottle whose bitter taste would destroy my spirit and faithfully lift a goblet to my God and say thank you for loving me enough to cut me down? Thank you for letting me seek you in a way that brought me to deep and richly confirming knowledge of your presence. Paul V. Johnson said, “we should take care not to resent the very things that help us put on the divine nature.” The things that if endured well would help us to become like him.
This was not a one-day event but a process and even though there are some experiences that are strong and rewarding, the process of being grateful came at the price of walking through the mists of doubt and discouragement. Learning to give to the Lord all the disgust and guilt and shame that are accompanied with it. Learning to seek healing through all the proper channels that God has given us on earth.
As I learned to reach for my Saviour to heal me… to make me whole .. to take what felt like crimson and turn it into the purest white. After I could do that. I could see how many people in my life the Lord put there so that I could help heal them and they could help heal me… The help I could give to others made some of my grief worth it. Elder Oresen F Whitney wrote “ to whom do we look, in days of grief and disaster, for help and consolation?…They are men and women who have suffered, and out of their experience in suffering they bring forth the riches of their sympathy and condolences as a blessing to those now in need. Could they do this had they not suffered themselves?” (Refined in our Trials, Ensign, Feb 2006)
It’s important to note “Being grateful in times of distress does not mean that we are pleased with our circumstances. It does mean that through the eyes of faith we look beyond our present-day challenges.”(Uchdorf, 2014)“This is not a gratitude of the lips but of the soul. It is a gratitude that heals the heart and expands the mind.”
As we are commanded to become like Him I think too often we forget how the scriptures teach “he was a man of sorrow and acquainted with grief… and we hid as it were our faces from him.” Do we shrink and hide our faces in times in life’s trying times or do we realize to feel sorrow is quite Divine?
Sometimes we don’t think about God weeping but as Enoch asked the question three times:
“How is it that thou canst weep, seeing thou art holy, and from all eternity to all eternity?” Moses 7:32
The Lord’s response is that of love. It sounds like a parent who is saddened by saddened by his children’s mistakes. (Moses 7:32-) So often we think of God being absent and allowing suffering. A kind and loving God would have never let this happen; a loving God doesn’t cut me down and let me suffer; a kind God wouldn’t. But a kinder and and a more loving God will allow all things to happen to us if it will be for our ultimate good. Perhaps we need to become better acquainted with this all powerful and immortal God who still weeps. An elder brother who is “acquainted with grief and sorrows”. In our suffering we take some of our own painful steps to Calvary, to become better acquainted with our loving God.
Sometimes when life’s bitter ironies happen to us. We think God is absent or doesn’t exist. This is exactly what happened to me. When I was old enough to understand the abuse. I was bitter at God. I couldn’t believe in a loving Father so absent in my suffering. So one day as a young girl I thought the only option I had left was to end my own life. Before I acted on it, I knelt down and I asked God, “Can you love me? Are you there?” That prayer was answered. I felt the purest love encompass me and I knew I would have the strength to get the healing I needed. It was not a one-time healing. This just opened the gate to a pathway for healing, and deeply drinking from those healing living waters. For the realization that a loving Father would wipe away all tears. and that all things endured well will be “consecrated for (my) gain.” 2 Nephi 2:2.
We need always remember a correct idea of our Father. He is all powerful, all knowing, no respecter of persons, and someone who loves so much he still weeps with us. May we trust in a loving God. So when we are invited to “see gratitude as a disposition, a way of life that stands independent of our current situation, we may take joy in the journey. That we reflect on the question: “How much of life do we miss by waiting to see the rainbow before thanking God that there is rain? So maybe when our lives feel dark and rainy, when mortality weighs us down, we can remember Him who descended below all things. That we may cast our burdens at His feet and be healed. That we may yoke ourselves to Him and take each faithful step in our own journey in mortality remembering “If you wish to go where God is, you must be like God, or possess the principles which God possesses” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, comp. Joseph Fielding Smith , 216).
So my Brothers and sisters these next two weeks my challenge is to invite you record at least three things for which you are grateful. That we may live in a spirit of thanksgiving. That one of those days you ponder upon an event that wasn’t very appealing and ask to see the gratitude in that situation. I invite you to lift the goblet of gratitude and “find a purifying drink of healing, peace, and understanding.”(Uchdorf, April, 2014)”
This was given to me for a Sunday school class that I taught. I was kinda scared to share it but the response I got was so worth it. People were kind and the spirit filled in the stuff that I couldn’t say but they needed to hear.