"There is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah"
2 Nephi 2:8 (The Book of Mormon)

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Physician

Do you ever wonder why problems and struggle are inevitable in life?  Why does our Father, who loves so perfectly, allow us to suffer pain and hardship?  As we view this life through the lens of eternity, the answer to these difficult questions begins to come into view.  Knowing and understanding that God's plan for us is one of growth and development is key.  Understanding that we are here, not just to be what we are here and now, but to become something far greater enlarges our view.  We begin to recognize this lifetime as a kind of school or training ground.  We begin to see that struggle is a tool the Father uses to help us desire to change or become.  It is the catalyst for the "mighty change of heart".

If life were perfectly comfortable what would be the motivation for any of us ever seek Him out?  Hath the whole need of a physician? (see Matt 9:12)  When we receive struggle with humility it literally brings us to the feet of the Savior, pleading for His grace and power to overcome.  We seek His yoke to pull the burden.  As we walk and pull and suffer with the Savior, the nature of the Divine distills upon our own.  We become fully engaged in His plan of growth and transformation which is intentionally gradual. Combined with His grace, our consistent effort over time internalizes the changes in our nature that would otherwise remain surface.  With Christ there is no flaw, no struggle, no heart ache, that can't eventually be overcome when coupled with a committed and willing heart!

"If you have problems in  your life, don't assume there is something wrong with you.  Struggling with those problems is at the very core of life's purpose.  As we draw close to God, He will show us our weaknesses and through them make us wiser, stronger.  If you're seeing more of your weaknesses, that just might mean you're moving nearer to God, not farther away."

"Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet.  
Only through experiences of trial and suffering can 
the soul be strengthened, 
vision cleared, 
ambition inspired, 
and success achieved."
Helen Keller

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Why the Atonement?

As a result of the Fall of Adam and Eve you and I live in a fallen world... removed from the presence of God.  I love the Latter-day Saint perspective on the Fall and its key role in God's plan for us.  The Fall, or separation from God's presence, necessitated a means by which man could reunite with God, becoming "At One" with Him.  The Savior's Atonement makes this possible.
"The fall was not a disaster.  It wasn't a mistake or an accident.  It was a deliberate part of the plan of salvation.  We are God's spirit "offspring", sent to earth "innocent" of Adam's transgression.  Yet our Father's plan subjects us to temptation and misery in this fallen world as the price to comprehend authentic joy.  Without tasting the bitter, we actually cannot understand the sweet.  We require mortality's discipline and refinement as the next step in our development toward becoming like our Father.  But growth means growing pains.  It also means learning from our mistakes in a continual process made possible by the Savior's grace, which 
He extends both during and "after all we can do."
Adam and Eve learned constantly from their often harsh experience.  They knew how a troubled family feels.  Think of Cain and Abel.  Yet because of the Atonement, they could learn from their experience without being condemned by it.  Christ's sacrifice didn't just erase their choices and return them to an Eden of innocence.  That would be a story with no plot and no character growth.  His plan is developmental-- line upon line, step by step, grace for grace."
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