The question we are answering this week came from a young man who is very much an analytical thinker. He is a very bright kid who excels in scholastics. He asked, “How can I get more out of the scriptures? It seems to me that they repeat themselves over and over on the same subjects. Why is that?”
I asked my daughter’s favorite mission companion to answer this because she has a great answer for it. She has some great insights on the subject.
Two-Thousand Six Hundred and Eight
Adversity is a vital part of our existence here on earth. It presents resistance, and resistance can be turned into a strength. Without it, we are stagnant. It would be like trying to build muscle without using weights or resistance. Although it would be pretty entertaining to watch, without resistance, we will not get stronger. It’s the same way with adversity…trials, struggles, challenges, growth in life. It can build strength.
I know. You’re thinking Jade, the gym is one thing, but my life is another. You’re right. Because in the gym, I have control of how much weight I put on that bar or what level of resistance I dial my cardio machines to. I control the resistance. That can be a good thing, but it has also caused me some unnecessary pain. Like there was that time that I went for a PR on the bench and thought I didn’t need a spotter. “I got this.” Ha! Famous last words before humbling experience. Long story short, I had to set the weight on my ribs and roll it all the way down to where I could sit up. Thankfully, I am terrible at bench, so it wasn’t enough weight to squash me. I had a lot of thoughts as I rolled the bar with the weights down my torso. “This was a good idea” was not one of them. I controlled that weight. And I pushed farther than I could go without help. And it hurt.
Most of the adversity or the resistance in my life, I don’t control…and I am so thankful that I don’t. Someone who knows exactly how much weight my spirit and my mind and my emotions…even my body can take is the One in control. Mormon 5:23 is the reference on the bracelet I almost never take off: “Know ye not that ye are in the hands of God…?” One of my favorite motivational videos to listen to while I try to forget the fact that my heart is beating out of my chest while I do cardio is Unbroken. Listen to this: “Anybody can feel good when they have their health, no bills to pay, they have happy relationships; anybody can be positive then. Anybody can have a larger vision then. Anybody can have faith under those kinds of circumstances.” They’re not wrong. So, I ask myself…what about when it’s not like that? Things are real. Things are hard. There’s not always a quick-fix or an easy route through it. I’ve been praying and thinking about how we get through it…here’s three of my thoughts. Bear with me while I expound.
One: When something is repeated over and over again in scripture, it’s not because God forgot what He said. It’s because He wants us to always remember those words. Sometimes it’s a warning. Sometimes it’s direction. Other times it’s reassurance. Always, it’s driven by love. Selfless love. The kind of love we cannot even fathom. The love that means we are literally never alone. I’m 24. I grew up with wonderful, very religious parents. I have spent a lot of time reading scripture. There’s a phrase that happens a lot throughout the Bible and the Book of Mormon. So many times, it seems absolutely unnecessary. “And it came to pass.” For me, it’s always been a phrase that I’m like, come on, let’s just get to the story. However, that phrase has become a powerful one for me over the past few years. It changed when someone said to me “The scriptures always say it came to pass; they never say it came to stay.” I’ve thought about it a lot. Christ gave His life so that every mortal struggle, heartbreak, illness, challenge…came to pass. That principle is so important to me. If you need assurance, 2,608 times. That’s how many times the Hebrew translation of the Bible + the Book of Mormon say, “it came to pass.” It must be important. Without Jesus, there would be a lot of “it came to stays”. With Him, ‘it came to pass.’
Two: God intends to work miracles in your life. He always has. That can be hard to see sometimes when adversity clouds our eyes. For one man in the New Testament, that clouding of the eyes was literal. He was blind. He was born that way. And the people believed that somehow this man’s blindness was someone’s fault. The disciples asked Jesus, “who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?” Here’s the response: “Neither hath this man sinned nor his parents; but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.” But that the works of God should be made manifest in him. Here’s the thing. When this man was born blind, God fully intended for this day to come. He fully intended to work a miracle in this man’s life, a miracle that would bring so much joy and happiness to this man and his family that I’m sure the years of trial must have been worth it to him in that very instant that Jesus healed Him. In His healing, God showed forth His power and love. When you are troubled and wonder why trials happen or why you feel so weak, please, remember that God knows your struggle and has every intention of working miracles in your life.