Friday, March 14, 2014

I Promise... Whatever Happens to Him Will Only be for His Betterment

     I just barely had an experience that really made me think, and realize a piece of my testimony I didn't even realize I had. One of my neighbors came over to my house and was frantically knocking at my door. I opened the door, and she was crying. She asked me if I knew where her son was, and gave me the name of who her son was with and asked if I knew him. I didn't know where he was, nor did I know the boy he was with. She was terrified and frantic. Her son had been missing for hours, and she had no idea where he was. I offered her what help I could, wishing I could tell her what I was feeling.
     See, the thing was that despite her complete fear and urgency, I felt calm. I don't just mean because he isn't my son, but because I knew things would work out in the end. I know from a promise I've been told multiple times that "No matter what happens, it will only be for our betterment." God would take care of him, no matter what happened, no matter how serious.
     There are lots of people in the world who believe that if God really loved us, he wouldn't let bad things like abuse, torture, slavery, death, and pain happen to us and those we love. There are people who believe that God lets bad things happen to good people for one reason or another, or even that God causes bad things to happen to a good person. We ask "Why me?" when something awful happens in our lives, or "how could you do that to them?" when someone we love dearly is afflicted. I know I have had thoughts and feelings like that throughout my life, but now I have a different understanding.
     God does not cause bad things to happen to good people, and there really isn't such thing as a bad person, just someone who has made bad choices. God puts trials in our lives, God lets us experience hardship to teach us, and help us grow. I look at all I went through in the past, the things I had no control over; the abuse, the pain, the death/loss, depression, etc. and the things I could've controlled; the addictions, the sins, the poor choices, etc. Those things could've totally destroyed me if I let them, and for a while, I was letting myself be destroyed from the hardships in my life. Now, however, I use the experiences God gave to me to build me up, and I am stronger, wiser, more courageous, more outspoken, more willing, more humble, better than I have ever been. God promised that whatever we go through in this life, so long as we endure it well and use our free agency to choose good, that it would only be for our betterment.
    When the woman was at my house, I wanted to tell her that it would be ok, that no matter what happened, even if it was awful and tragic, that it would only be for the betterment of her and her son so long as they followed God's will. My mind raced through all the possibilities of where he could be, of what could have happened to him, of what I might see or hear on the news in a day or two, but I had an assurance in my mind that no matter what happened to him, it would only be for his betterment. Then I realized it wasn't just him I was thinking of, it was the voice telling me the same. "Mitchell, whatever happens to you, whatever has happened to you, no matter how hard, painful, destructive, or seemingly cruel and unnecessary, I promise you it was only for your betterment." Then I just felt peace.
     As she left my house to go looking for her son again, I said a prayer for her. Her family is not LDS, nor is she, and I don't think they believe in God. I can only imagine how much harder that must've made it for her. In the prayer I said for her and her son, I asked that God would watch over them, and that regardless of what happened, everything would work out. And it did. He was found not long after I had prayed, and nothing had happened to him whatsoever. He was fine and safe. It reminded me again that God always hears and answers prayers for all His children.
     I'm not trying to say that it's "ok" when bad things happen to us or those we love. I'm not saying we should just let bad things happen to us or those around us, and I'm definitely not saying we should seek out those things, what I am saying however is that when they do come, and we don't have control, we just have to let God guide. We have to let Him hold us in His arms and trust in His promise that whatever happens to us, so long as we endure it well and use our free agency to choose good, that it will only be for our betterment and those around us.
     I have people in my life who I absolutely love who have endured the pains of abuse, death, betrayal, etc. and I see the pain it has caused them, and I mourn for their pain, particularly if they've let it destroy them rather than build. Sometimes I get upset with God, and say "How could you let that happen to someone as great as them? What could they have ever done to deserve that?" Then I have to remind myself that people go through trials to become stronger, if they choose, and that through their free agency can use those trials to bring them closer to God than they have ever been. I just have to remember that God has a reason for everything that happens, and that I do not have a perfect knowledge of why, nor does anyone else on this earth. All I can do is rely on my knowledge that, through the access of free agency, any bad thing that happens to someone can make them wiser, stronger, and closer to God, and for that I am thankful.

     I am thankful that God loves me enough to cut me down. I am thankful that God loves all of His children enough to cut them down, knowing that it will be for their benefit. Trials in this life may be frequent, painful, and seemingly impossible to endure, but if we can but take the bitter with the sweet, we will gain the ability to come out on top, and be wiser, stronger, and closer to God than we have ever been. I have a testimony of this, and bare that testimony in the name of my Savior Jesus Christ, amen.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

When I Finally Make it Home

     I've been listening to a song recently that has really hit me hard, and given me a desire to get even closer to God than I ever have. The song is called "Finally Home" by MercyMe. Every time I listen to it, I get emotional. I don't mean I cry every time I listen to it, I just feel the spirit, I feel God telling me He loves me, and I feel myself becoming like a little child, just wanting my Heavenly Father to be proud of me, to welcome me home, to tell me He loves me and has been waiting for me.
Finally Home
If the video is unavailable, you can view it here
I'm gonna wrap my arms around my daddy's neck
And tell him that I've missed him
And tell him all about the man that I became
And hope that it pleased him
There's so much I wanna say
So much I want you to know

When I finally make it home
Then I'll gaze upon the throne of the King
Frozen in my steps
And all the questions that I swore I would ask
Words just won't come yet
So amazed at what I've seen
So much more than this old mind can hold

When I finally make it home
When I finally make it home

And the sweetest sound these ears have yet to hear
The voices of the angels

When I finally make it home
When I finally make it home
     I was just thinking as I listened to it how wonderful my life is, and how wonderful it is that through Christ, everyone gets a second chance, a third chance, a fourth chance, a fifth, and so on. It humbles me to think of the purpose of this life. We come here to earth to gain a body, to exercise our free agency and choose our eternal destiny, to learn and gain experience through the trials of this life, and to receive the opportunity to gain the attributes of God.
     It makes me think about the times when I considered taking my life, and how much of a loss and tragedy it would have been had that happened. I know I wouldn't be proud of myself in the next life if I gave up the fight, and I wouldn't expect God to be either, and know that I would not be able to obtain Celestial Glory. I am thankful that God provides me with time on this earth to learn and grow.
     It reminds me of what this life is really about. We don't come here to earth to gain worldly success, we come to learn the quality's that God has, and strive to become like Him while still keeping individuality. We come here to gain a body, and be able to be resurrected as perfect beings. We come to learn, grow, and find ourselves. Life is a blessing, and should never be taken for granted. God loves every single one of His children, and I am so excited to be in His presence once again when my journey here is through.

     I can't even imagine what it will be like when my time has come, and I return home. What will it look like? What will it feel like? Will God be proud of me? Will He welcome me home with love and honor? Will He accept me in His courts? Only time will tell, and I'm willing to wait until He calls me home. I'm happy to stay here and grow as long as He needs me to.