Adversity: God Holds the Leash

My son, John, just gave this talk in sacrament meeting tomorrow.  I asked for a copy and wanted to record it here.  Who says parents are the primary teachers?  I love the lessons I learn from my children!  Enjoy.


"My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;  and then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes."  D&C 121:7-8

Through our adversities we can become exalted, which means living with God forever. 

"The very opportunity for us to face adversity and affliction is part of the evidence of God's infinite love.  God gave us the gift of living in mortality so that we could be prepared to receive the greatest of all gifts of God, which is eternal life."   - President Henry B. Eyring

The Plan of Salvation was created by God for a couple of reasons: 
1) to gain a body
2) to be tested

Our test is adversity. 

In my all-time favorite book, Enders Shadow, a nun named sister Carlotta is talkign with another chraceter from the book.  She says, "Do you knwo why Satan is so angry allt he time?  Because whenever he works a particularly clever bit of mischeif, God uses it to serve His own righteous purposes."  

When I was younger I wondered why God didn't just get rid of Satan.  Throughout the years I have learned that we need adversity, we need Satan to be tested.  I imagine it like this:  

God has a leash over Satan's neck.  God lets him bark at people who need to be barked at and he lets him bite those people who need a few  cuts.  What we need to remember is that those cuts will be healed through repentance.  

Sometimes, if we get too close to the dog, our cuts might be a little deeper and they might scar.  God uses those scars as a reminder of our mistake and so we don't do those things again. 

God is the holder of the leash, the nurse that heals our wound, and the parent that loves us through our pain. 



image from www.allthingsworkplace.com

Some people look forward to the New Year as a time for starting fresh, making a clean break, and deciding on how they can improve.  Others look at the New Year with dread: the holidays are over, the winter months set in and creating resolutions is daunting and almost depressing.  

Our Mentoring Mothers group started the New Year by revisiting a couple of amazing talks: His Grace is Sufficient by Brad Wilcox and Notwithstanding my Weakness by Elder Neal A. Maxwell.  The discussion primarily led me to think about how these markers in time (new year, birthday, anniversary, the season, etc) are really opportunities for us to change. 

Elder Dallin H. Oaks said, "The repenting sinner must suffer for his sins, but this suffering has a different purpose than punishment or payment.  It's purpose is change."  

This made me think of resolutions a bit differently.  Not only can we think about what we need to change in our lives, we can also look at who and what we are changing to become.  Not that we need to make all the changes ourselves, but that we need to all HIM to change us.  Every experience, positive or negative, leads us to change in some way...if we let it.  

Change is not something to fear or something to think about negatively.  Change is good.  Change means movement.  Changing is the reason we are here.  Changing is part of Heavenly Father's plan.  

According to Brother Wilcox, "If Christ did not require faith and repentance, then there would be no desire to change....If Jesus did not require covenants and bestow the gift of the Holy Ghost, then there would be no way to change....If Jesus did not require endurance to the end, then there would be no internalization of those changes over time."

He also states earlier, "We will all be resurrected.  We will all go back to God's presence.  What is left to be determined by our obedience is what kind of body we plan on being resurrected with and how comfortable we plan to be in God's presence and how long we plan to stay there."  

This requires change.  Sometimes this requires growing pains.  Sometimes this comes through moments of light where we gain better understanding of the Lord's plan and our place in it. Either way, as we look forward during these marker moments we can do so with hope, joy and anticipation for the changes we can make and the changes He will make in us through His grace.  

Here's to Change in 2015!!

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