Sunday, July 20, 2008

When Through the Deep Waters I Call Thee To Go

I just read about Artemis' baby girl on FMH. All this on top of everything else that has been happening lately in my own family combined to just crush my heart. My sister Amy's husband Todd had three strokes this week; he's only 34, and they have a little boy, Oliver, just Lydia's age. It's still too soon to know how everything will turn out, but he can talk and is responsive, and we had a family fast today for him and Amy.

Doctrinally I understand trials and blessings; when hard things have happened (frankly vicariously through my family, such as when my sister Camilla had a stillborn son Taylor in 2005, or this trial now; my own life has been fairly easy) my faith hasn't wavered. I know that families sealed in the temple are eternal. I know that this life is a crucible, wherein we are tested and tried. And I know the truth of these following verses, which comforted me greatly after I broke up with my then fiance in 2004 (not to compare that self-inflicted trial with these greater ones in scope, but I did feel at the time that it was a great tribulation, even if brought upon by myself).

It says in Doctrine and Covenants 58: 2-5: "...He that is faithful in tribulation, the reward of the same is greater in the kingdom of heaven. Ye cannot behold with your natural eyes, for the present time, the design of your God concerning those things which shall come hereafter, and the glory which shall follow after much tribulation. For after much tribulation come the blessings."

But all this knowledge doesn't make the tribulation any easier, or make me want it any more.

And I know that being good doesn't protect you from trials; quite the opposite, even. But even so the natural part of me cries when I hear about people who go through sad trials.

I love it in the New Testament when Jesus comes to where Mary and Martha after Lazarus their brother has died in John 11. Both Martha and then Mary say to him, "Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died."

Now, the Lord knows that he will raise Lazarus from the dead, in fact, he's told Martha this already (although she didn't understand him). But when Mary says this same thing to him, and then begins weeping, along with those around here, Jesus weeps too.

He's not crying for Lazarus' life; he know that Lazarus will live again, both when he raises him shortly hereafter, but also after his resurrection in the eternities.

And yet he weeps for him.

I love this because even though our trials and tribulations in this life are as short to the Lord as Lazarus' death is in the story, he cares for our trials; he love us, he has compassion for us. He's even experienced our pains and infirmities before. He knows that eternally, we'll be resurrected through him, just like he brought Lazarus back to life. And yet he still wept for Lazarus, and I feel that he still weeps with us through our tribulations.

I guess that's at the heart of the scripture "mourn with those that mourn." Amy & Todd, Artemis, anyone else going through tribulations currently, I may not be able to change much about your life, but I can mourn and weep with you, just as the Savior does. And we can all rejoice for the glory that comes after tribulation, which the Savior will bring.

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