Sunday, March 22, 2009

It's Raining, It's Pouring

I stood at the door in conversation one day with a sweet duo of women who were out proselytizing the neighborhood in hopes of gaining new members to their church. Known for their devout service and tiny magazines, these women were quite insistent that we, the women's religion and my own, could never see eye to eye, because one of us was completely right while the other completely wrong. We both pretty much figured that both parties would go their own way without much changing of the others' mind.

Unlike most people I know personally, I enjoy when my door is filled with the missionaries of another religion for a couple of reasons. 1. It's kind of cool knowing that there are still people on this earth who actually believe in a Higher Power enough to risk sharing their view. 2. Usually the missionary types are pretty harmless; meaning they try extra well to be nice. 3. Almost every time, after a bit of conversation, we can agree that, although not on all points of doctrine, there are some points where we agree! Who knew? Fabulous!

The fact is that truth is true no matter who possesses it. It is also a fact that truth endures, and false doctrines have a way of dying out rather quickly (remember Jim Jones? Hitler? KC and the Sunshine Band? oy!)

I like to think of God as the perfect Father, well, because He is indeed that. A perfect Father who wants what is best for us, blessing us for correct choices, and also allowing consequences for our mistakes, toss in the gift of moral agency that we all receive and you get a pretty great Father. Some times blessing are hidden or hard to define in the moment...kind of like receiving and "A" at the end of a long semester... it took a while, but we did get it. Usually the consequences are perceived as a punishment, however "punishing" is really more of a teaching tool or a way for us to change our course before we get our self in way too deep. Remember back to Jr. High when you stayed too late at your friend's house, you figured "Big fat hairy deal." but your mom, who knew that kid better than you ever will, freaked a blue streak for you staying past your allotted time. She kicked your behind from here to Tuesday and probably made darn sure you never did something that stupid again. Maybe it was dating a certain someone, or when you got caught experimenting with a "substance" that wasn't normally offered at your home's lunch table. Either way, a good parent will take the opportunity to change your course. And in the long run that "punishment" was really a teaching moment or even a blessing in disguise. Then there is the wild card of moral agency in which the Father allows us to make our own choices and reap the rewards and/or consequences. He will not interfere, he will bless and teach. He is always both just and merciful.

Back in the day, the world was pretty messed up, kind of like today, but for Biblical times, it must have felt worse. God looked around, realized His kids were outta control, and thought "Now what?" He searched all of creation and managed to find one family, not perfect, but trying hard to do what was right, and figured, "Wow. Only one family? This has got to stop! I need to get these kids to a place where they can't harm themselves any more than they already have." He had a chat with the patriarch of the one family that He could trust to do what was right and said "I'm going to teach you how to build a boat. You're going to have to trust me on this, and follow every thing I tell you, or you too will be put in a divine time out." Noah decided to build a boat according to plans, was mocked, and I am sure even a few of the family members questioned his motives at least once, but they supported him nonetheless and in the long run, they all lived while the rest of civilization took a dirt nap in the deep blue sea.

Now my missionary friends saw this as God's ultimate punishment. They were bad, God killed them. Done.

I prefer to look at it a different way. Perhaps God, their Heavenly Father, had already set a plan in place that would provide them with an escape, even from death, and felt they just needed to STOP! digging their proverbial holes deeper. I mean, even with a Savior, we should try our best and we still need to repent. The less we mess up the less we need to repent for, so do the math. Granted, being drowned, probably not my first choice for halting ill behaviour, but it did the trick and in a way, they did have it coming. In the long run everybody dies and everybody gets to be resurrected so -really- where's the trouble? God doesn't have a problem with death because to Him it really isn't that big of a deal. He knows the trick for getting everyone back to life. I am sure one day (one far off day) we too, will understand how it all works and will still be amazed, but we'll understand why for God, death is (as Thor puts it) "No big hill for a high stepper."

So again here we are. Problems, agency, bugs in the system, kinks in the chain. That's life baby. That's truth. Just because we follow the rules and do what we are supposed to do, does that mean we get off easy? Do we have a trouble free life without trials, questions, doubts or fears? Do we get to laze about hoping and wishing for a harp playing afterlife? Um, no. God needs us to be as learned as possible and like the old saying goes, nothing teaches like experience. Another truth: even Christ Himself was tried and tested; and we know from modern day scripture that He had to endure every temptation we will face, He had to suffer in Gethsemane for every sin we have done...He had it pretty tough for Someone who always followed the rules and did everything He was asked to do.

Are we better than Christ? Should we have it easier than the God who suffered for our mistakes and sins?

One of my favourite scriptures is found in Doctrine and Covenants 121: 33

"How long can rolling waters remain impure? What power shall stay the heavens? As well might man stretch forth his puny arm to stop the Missouri river in its decreed course, or to turn it up stream, as to hinder the Almighty from pouring down knowledge from heaven upon the heads of the Latter-day Saints."

To me this means that we are most certainly going to be tried; and to try and stop that is foolish. Heavenly Father tries us to purify us, to fit us for the kingdom, to help us stand with confidence in His and Jesus Christ's presence. I love, love, love, that the scripture above reminds us that Heaven Father, The Almighty, wants to "pour down knowledge from heaven upon" our heads! Heavenly knowledge can only come from our overcoming doubts, fears, trials, temptations, and all our ills and "unfair" situations. Do we really want to "stay" that power? Or should we go with the flow?

I'm not promoting a messed up life, or saying things like "WAHOO! This week STINKS! AIN'T IT GREAT?" cause frankly, no sane person does that. All I suggest is that, as soon as possible, perhaps we can look back on our heartaches and such and find the purpose for the trial. Find the reason for our lesson, and soon reap the heavenly knowledge that can only come from overcoming what is placed in our path, or perhaps, make us review our path and change our course to get back on the right track.

A world filled with pure rain water to cleanse and prepare it anew for a small family that would repopulate it, sanctifying their lives through a 30 day storm that would go down in history.

A rolling river, clear, and beautifully filled with pure water because of the constant turbulence.

The Son of God, our Saviour, often referred to as Living Water, pierced on the cross, water gushing from His side just prior to His completing His earthly mission for us.

Knowledge pouring from Heaven down upon us.

Three examples of "all these things shall be for thy benefit", the good, the bad, the indifferent, can all be made into a blessing if we choose to allow it.

Truth is true. Knowledge is power. And to get it pouring from heaven, well that's amazing.

add to sk*rt

5 comments:

The Pea said...

Awesome!!!

Robyn said...

Very nice testimony. Not that you need my assurance, just wanted you to know.

S'mee said...

Thanks you two...you guys are awesome.

Real Mom, Real Life said...

Again S'mee, I love your insight on things. This is absolutely beautiful. Thank you for the reminder, for the thoughts and for your testimony. One of my favorite posts!

Boy Mom said...

I always love these posts where you let loose with both barrels the best.

My youngest sister said that your comment on my Holy Ghost post was the funniest thing she's ever read, she's hard to please so wow!

And I'm excited to send you something neat.