Random side note, I think I'm sitting next to a modern day Gollum at the library. We all know that public computers can be slow. That's just how it goes, we all learn to deal with it. Not this guy. He has GOT to be on facebook and get his social networking on, but the server is being slow, so I keep hearing these random hisses about how slow the server is and how "you've got to be kidding me, it's right there." It's a good reality check. Also, my favorite cross dresser just got here. Oh how I love the regulars at the Lakewood library.
The title is something that was said yesterday during the Relief Society lesson about studying the scriptures. It was such a small statement, but so profound. Whenever we are looking for answers to life, we should not expect easy answers. The answer itself may be simple and easy to figure out, but actually DOING it is never easy. If it was easy then everyone would do it and the reward wouldn't be as great. That is something that I have learned a lot about this week. I am really grateful for good friends (prior to the mission and previous comps) who have helped me figure it out. Every week we say a recitation. It's very long, and very good, but there is one part that I have been thinking about a lot.
Faith is the power. Love is the motive. Obedience is the price. The spirit is the key. The restoration is the message. The members are the means. Christ is the reason. Baptism is the way. Joy is the reward.
The two most important ones to me this week have been "Obedience is the price" and "Joy is the reward." We pay a very heavy price for what we do here, but we can't look at the cost. I signed my name and agreed to all of this. I knew it would be hard and it would push. There is no way, however, that I could have prepared myself for what this would be like. Elder Holland gave a talk a few years ago called, "None were with Him." He talks about how the Savior knew what was coming when he went into the garden of Gethsemane to offer the great intercessory prayer, but the reality of what he went through was much greater than anything that he could have anticipated. The thing that I am asked to go through and do is nothing compared to what the Savior did. But what has been given to me, to keep me focused and on the right path are the commandments and the guidelines of things I am asked to do every day. That is what keeps the Spirit with me, enables me to go out and work, and helps me to love everyone that I have the chance to meet. We serve with all of our heart, might, mind, and strength. All of it. Obedience is the way to give it all. Love is why we do it.
Joy is the reward. I've had a lot of people ask lately why we do this. They can't believe that our church wouldn't give us something in return or pay us or anything. The answer is in Alma 30:34. "And now, if we do not receive anything for our labors in the church, what doth it profit us to labor in the church save it were to declare the truth, that we may have rejoicings in the joy of our brethren?" When we go through hard times, it helps us understand the good times so much better. Instead of walking around in a flat, black and white world, we have mountains and valleys and crevaces and every shade of every color, the good and the bad. It is worth whatever we have to go through to see the beautiful things. God has to humble us sometimes. We have to be stripped of our outer layer, the things we use to cover our weaknesses and imperfections. It's a painful, raw process to have all of that stripped away. It leaves you feeling weak, exposed, and inadequate. It forces you to look to God. When we are stripped of that outer layer, God shows us what we were, what we are, and what we can become. We see how far we've come and where we can go. We see that our goal, our potential, and our inheritance is to become like God. That is true joy, and it is worth any price we must pay.
So, we should not expect easy answers. But we should expect that it will be worth it. Trust in God, trust that whatever He asks us to do will be for our benefit. The refinig fires are hot and they leave nothing untouched that needs to be removed. The final result is worth it.
I hope you all have a great week. Be strong, trust in God, don't be afraid, and say your prayers. Love you!