Monday, May 08, 2006



This is a message to all, but especially to those who feel they have had more trials, sorrows, pricks, and thorns than they can bear and in their adversity are almost drowned in the waters of bitterness. It is intended as one of hope, strength, and deliverance.

In the pain, the agony, and the heroic endeavors of life, we pass through a refiner's fire, and the insignificant and the unimportant in our lives can melt away like dross and make our faith bright, intact, and strong. In this way the divine image can be mirrored from the soul. It is part of the purging toll exacted of some to become acquainted with God. In the agonies of life, we seem to listen better to the faint, godly whisperings of the Divine Shepherd.

Into every life there come the painful, despairing days of adversity and buffeting. There seems to be a full measure of anguish, sorrow, and often heartbreak for everyone, including those who earnest seek to do right and be faithful. The Apostle Paul referred to his own challenge: "And lest I should be exalted above measure..., there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me."

The thorns that prick, that stick in the flesh, that hurt, often change lives which seem robbed of significance and hope. This change comes about through a refining process which often seems cruel and hard. In this way the soul can become like soft clay in the hands of the Master in building lives of faith, usefulness, beauty, and strength. For some, the refiner's fire causes a loss of belief and faith of God, but those with eternal perspective understand that such refining is part of the perfection process.

In our extremities, it is possible to become born again, born anew, renewed in heart and spirit. We no longer ride with the flow of the crowd, but instead we enjoy the promise of Isaiah to be renewed in our strength and "mount up with wings as eagles."

The proving of one's faith goes before the witnessing. "Ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith." This trail of faith can become a priceless experience.

States Peter, "the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ." Trials and adversity can be preparatory to becoming born anew.

A rebirth out of spiritual adversity causes us to become new creatures.

All mankind must be born again--born of God, changed, redeemed, and uplifted--to become the sons and daughters of God.

The effect upon each person's life is likewise similar. No person whose soul is illuminated by the burning Spirit of God can in this world of sin and dense darkness remain passive. He is driven by an irresistible urge to fit himself to be an active agent of God in furthering righteousness and in freeing the lives and minds of men from the bondage of sin.

Unfortunately, some of our greatest tribulations are the result of our own foolishness and weakness and occur because of our own carelessness or transgression. Central to solving these problems is the great need to get back on the right track and, if necessary, engage in each of the steps for full and complete repentance. Through this great principle, many things can be made fully right and all things better.

We can go to others for help. To whom can we go? To whom do we look, in days of grief and disaster,for help and consolation?...They are men and women who have suffered, and out of their experience in suffering they being forth the riches of their sympathy and condolences as a blessing to those now in need. Could they do this had they not suffered themselves?

Is not this God's purpose in causing his children to suffer? He wants them to become more like himself. God has suffered far more than man ever did or ever will, and is therefore the great source of sympathy and consolation.

Some are prone to feel that their afflictions are punishment. The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that it is a false idea to believe that the saints will escape all the judgments--disease, pestilence, war, etc.--of the last days; consequently, it is an unhallowed principle to say that that these adversities are due to transgression.

President Joseph F. Smith taught that it is a feeble thought to believe that the illness and affliction that come to us are attributable either to the mercy or the displeasure of God.

Paul understood this perfectly. When referring to the Savior, he said, "Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; "And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him."

The Divine Shepherd has a message of hope, strength, and deliverance for all. If there were no night, we would not appreciate the day, nor could we see the stars and the vastness of the heavens. We must partake of the bitter with the sweet. There is a divine purpose in the adversities we encounter every day. They prepare, they purge, they purify, and thus they bless.

When we pluck the roses, we find we often cannot avoid the thorns which spring from the same stem.

Out of the refiner's fire can come a glorious deliverance. It can be a noble and lasting rebirth. The price to become acquainted with God will have been paid. There can come a sacred peace. There will be a reawakening of dormant, inner resources. A comfortable cloak of righteousness will be drawn around us to protect us and to keep us warm spiritually. Self-pity will vanish as our blessings are counted.

The blessings of eternity will surely come to those who endure refining, as the Lord Himself taught: "He only is saved who endureth unto the end."

Jesus is the Christ and the Divine Redeemer. He lives! His are the sweet words of eternal life.

(Via email, BBK. Please note: although many do not agree with the Mormon doctrines, it is my hope that this article will uplift you... I am not Mormon, myself, but I have many Mormon friends who are filled with the Holy Spirit. Mormon bashing will not be tolerated in the comments section. Thanks... Thane.)

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