"I will Ease the Burdens"

When I think about trials, I can't help but feel a bit frustrated and angry. I always ask WHY? WHAT? HOW? I've felt/feel confused, afraid, and at times alone.

I read a wonderful message today about Alma and his people. It helped remind me of important principles that will help me in times of turmoil. I wanted to share it in hopes that it may enlighten you the way it did me. This message was written by Elder Maury W. Schoof and is found in the October issue of the Ensign. (It will be available online in a few days)
In hopes to separate my thoughts from his words...I have put "parenthesis" around his words and italicized them. My thoughts are the ones not-vitalized.

Alma and his people hearken to the words of their prophet Abinadi who advised them to flee into the wilderness. They began to prosper for a while in the land of Helam, but their peace was soon interrupted when the laminates (their enemies) came to conquer them and their land. Alma "exhorted them that they should not be frightened, but that they should remember the lord their god and he would deliver them" Mosiah 23:27

The laminates made a promises to Alma that if he would give them direction and help them find their way home then his people would be set free. The laminates broke their promise and took ownership of the land and Alma's people. This caused much pain and tribulation for the people of Alma. When I read what happened next I realized I needed to learn from and then apply the techniques that Alma and his people practiced..

"And Alma and his people did not raise their voices to the lord their god, but did pour out their heats to him: and he did know the thoughts of their hearts." "And the voice of the lord came to them in their afflictions saying: Lift up your heads and be of good comfort, for I know of the covenant which ye have made unto me; and I will covenant with my people and deliver them out of bondage. "And I will ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs...and this will I do that ye may stand as a witness for me hereafter, that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, Do visit my people in their afflictions." Mosiah 24.11-14

Heavenly father kept and keeps his promises! He strengthened the people of Alma, and made it possible for them to "bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the lord" Mosiah 24:15.

The lord delivered them from their enemies....Take notice to their actions immediately after they were released from bondage?
"They poured out their thanks to god because he had been merciful unto them.”And they gave thanks to god, ....lifting their voices in the praises of their god" Mosiah 24:21-22

Elder Schoof points out four important things that can be learned from this story.

1."The lord tests the faith and patience of his people"
Impatient is my middle name. I want it now; immediate results are what I am looking for. I've finally begun to realize that that's not the way it works...

"Elder Richard G. Scott said the following about trials "The lord gives you experiences that stimulate growth, understanding, and compassion which polish you for your everlasting benefit. To get you from where you are to where He wants you to be requires a lot of stretching, and that generally entails discomfort and pain."

.....I've felt that stretching, discomfort, and pain. I can't help but ask myself if my burdens would seem lighter if I thought of my trials as the lord polishing, stretching, and molding me to become more like him?

2. "We need to trust the Lord"
"The Lord's view is much broader than ours, and he has promised that he will not try us beyond our ability to withstand. Elder Scott said".. "To exercise faith is to trust that the lord knows what he is doing with you and that he can accomplish it for your eternal good even though you cannot understand how he can possibly do it."

Does that hit home for anyone else?

3. "We should not murmur"
"Alma's people did not complain about their afflictions" "Elder Neal A. Maxwell taught: "Murmuring can...be noisy enough that it drowns out the various spiritual signals to us, signals which tell us in some cases to quit soaking ourselves in indulgently in the hot tubs of self-pity! Murmuring over the weight of our crosses not only takes energy otherwise needed to carry them but might cause another to put down his cross altogether. "Being of good cheer is what is needed, and being of good cheer is equally contagious. We have clear obligations to so strengthen each other by doing things 'with cheerful hearts and countenances." Doctrine and Covenants 59:15

When I think about the trials that weighed/weigh heavy on my heart, It's obvious that my murmuring did make my "cross" heavier and harder to bear. When we are personally feeling the pain and anguish that trials will bring, it seems a lot harder to "be of good cheer". But what if we tried it...would it help? Would our crosses seem lighter? Would our burdens be easier to bear? Would the lord lighten our load as he sees us fulfilling our obligation to "be of good cheer"? I think I know the answer.

4. "We can look to our leaders for comfort and encouragement"
"The people of Helam listened to and heeded their leader and he quieted their fears."
President Gordon B. Hinkley also quieted the fears of many when he spoke in general conference following the attack on the United States on September 11, 2001." "I am Optimistic. I do not believe the time is here when an all-consuming calamity will overtake us. I earnestly pray that it may not. There is so much of the lord's work yet to be done. We, and our children after us, must do it!"

Our leaders are called through divine inspiration and are willing and ready to give comfort, encouragement, and direction if we but seek it!

Life is rough. Sometimes the load seems too heavy. We must remember that life is merely a journey, a step in our eternal progression.... we must remember that heavenly father is stretching and molding us... and it WILL hurt... BUT all these experiences will strengthen us, enrich our lives, and help prepare us to return to his presence.

We are so blessed to have a father that "will ease the burdens which are put upon [our] shoulders, that even you cannot feel them on your backs."

We are loved.


Jacqueline and Jared Miller said...

That was a great post!! Thank you!