Sunday, January 8, 2017

Week 78...Laoag Philippines

Say Thanks for the Trials...

"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30)

Do we believe these verses? If we do, do we understand them? I guess I have believed the Savior when He says this, but I have never truly understood these words until the past few days. Thanks to my friends Brigham Young and Gordon B Hinckley, I have come to more fully understand this comforting invitation from the Savior.

My boy Brigham put it this way... "As to trials, why bless your hearts, the man or woman who enjoys the spirit of our religion has no trials; but the man or woman who tries to live according to the Gospel of the Son of God, and at the same time clings to the spirit of the world, has trials and sorrows acute and keen, and that, too continually...Cast off the yoke of the enemy, and put on the yoke of Christ, and you will say that his yoke is easy and his burden light. This I know by experience."

So Brother Brigham, are you telling me that there are no such thing as trials? Not even when I lose my job, or my loved ones die, or my children suffer, or when I don't get what I want?   How absurd! But that's exactly what Brigham is telling us.  Basically, when we cling to the things of this world and to the selfish desires of our hearts, while at the same time we try to live the Gospel and serve the Lord, all we will feel is sadness, frustration, anger, and confusion, because we just want to do our time so God can give us the things the we think will make us happy. And then we beg and plead for God to just give us what we want because we think they will make us happy, and feel we are doing what He wants us to do. But God says no, that's not how this works. You don't know what makes you happy. I do. Just trust in Me and let me lead you! Stop thinking and dreaming with your finite mind and put this yoke on your neck and just let Me lead you! Don't fight Me anymore! I promise what I have in store is better and happier than anything of this world that you can dream up and fantasize about!

 Tell us more Brigham! 

"Now if you possess the light of the Holy Spirit, you can see clearly that the trials in the flesh are actually necessary... 

Every trial and experience you have passed through is necessary for your salvation...

If the Saints could realize things as they are when they are called to pass through trials, and to suffer what they call sacrifices, they would acknowledge them to be the greatest blessings that could be bestowed upon them...

We are the happiest people when we have what are called trials; for the Spirit of God is more abundantly bestowed upon the faithful..."

What? So trials are actually blessings? Yup. And we should actually rejoice in them. Say thanks for those trials, because they are actually some of the greatest blessings God can give us. Let's here from my boy Brigham again, " In everything the Saints may rejoice-in persecution, because it is necessary to purge sickness and in pain, though they are hard to bear, because we are thereby made aquainted with pain, with sorrow, and with every affliction that mortals can endure...I rejoice because I am afflicted. I rejoice because I am poor. I rejoice because I am cast down. Why? Because I shall be lifted up again. I rejoice that I am poor because I shall be made rich; that I am afflicted, because I shall be comforted, and prepared to enjoy the felicity of perfect happiness, for it is impossible to properly appreciate happiness except by enduring the opposite."

 If we claim to know and understand the Great Plan of Salvation, and the purpose of our short time here in what is called mortal life, we hopefully understand one of the simplest and most over used scriptures in all of missionary work, which reads, "For behold, this is the time for man to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors." (Alma 34:32)  God didn't send us here so we can get rich, get pretty, get buff, get a big house on the beach and just spend all the rest of our lives playing around and enjoying the company and comfort of our loved ones on the beach for all time and all eternity. Now doesn't that sound happy? But God has better things planned. He sent us here to perfect us.

It says in Hebrews chapter 5 verses 8 and 9, that Jesus was made perfect through suffering. Trials, and challenges, and sufferings, and heart breaks, and persecutions, and pain and death are all essential for our temporal progression here in mortal life and for our eternal salvation in the life to come. So maybe we oughta do as Jesus invites, and put on that yoke of His, and cast off the yoke of the enemy, and turn our thinking around, and put smiles on our faces, with a spirit of trust, humility and gratitude towards the Lord, along with some foresight for the eternal life and the fullness of joy that is surely to come, and tell ourselves, Come what may, and love it! So as Brigham says, " Have no fears, for if the word of the Lord is true, you shall yet be tried in all things..." because life will keep on changing as it always has, and the trials will never stop as long as we still draw breath and we can be assured that those trials are actually for the furthering of joy and progression, and as Gordon B Hinckley says, "...the trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride; and really, isn't it a wonderful ride? Enjoy it! Laugh about it! Sing about it!...In all of living have much of fun and laughter. Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured."  

We must humble ourselves, and follow King Benjamin's counsel in Mosiah 3:19, and become humble and submissive and full of reverence and trust toward our Father in Heaven, willing to submit to anything the Lord seeth to inflict upon us, because it is for our good.  We should be like Paul, and rejoice that we are afflicted and that we suffer, because we are following in the foot steps of the Master, who also was made perfect through trials and suffering.

I don't know about you guys, but all the sudden I think trials are fun. I might be going insane, but really I almost want God to give me more. I see it as almost like a game. To see how many 'bad' things can happen to me and proof to the world that I can actually have joy and triumph in the very moment of the intense heat of the refiner's fire, because trials are actually blessings!  So if any of you happen to see me stub my toe or something, don't freak out if I look heavenward and say "Thank You!" HAHA

Sorry about the super long and deep spiritual shpeel and for all the quotes, but my mind was blown this week and i just really wanted to share it with you guys.

This week was dope. We had exchanges with both the A.P.s and the office elders and I learned a bunch from them. My brain feels like mush and I am forgetting how to speak English  and Tagalog and any other means of communication because my brain is constantly thinking a million miles per second because there is so much work to do in my area and in my zone and yah life is crazy as a missionary...but guess what I actually love it cause it makes me stronger. 
I do hard things; it makes me stronger. -my uncle Mathis

Love you all and thanks for the prayers!

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