Sunday, June 24, 2012

God Has Not Deserted Us

I came across this comment on Google+ and got permission to post it as a guest blog.

Maybe it's not a test that you are failing, maybe you are being humbled. What is more humbling than losing all your teeth and feeling like you will never be "good enough" to see God?

I'm not calling you prideful, I'm just saying, well, this -- "And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them. Behold, I will show unto the Gentiles their weakness, and I will show unto them that faith, hope and charity bringeth unto me--the fountain of all righteousness." --Ether 12-27-28

Moroni wrote this right in the middle of that big sermon on faith. Faith always starts with weakness.

I think painful experiences are more likely to be humbling to build faith than tests to prove something. There is only one test and it is not about seeing if you can be a perfect person every day of your life. It is about trusting that whatever happens will turn to your good.

It is about taking blows to your self esteem because all of your teeth are falling out and you don't know if you'll ever find someone decent to marry.

It is about wondering how you can stay with a church that has gone so far astray that you wonder if there is anything to gain by staying with it.

It is about worrying every day that you are going to miss the boat and end up living in a cardboard box on the side of the road.

It is about taking your personalized doubts and fears and weaknesses and letting God lead you. Sometimes it feels like you are diving headfirst off a cliff, naked and blindfolded, but you have to trust that you will find somewhere to land, that it is not what it seems.

"Those who fear God are remembered, visited and blessed by Him. Those who had reason to be 'proud' of their status in mortality, the great ones of the day, dignitaries, presiding authorities, kings, rulers and magistrates 'he hath scattered' like dust. They will be put down from their mighty seats. In their place those of low degree will be exalted. Those who crave knowledge and are hungry to be filled with truth will not reject His messengers, and will be filled. This is so even if the greatest message of the day comes through an elderly woman, pregnant for the first time, and her lowly, still unmarried, pregnant cousin. Oh how wonderful are the workings of God! How little the praise and recognition of man matters! How foolish to men are the ways in which the Lord works in every generation! How easy it is to mistake social standing for God's favor, and to consider lowliness to mean insignificance! This God, who is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, surely has given us all sufficient warning to let us all know His ways are not, and never will be, man's ways." --Denver Snuffer, "Come Let Us Adore Him," pages 30-31

End of comment.

To my friend's comment, I would add this (that I read this morning in the same book before I read her comment):

From the widow's perspective, the judge from whom she needs relief is unjust. . . .  However, because of her persistence, the judge is finally persuaded to grant her request.

This story illustrates the difference between man's perception of God who appears indifferent, and God's greater wisdom in timing His answers to our prayers.

We judge God. We think He delays, ignores or refuses us. This parable is teaching us to pray continually anyway. No matter what our perspective is, we should persist. Petition God until at last He delivers you. Never relent. Never stop asking. Even if you believe God to be unjust, . . .  continue to petition Him. He does listen and He does answer. [pp 169-170]

All of God's disciples experience this struggle in submitting their will to God's. All of us experience the exasperation that comes from petitioning the "unjust judge" whose patience and timing are beyond us. All are tempted to complain that God is unnecessarily delaying an answer to our needs [emphasis mine]. All of us will finally come to realize that God has always intended to avenge His people who cry to Him day and night, even though He may bear with us a long time first.

Will men lose faith? Will they lose patience as they await the Lord's answer to their desperate pleas? He is showing us the struggle we will have in the last days before His return. Despite all He may have done to answers [sic] prayers before, it will seem He has abandoned those who are here waiting. Even though He has provided proof of His word to His disciples, His delay will not only try their faith, it will cause them to wonder if God is not this unjust judge who makes them wait. It will test them so completely the Lord asks whether at the Second Coming He will find faith left on the earth. It is a sobering question. It is a warning. Do not lose faith. He does listen. [Emphasis Denver Snuffer's]  . . .

The parable is designed to forewarn us. Being forewarned should prepare us. Above all, the parable should instruct us to never lose faith. . . . He will vindicate every word He has spoken. [pp 172-173]

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