Monday, January 21, 2013

God's Handiwork

This post has three titles:
God's Plan for Us
God's Handiwork
Has God Abandoned Me?



So, I've been having a rough time. We all have, no doubt. The circumstances I'm in have seemed unbearable for about a year and a half, now. Recently, my spiritual quests seemed fruitless. I seemed to be “seeing” and “hearing” heaven less than I did a couple of years ago, even though my quest was to follow Joseph Smith Jr.'s admonition to seek the face of Christ (it is in scripture as well).


I was at an impasse both physically and spiritually. It seemed worthless to try. The trials of my life were more than I could bear. Heaven seemed too quiet most of the time (whereas, in the past, I've had dreams from heaven, been able to tell the future, and had other gifts of the Spirit).


As a Christmas present, a friend gave me the recording “The Lost Mode of Prayer” by Gregg Braden which was very helpful. She also gave me the book, “The Secret” which was also helpful. But, in spite of trying to implement these things (basically, living in your mind, as if you had what you want), I found myself once again discouraged by my spiritual and physical circumstances.


Last Tuesday morning, I “heard” a voice in my mind and heart that told me, in essence, “This is almost over,” meaning my trials. I did not write down the exact words at the time I heard it, and I regret that - but the words were that this is almost over, meaning what I have been going through this time around. I am about to get relief.


That day, I went to a forum that I frequently go to. I expressed the following sentiment (it is a private forum, but I am quoting myself, so I hope that does not bother anyone who might be from there who is reading this):


I have asked myself this [referring to me not seeing angels orthe Lord, outside of dreams] many a time, and cannot find an answer. I do know that I have had many spiritual experiences, before I read any of [Denver Snuffer's] books, but cannot get into the realm of "more real than real" that visions are said to be. Sometimes I have faith that it will happen to me; other times, I seriously wonder if what I have been taught is true - or if, maybe, there is something inherently wrong with me. But, when I begin to think I must be hopelessly evil, I remember some of the experiences I've had and am left to wonder - It isn't something that is easy to see and understand and have, in my experience.”


I received these scriptures in reply (I am quoting from my own notes, not from the forum). The references were not given, but I know the scriptures well enough to know they came from the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants.


- And ye may know that the words of the Lord, which have been spoken by the holy prophets, shall all be fulfilled; and ye need not say that the Lord delays his coming unto the children of Israel.

And ye need not imagine in your hearts that the words which have been spoken are vain, for behold, the Lord will remember his covenant which he hath made unto his people of the house of Israel.


- And now, verily I say unto you, and what I say unto one I say unto all, be of good cheer, little children; for I am in your midst, and I have not forsaken you;

And inasmuch as you have humbled yourselves before me, the blessings of the kingdom are yours.

Gird up your loins and be watchful and be sober, looking forth for the coming of the Son of Man, for he cometh in an hour you think not.

Pray always that you enter not into temptation, that you may abide the day of his coming, whether in life or in death. Even so. Amen.


- And the Lord said unto him: Believest thou the words which I shall speak?

And he answered: Yea, Lord, I know that thou speakest the truth, for thou art a God of truth, and canst not lie.


- But he that believeth these things which I have spoken, him will I visit with the manifestations of my Spirit, and he shall know and bear record. For because of my Spirit he shall know that these things are true; for it persuadeth men to do good.

And whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do good is of me; for good cometh of none save it be of me. I am the same that leadeth men to all good; he that will not believe my words will not believe me—that I am; and he that will not believe me will not believe the Father who sent me. For behold, I am the Father, I am the light, and the life, and the truth of the world.

Come unto me, O ye Gentiles, and I will show unto you the greater things, the knowledge which is hid up because of unbelief.


- Therefore, let your hearts be comforted concerning Zion; for all flesh is in mine hands; be still and know that I am God.


It struck me that “in an hour ye think not” applied to the promise in D&C 93:1

Verily, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am;

(Doctrine and Covenants 93:1)


All of the scriptures affected me most powerfully. They helped tremendously in my concerns about receiving angels and the Second Comforter.


But, yesterday morning, as I was going to pray, it seemed less than useless. I had forgotten the words of comfort given to me Tuesday morning. The trials of life were crushing me. God seemed absent. There was no reason to pray. God was not hearing me. That was pretty dang obvious. My environmental/physical/earthly problems were still there (and worse, because a critter that is either a skunk or a badger has been rattling around in our home, bumping around inside the heating ducts (the furnace doesn't work, so we don't use it. If it has holes in it big enough for an animal like that to get in, I'm glad we aren't using it) and even coming inside bumping around under my daughter's bed).


It was worse than useless to pray. It was actually painful to pray. I prayed anyway. (I don't know how I managed it.) And I decided to fast. So worthless to fast, and I almost didn't, but I did it anyway.


These scriptures come to mind:


29 And there was also written upon them a new writing, which was plain to be read, which did give us understanding concerning the ways of the Lord; and it was written and changed from time to time, according to the faith and diligence which we gave unto it. And thus we see that by small means the Lord can bring about great things.

(Book of Mormon | 1 Nephi 16:29)


----------------

6 Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise.

(Book of Mormon | Alma 37:6)


We will see if anything “great” comes as a result. Nevertheless, here are the results thus far:


At church, during sacrament meeting, the talks were nothing out of the ordinary until the last speaker. He said that when one has a problem, when one is about to succumb (not succumb to sin, but to the problem) one naturally turns to heaven. Then the devil steps in with his lies. The speaker seemed to be directing his words to men, because he was mentioning giving blessings, and the policy is that only men do that. In any case, his words hit hard. The devil steps in, but don't let the devil deter you, he said. “You give that blessing. You say that prayer.” Those words fit the tremendous and painful struggle I'd had that morning to even pray.


The man was unpolished in his speaking. No religious “politician” was he. And the curious thing was that after he said this, he told us his talk was about time management (from a general conference talk) and totally went off in a different direction. I was left to wonder if a humble man hadn't listened to God telling him what to say at the beginning of his sermon.


Sunday School was about Joseph Smith, Jr. I almost didn't go because I weary of hearing ad nauseum about how Joseph obeyed the Word of Wisdom when there was no such thing at that time. (And the fact that Joseph drank a little wine on occasion, even not long before he died, is something most of us don't know.) But I went anyway.


And I got another message. When the devil accosted Joseph in his prayer, Joseph did not give up. He “prayed harder”. It was interesting to see two things that addressed what I had struggled with that morning.


After church, I felt a little more on an even keel. When I had left for church, my daughter had been in the process of cleaning the house in order to keep the invading critter at bay (we had talked about finding out where it had entered the room she was sleeping in. She had seen it. In fact, after she had awakened me, and I had accompanied her down the hall, she had seen it again, peering at her from under the kitchen table. But some minutes later, we heard it bumping along the heating vents under the trailer again. We were not sure how it had done that, considering the layout of the place). I came home to find the living room a lot cleaner and in the process of being rearranged.


Later that day, I went to the site where my friend had posted the scriptures for me. After perusing for a while, I noticed he had posted a link to a video (God's Chisel) in a different thread, so I clicked on it. I shared the video on the Speak of Christ blog, but here is the link. I cannot imbed it on blogspot because it is not a YouTube video, nor is it on my computer.


It is a cute skit about how God is working in our lives. Just as when I read the scriptures that had been posted for me, I was in tears as the skit went on. And I am led to believe that the first angels God sends to us are imperfect fellow mortals.


Whereas, before, I had thought and felt that God did not care, that He was uninvolved in the trials and struggles of my life, I saw through this skit that it was possible that He was very involved in my life, and is in the process of making me into something better. I saw that my trials just might have a purpose, that they might truly be specifically tailored to my spiritual needs, and that it just might be true that “this is almost over,” because God is the one in charge.


It makes a difference when one can see one's pains in light of God's hand, and in light of “this will not last forever. There is and will be an end to this suffering.”



And I post all of this in the hopes of helping to relieve the suffering of someone else.



Whether a loved one has been murdered, whether you have lost your job, whether you have been made a mockery by your fellow beings, whether you fear for any reason whatsoever, whether you are hungry or homeless or nearly naked, God is there. God has not forgotten you. God cares about you. God is performing a work in your life. I promise you this. In some way, unfathomable to me, hell in this life can be for our benefit.


Your deceased loved one is safe. S/he is wrapped in the arms of Jesus. Quite possibly, they have come to you to communicate that they are okay. Perhaps you have heard this and, because of this conviction, you are more calm and peaceful than others can understand is possible.


Your lost job will turn to your benefit. Your hunger will turn to your benefit. Your lack of clothing and your homelessness will turn to your benefit. And if anyone was told by God to help you, but they didn't listen, it will turn back on them. This may seem harsh, because often the Spirit speaks so quietly, but I have learned that life is harsh - and the consequences of sins, even what we deem to be small sins, have hard and painful consequences. And, sometimes, what we deem as sins are not sins at all (body piercings, and not wearing a white shirt to church come to mind, as well as a man wearing a full beard).


It would best serve us to remove the voices that are not from God, whether they come from music, movies, games, negative thoughts, other people, or mindless pursuits. It is vital that we are open to God's voice, that we are used to hearing it. Then, if we have the ability to comfort those in need of comfort, to clothe the naked, to house the homeless, to feed the hungry we will know that God intends for us to do that, and He will show us who we should help.


If you are mocked, the mockery will turn onto the heads of those who mock, and they will mourn. This saddens my heart that anyone would suffer, but it is nonetheless true. You will be vindicated. If they repent, so much the better, but you will be vindicated. This, I promise you.


God is in charge of this world, even though it often does not seem that way. He cares. He loves you. We cannot always see that. If your stomach grumbles because you're hungry. If your breakfasts and lunches of the last several days have consisted of eating dirt (diatomaceous earth is nutritious by the way. I used the word “dirt” for its shock value - and yes, I have been there - very recently, in fact) - if you have suffered in ways that are genuinely painful and/or even dangerous to your mortality, know that God is there. Always.


God is not dependent upon ourperceptions of His existence. He is not dependent upon ourperceptions of His presence. He is not dependent upon ourunderstanding of whether He cares or loves us. If you get nothing else out of this post, please take this with you: God cares.He loves you. He is working to remove the sins and impurities within your souls.


The destructions that are escalating are allowed so that they will bring us to our knees. They are not caused by the secret combinations, though secret combinations may be involved as a tool of God.


All of the destructions and pain we see today, both those caused by nature and caused by people, are there to wake us up. They are there to call us back to God. We are in great need of repentance as a country and as a planet. Let us heed the call to repentance. Let us turn to God with all our hearts and souls, even if it seems He has abandoned us. I assure you that He has not.

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