Turning to God in our Afflictions

All of us have had afflictions.  Some of us may be going through afflictions or watching loved ones suffer from afflictions at this time.  Keep in mind that afflictions can be trials, heartaches, illnesses or death... anything that causes us pain and distress, including our own or others mistakes and sins. One element of the greatness of God is His ability and desire to consecrate our afflictions for our gain.  

 In 2 Nephi 2:2 Lehi blesses his son Jacob saying...“ Thou art my first -born in the days of my tribulation in the wilderness. And behold, in thy childhood thou hast suffered afflictions and much sorrow... Nevertheless, Jacob, my first-born in the wilderness, thou knowest the greatness of God; and he shall consecrate thine afflictions for thy gain.”

To "consecrate" means to make or declare sacred or to devote solemnly to a purpose.   God is a God of miracles. He can take our afflictions and turn them into blessings if we will rely on Him and the Atonement of Jesus Christ. 
We may resist relying on God's power and choose to lean instead, on ourselves or others and the answers the world provides.  Afflictions make us look for answers to find relief.  Our afflictions humble us to the point where we despair of receiving help and we realize that the only source we can turn to is God.

Afflictions can help show forth God's power in our lives because we are in such dire straits that we MUST rely on the Lord to make it through our trials.  Afflictions can also be a tool to wake up the wicked unto repentance.

Afflictions can be looked at as a type of bondage and there are many scriptures that talk about people being in bondage.  Often being released from bondage is a process rather than a singular event.

In Mosiah 7: 33 it says: “But if ye will turn to the Lord with full purpose of heart, and put your trust in him, and serve him with all diligence of mind, if ye do this, he will, according to his own will and pleasure, deliver you out of bondage.”

This scripture says the Lord will deliver us according to his own will and pleasure. What is our willingness or lack of willingness to submit to the Lord's will and "pleasure?" It helps to remember that the Lord’s will and pleasure is to bring to pass our immortality and eternal life through our experiences of this life.

The people of Alma were in bondage to the Lamanites who were treating them very harshly. We can find out what happened to the burdens and afflictions these people struggled with when they put their trust in God to deliver them.

Mosiah 24: 14-15 "And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions.  And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord."

It is hard to bepatient through suffering.  Could we be satisfied to have God lighten our burdens instead of removing them? Can we be long-suffering and patient with God and ourselves?

Tony Snow, who was a press secretary in the Bush Administration, announced that he had colon cancer in 2005. The disease took his life in 2008. Prior to his death, he wrote about the spiritual lessons he had learned through his ordeal.

"We want lives of simple, predictable ease--smooth, even trails as far as the eye can see--but God likes to go off-road. He provokes us with twists and turns. He places us in predicaments that seem to defy our endurance and comprehension--and yet don't. By his love and grace, we persevere. The challenges that make our hearts leap and stomachs churn invariably strengthen our faith and grant measures of wisdom and joy we would not experience otherwise…

The natural reaction when faced with trials is to turn to God and ask him to serve as a cosmic Santa. "Dear God, make it all go away. Make everything more simple." But another voice whispers: "You have been called." Your affliction has drawn you closer to God, closer to those you love, closer to the issues that matter--and have dragged into insignificance the concerns that occupy our "normal time."

God wrings from our bodies and spirits the most we ever could give, the most we ever could offer, and the most we ever could do… Through such trials, God bids us choose: Do we believe, or do we not? Will we be bold enough to love, daring enough to serve, humble enough to submit, and strong enough to acknowledge our limitations? Can we surrender our concern in things that don't matter so that we might devote our remaining days to things that do?

We don't know much, but we know this: No matter where we are, no matter what we do, no matter how bleak or frightening our prospects, each and every one of us, each and every day, lies in the same safe and impregnable place--in the hollow of God's hand."

Mosiah 3: 19 it says ..."For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father."
How do we receive the ability to be able to cheerfully submit our will to God?  The answer is through the Atonement of our beloved Savior, Jesus Christ.  Pray unto God with all your hearts for His peace and comfort to be with you.  Miracles will occur; answers will come whether it is through church leaders, family members, friends or direct revelation.  Great peace and answers to prayer will come through faithful temple attendance.  By sanctifying yourself through faithful temple attendance you can help lift those around you and miracles will occur.

I solemnly testify that God can and will consecrate our afflictions for our gain.  In D&C 98: 3 it says: Verily I say unto you my friends, fear not, let your hearts be comforted; yea, rejoice evermore, and in everything give thanks;  Waiting patiently on the Lord, for your prayers have entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth, (suh-bey-ohth) and are recorded with this seal and testament—the Lord hath sworn and decreed that they shall be granted. Therefore, he giveth this promise unto you, with an immutable covenant that they shall be fulfilled; and all things wherewith you have been afflicted shall work together for your good, and to my name’s glory, saith the Lord.

I know that the Lord consecrates all of our afflictions for our good. He walks with us even when we think we are alone. He is only waiting for us to turn to Him and ask for His help and grace so we can be able to bear up under the burdens that are placed upon us. I know He lives and loves us.  The Atonement of Jesus Christ is real and only waits for you to lay claim upon its healing power.

I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen


Errol Holcomb said...

Thanks for taking the time to share your message on turning to God in our Afflictions. It has helped in my preparation for tomorrow's seminary lesson :)

Audrey Crozier said...

I'm so glad you were able to use this in your seminary lesson. Thanks for letting me know. :)

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