Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Men Are That They Might Have JOY

I have been thinking about this scripture (2 Nephi 2:21) for a few months now. I look around me and see so many people struggling. The concept of THRIVING not just surviving has struck me over and over. How does one thrive amidst all the turmoil? That has been my question. I was studying in 1 Nephi 11 where Nephi is shown the same vision of the Tree of Life as his father, but he receives the meaning to everything in the dream. The tree of life represents the love of God. When Lehi partook of the fruit of the tree he felt "exceedingly great joy" (1 Nephi 8:12) Growing up I always thought that the joy he felt was a result of having completed the journey faithfully and in reaching the tree of life. But there were others who reached the tree and partook of the fruit and felt ashamed and turned away. So what exactly did the fruit represent? Then I started thinking about the love of God. "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved." (John 3:16-17) These are some of my favorite scriptures. It says so much in just a few verses. First, God is not a spiteful, vengeful God. He loves us so much that He sent his Son to save us, not condemn us. I think a lot of people misunderstand the nature of God. "For behold, this is my work and my glory-to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." (Moses 1:39) It states plainly that God's main focus is to bring us home to have eternal life with him. That means that He will do everything in His power to accomplish His work. In order to do this He prepared the way for us by being willing to sacrifice His Son that we might have a way back. So the Love of God is really the sacrifice of His only begotten Son. What fruits did the sacrifice of Christ provide for us? The atonement which allows us to repent and be forgiven and change. Lehi felt exceedingly great joy when he partook of the "fruit" or the atonement. The atonement covers so many things. It covers our sorrow, our disappointment, offenses that we have suffered at someone else's hands, and the pain from making mistakes ourselves. So that is the key to feeling that joy, not at the end of the journey, but all throughout the journey. We must partake of the "fruit" over and over in our life to feel that joy.

Another thing I have been pondering is nature. I was sitting in the parking lot one time, waiting for one of my children to come out and I had the window rolled down. There was a tree with a slight breeze rustling the leaves. All of a sudden I was filled with such comfort and peace and it struck me that the tree was feeling joy. I could feel happiness emanating from it. Then I pictured the birds and how joyful they seemed when they were looking for food or building a nest or singing their song outside my window in the morning. They hop from place to place and just exude joy. It seems to come so easy to them. Think of the majestic mountains standing strong and tall and immovable. Don't they seem to radiate happiness and peace? Why? How? It got me thinking of a phrase I heard in relation to the creation. "That they might feel joy in filling the measure of their creation." The things God created are filling the measure of their creation. The tree was created to stand and grow and provide fruit. It doesn't fight against this, it is doing what it was created to do, no complaining, no murmuring. It just does it. And in doing so it feels joy. When my will is in line with Heavenly Father's I have felt peace, and comfort and joy. He knows what is best for me, what I alone can accomplish. Why do I fight it sometimes? Maybe I think I know better, that maybe God just doesn't understand how hard it really is. But when I turn it over to Him and try to do what He has asked of me, I feel JOY. Not just a fleeting moment of pleasure, but joy felt deep inside my whole being. I need to fill the measure of my creation in order to feel true joy as nature exhibits all around me. I need to let go and trust that God will not lead me astray. He is working to bring to pass MY immortality and MY eternal life. Just as the Savior wrought the atonement for each one of us individually, so too is God working for each one of us as individuals. He didn't say that he was working to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of MEN or of Mankind as a general rule. He said "of MAN", singular. One person at a time.
Just my thoughts on how to THRIVE and find Joy throughout the journey.
Thanks for stopping by. :)

1 comment:

Connie said...

I have really enjoyed your posts lately. They really have got me thinking and are uplifting and positive. Thanks!