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. (D&C 98:3)
As I consider the pain of those who hurt so badly over experiences in their past, I can only share with you from my own experience. Suffice it to say that in childhood, as a teen, as a married person, and as a parent, I have suffered devastating, mind-blowing, heart-wrenching pain because of other people’s agency. I have looked upon the lifeless body of one of my own children. I have struggled to pretend that it’s all “okay.”
But, you know what, the truth is, to a child who is being put through a terribly painful procedure (like chemotherapy, for example)—even if it is to save their life—it isn’t “okay.” A loving parent knows that, and understands, but still can’t stop the chemo treatments. The parent knows that the suffering is, in the long run, for the child’s best good. The pain of the chemo will help the child live a long and full life in the years to come.
It helped me to use that comparison to sustain my trust in the Lord during those years of heartache in my life, those years when felt like I was receiving dose after dose of sickening “chemo.” Most recently, things have been pretty calm, but there is no guarantee that I won’t have to have more treatments in the future.
This much I know for sure, though—God is big enough and good enough and patient enough to hear my truth—even if in my short-sighted, child-like level of immaturity, I feel angry at Him. He doesn’t deserve it, but the miracle of His maturity and greatness of spirit is that He’s willing to take the flak for what He doesn’t deserve. The Savior proved His willingness when He suffered for all sin and all pain, not one bit of which He deserved.
Go to Him, as a child goes to a loving parent. Pour out your pain to Him. Bawl, cry, kick, scream, say whatever you really, honestly need to say to Him. I’ve done that and I know many others who have done it, too. And every one of us has found that at the end of telling Christ their absolute truth, He is still with them. He is still holding them, still waiting for a chance to tell them His absolute truth.
When we reveal our whole souls to Him, He reveals His deepest truth to us—that He loves us and He will never leave us. He comforts us and assures us that everything—every thing—in our lives is happening for everyone’s good. Simultaneously.
There’s a time to be born and a time to die—and it’s all part of the ongoing eternal progression of each of us. There’s a time to grieve, and a time to be done with grieving—and both times are part of our mortal reality and is understood by our Heavenly Father and our Savior. Jesus Himself wept and cried unto His Father over the things that He wished could be different. He knows how it feels to be told, “I’m sorry, my child. I cannot grant your desperate desire.” But after the weeping, He accepted the truth that those things still had to happen for the good of all.
And with His comfort and His power, we can accept this truth as well: All things—even all the painful, difficult afflictions of our earth life—shall work together for our good and to the glory of God.
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