Let me tell you a story. I don’t share this to obtain sympathy, but to share what blessings and perspective sometimes come through trials.
I know everyone has issues and trials of life in various ways. Our family has had a number of serious medical issues over the last 20 years. It started with a daughter who one day doubled over crying out in pain and collapsed to the floor. She was around 6-8 years old. Hard to remember precisely. I helped her up and asked what happened. She didn’t know. She seemed fine. This went on for some period of years with an occasional pain.
Then my wife was injured in a simple spinning ride at an amusement park. She was 6 months pregnant and thought this ride would be fine. Something happened and she described it as the feeling of being at the top of a roller coaster and having that sudden feeling of fear and anxiety as it goes over the top, but never going away. For 3.5 years, she went through a personal roller coaster, as did our family. We finally discovered a major source of what happened and got it corrected, but we weren’t out of the woods yet.
As she was getting better, our daughter’s pain was accelerating. Months and weeks apart from those sharp pains turned into days. Days turned into hours. Hours turned into minutes. Minutes turned into seconds. This is not hyperbole. Our home was a mad house. For a solid year and a half, our daughter screamed in pain seconds apart except when she was on high levels of pain killers. When I say high levels, I mean if you were healthy and took her dose it might stop your heart. One year we went to the ER, I believe 23 times.
I would call home at noon to check on my daughter’s situation, hear her screaming in the background, and know she was out of medicine for the day, and then go down the hall to an empty and isolated office at work so I could openly weep and pray to God to either take her home or heal her.
We visited every specialist you can imagine. Nobody could tell us anything helpful, but one merciful day, a friend asked me if we had considered Lyme disease. Shortening the story, she had it, we treated it, and her condition improved a lot. However, a lot more happened after that and she’s had a long road on her way toward recovery.
During these periods of intense challenge, I administered blessings on an almost daily basis. Sometimes multiple blessings in a day to more than just this one child.
The thing that I learned in administering these blessings, is periodically, some insight was given to us to understand that we chose some of life’s harsh experiences before we came here.
I’m not trying to declare official doctrine, but this is my belief based on inspiration that came to me.
In some pre-mortal experience, we sat down with Heavenly Father and Mother and came up with a plan of salvation for us personally, separately from the major Plan of Salvation centered around Jesus Christ’s atonement.
The purpose of this plan was to give us certain experiences in mortality that would turn into mortal and immortal blessings we desired.
Imagine a cafeteria menu that lists off strengths, weaknesses, and trials, and then lists the blessings that would come from those experiences that would carry forward into eternity, or that would allow us to fulfill pre-mortal assignments we volunteered for.
What do you have in your family?
I’m not saying every experience was planned before we came here. Obviously there are positive and negative experiences we get hit with that come from our choices as well. But it was my experience during this time of trial, to learn that this was not by mortal choice, but a pre-mortally established plan to bless us.
Having that perspective has blessed me in several ways.
1) I know we accepted assignments which means I have to deal with the challenges that prepare me for them.
Isaiah 6:8. Then I heard the voice of my Lord saying, Who shall I send? Who will go for us? And I replied, Here am I; send me!
2) Knowing that I, family members, friends, and neighbors, chose some experiences before we came here so we could learn from them, my role is to exercise patience like Job to endure, or to support others, knowing that the works of God are manifest in their lives. Sometimes in a miraculous healing, but most often in the other blessings that come through our trials.
John 9:2. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?
3. Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.
3) Knowing that people chose experiences to have, we were also given mortal weaknesses that would facilitate bringing about those experiences. What leads to one trial may be a temptation that we suffer from. What we might see as another’s weakness, may be the very thing they requested that would give them experience in life.
That doesn’t mean we ignore their weakness or think, “good for you, you’re heading toward your danger zone.” We still try to help others in every way possible to come to Christ and shed all the natural man weakness of mortality by taking upon us the spiritual power of Christ by always following his light.
That will prevent a host of issues, but if it was foreordained, we will experience it and I am grateful a merciful God will take that into consideration in the final judgment. We can all be grateful he’s a perfect judge.
Ether 12:27. 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, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.
4) Knowing that people chose experiences, what right do I have to judge someone else? If you chose to experience addiction or abuse or medical conditions before you came here, and you experience it, even if it’s right in my own home, what right do I have to judge you for the experiences you chose? I may wind up with a harsher judgement as a result.
JST Matt. 7:2. Judge not unrighteously, that ye be not judged; but judge righteous judgment.
3. For with what judgment ye shall judge, ye shall be judged; and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
5) What is my role when I see someone suffering? Love them. Succor them. Minister to them. Be a blessing to them so they don’t lose hope and they know God is aware of them and their suffering, by using me as an instrument in his hands to bless them.
Mosiah 4:16. And also, ye yourselves will succor those that stand in need of your succor; ye will administer of your substance unto him that standeth in need; and ye will not suffer that the beggar putteth up his petition to you in vain, and turn him out to perish.
6) Miracles happen. I’ve experienced them and know they are real.
Acts 3:6. Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.
But for a time, it may not be the will of God to heal everyone the instant they desire to be well. It may be their experience to suffer for a time, to teach them and those around them the lessons they wanted to learn before they came here.
7) God must weep at our suffering cries, but he knows in the end when we come home and we bitterly complain about how unfair life was, he will pull out our mortal contract and show us where we WANTED those experiences.
3 Nephi 27:25. For behold, out of the books which have been written, and which shall be written, shall this people be judged, for by them shall their works be known unto men.
He honored our agency in choosing them. Why is it that not every healing blessing heals someone? Is it just God’s will? Or is he honoring our agency letting us experience something in mortality that we chose before we came here.
God ALWAYS warns us of danger, even if we chose to experience something from pre-mortal options.
If an experience is tied to a mortal choice, well, we learn some of life’s hardest lessons by ignoring the warning voice of the spirit.
Not every experience is based in danger. Even if we heed the spirit, sometimes trials come upon us because we chose them.
We might say, “God, I’m trying to do everything right? I’m following the Spirit so why is this happening?”
If we could hear his reply, it might be one of several things including, “I wish I could show you the list of things you asked for before you went down into mortality.”
This is my own paradigm at this time. It may be right, it may not, but it’s helping me maintain perspective through the trials of life so I thought I would share it in case it helped someone else make sense of their own situation.
Trials end, but they must be endured. With faith in Christ and seeking perspective for what we learn from the trials, we will get through them in a better mental, spiritual, and physical state.
Stress can melt away into greater compassion for others by keeping in mind that dealing with a situation may have been part of someone’s plan of salvation.
(Featured image by alohaflaminggo @ 123rf.com)
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