And as for the perils which I am called to pass through, they seem but a small thing to me, as the envy and wrath of man have been my common lot all the days of my life; and for what cause it seems mysterious, unless I was ordained from before the foundation of the world for some good end, or bad, as you may choose to call it. Judge ye for yourselves. God knoweth all these things, whether it be good or bad. But nevertheless, deep water is what I am wont to swim in. It all has become a second nature to me; and I feel, like Paul, to glory in tribulation; for to this day has the God of my fathers delivered me out of them all, and will deliver me from henceforth; for behold, and lo, I shall triumph over all my enemies, for the Lord God hath spoken it. (D&C 127:2)
Sunday, September 07, 2008
Last Thursday, I was turned down, yet again, for a job. The constant and consistent barrage of rejection has been maddening. I struggle and fail to understand it. And I was ready to give up. Looking at my resume, I still can't understand why no one will hire me for full-time work. All things being equal, there must be something about me that employers don't like.
Seeing my despair, my wife invited me on a date on Friday. She picked me up from my job. And we went to the Joseph Smith Memorial Building to watch, "Joseph Smith, Prophet of the Restoration." The film depicts the life and ministry of Joseph Smith from his early childhood in New England and his martyrdom in Carthage, Illinois. It also depicts key events in the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The Lord blessed Joseph. He appeared to him many times. He sent Joseph John the Baptist and Peter, James, and John to restore the Priesthood. He also sent Moses, Elias, and Elijah to restore the Keys of the Kingdom of God they held anciently. And Joseph received many other visions, ministrations, and revelations throughout his life.
Yet Joseph suffered severely for teaching and testifying of what he had received from God. He was tarred and feathered, beaten, imprisoned many times, falsely accused, and murdered. Yet near the end of his life, he said:
But Joseph never reviled against those who persecuted him. He simply trusted in the Lord.
Those who accepted Joseph as a Prophet of God partook of the same cup as he. They left everything to become Mormons. They would gather with other members of the Church and prosper for a time only to be driven out of their homes and everything they had received. Mobs burned their homes and raped, tortured, and murdered men, women, and children all because they believed that God lives, not lived and that He speaks, not spoke.
As I watched the account of their suffering, I recognized that my trials are hardly "deep water." No one has tortured me or driven me from my home. My wife and children are safe and comfortable through the generosity of loving family. And I have received the fulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
I left the movie feeling somewhat frustrated. Not that I suffer adversity but that in such shallow water I struggle not to drown.
I am not a great man like the Prophet, Joseph Smith. Yet the Lord, in His mercy, has blessed me more than I recognize. My only hope is that if the day comes that the Lord asks me to give my life for Him, I will give it freely and without reservation, always and simply trusting in Him.