No Weapon That is Formed Against You Shall Prosper D&C 71-75
Isn't it interesting how the same experiences can change and shape individual people in different ways? And how our own experience is so tailored to us that we can see through those experiences how the Lord loves and knows us individually?
As I was reading this week in the Revelations in Context that goes with the lesson about Isaac Morley and Ezra Booth, I was thinking about this.
We all react differently to similar circumstances
Both men were present for the same experiences, starting with the Conference that they attended in Kirkland, and then the journey to Missouri and back again, as they were counseled to travel and preach along the way.
For Ezra Booth, he started to find fault immediately as the spiritual moments of the conference did not live up to his expectations. And then he compared his own travel with others, thinking he'd been somehow cheated. He looked for Joseph Smith's flaws, and found them. He grumbled and complained and eventually gave up on what he was told to do and got on a boat.
Isaac Morley, on the other hand, maybe started out grumbling and complaining. (I wonder if it was in part because of the company he was keeping. We all know it's easier to be negative and complain when we are surrounded with negativity and complaining.) But eventually these experiences made him stronger as his outlook changed.
And then, to add on top of that, he was told to sell his farm and take his family and leave. Others weren't being asked to sacrifice such things, so why was he?
There could be a lot of reasons why Ezra Booth reacted as he did while Isaac Morley took a completely different path. For one thing, they both came from very different backgrounds. They both showed up with different expectations. Everything that has happened in our lives molds us and shapes us into the person we are.
Our Journey Through Life is Unique
All of this has led me to think about our journey through this life, and how unique it is for each of us. Lucky for us, the Lord knows us. He knows our background, our trials, and all the other things that make us who we are. And He knows what we need. He's also willing to be merciful when all these things get in the way and cause us to make bad choices or take the wrong path.
Whether or not we choose to correct course is also up to us.
He also knows that what we need might be completely different from what someone else needs.
The Lord Will Give Us What We Need
I have been thinking the last few days about an experience my mom had many years ago, and I want to share her story (with her permission, of course.)
My parents went for quite a long time not being temple recommend holders, even though they were originally married in the temple. My mom really wanted to get hers back, but my dad wasn't exactly interested, so they were at a bit of an impasse for a long time.
My mom had a friend in the ward who was in kind of the same situation. She really wanted her recommend, but her husband was not interested either. But one day this friend of my mom's went to the bishop to see if it was possible to get her recommend on her own.
(Keep in mind, this story took place more than 30 years ago. There may be some women offended that this was a "thing" but times have changed a lot since then.)
So my mom's friend, after visiting with the bishop, was able to get her recommend. This made my mom realize that maybe she didn't need to wait for my dad, she could go ahead without him. So she went to the bishop to ask.
And the bishop told her NO. He told her that he felt impressed that she needed to wait for my dad to be ready to go back to the temple with her.
As you can imagine, she wasn't happy at all. It didn't seem at all fair that her friend had been allowed and she was not.
And of course, this didn't make her feel very happy feelings towards my dad either, as she went home upset and crying.
But the good news is, when my dad saw how upset she was and how important this was to her, his heart was softened. It took a little bit of time, but eventually he was ready to go in with her and they got their recommends for the first time in years. And they have been current recommend holders ever since.
The Lord Knows and Loves Us
I often wonder, and my mom does too, what would have happened with my dad if the bishop hadn't been guided by the Spirit that day and made her wait. Would it ever have been important enough to him on his own to do it?
Clearly, the Lord knew my dad. He knew that seeing his wife upset would compel him to take steps he may not otherwise have taken.
He knew Isaac Morley needed to sell his farm and move to Missouri to avoid temptations he wouldn't be able to withstand. And luckily, Isaac Morley and his wife made the sacrifice.
He knew that my son needed to wait an extra year to serve a mission, even though the waiting was so difficult for him. He could have chosen to say forget it and not go, but luckily he held with his desire to serve and went when the time was right.
He knew that allowing me and my husband to be parents to a disabled son would teach us unconditional love that we couldn't possibly have learned in any other way.
Life is filled with challenges that make us or break us. The Lord will help us through them if we let Him and trust Him.
Challenge Cards and Lesson Help Links
This week's lesson has so many topics to explore as you study! Be sure to grab the challenge cards in the shop to go with this week's lesson. And all the links for the activities are below!
If you need a fun easy journal to use with your challenge cards, or would like to help your kids create one, I have the easiest tutorial in the WORLD for it. You can find that post here: The Easiest DIY Journal You'll Ever Make!
If you're not keeping a scripture journal, you really should! I have a great post about why you should and how to start one here: A Scripture Journal (What it is and why you should be keeping one)
You can download the Challenge Cards here and then be sure to come back for the links below when you need them!
Deep and Lasting Conversion to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ
Revelations in Context: Ezra Booth and Isaac Morley
Everyday Examples: When Beliefs are Questioned
Christian Courage: The Price of Discipleship
The First Bishops of the Church
Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon Go on a Mission