Sunday, February 27, 2011
1 Nephi 1:1 . . . and having seen many afflictions in the course of my days, nevertheless, having been highly favored of the Lord in all my days; . . .
“ . . . having seen many afflictions in the course of my days”! Now here was a concept I could understand! That certainly described my life. Childhood: painful, lonely, neglected, abused. Teens: painful, lonely, neglected, abused, “sinful.” Young adulthood: painful, confused, compulsive-obsessive, perfectionistic. Adulthood: painful, lonely, abused, abusing, driven, depressed, morbidly obese.
But wait. What did Nephi mean by saying he was also “highly favored of the Lord in all [his] days . . .”? What? Wasn’t it a complete contradiction for him to say that he had seen many afflictions over the course of his lifetime and at the same time still felt highly favored of the Lord in all his days? How could he possibly experience a lifetime of afflictions and still feel “favored of the Lord?” “Highly favored,” at that?
As my “sanity” has been restored by studying and applying the principles of the gospel that correlate with the Twelve Steps, I’ve come to realize the belief that having experienced many afflictions or trials in my life means I’ve been bad, or worse yet, that God is bad–vindictive, arbitrary, even cruel, is a lie planted in my heart by the adversary. In the light of this one phrase, I see that Nephi is offering me the same truth he will testify of again in 2 Nephi 2:11. He’s trying to tell me that if I will listen and grow in wisdom, I will come to see life is a paradoxical and mysterious and amazing blend or “compound in one” of both affliction and favor. This is true for all of us, without exception. Prophet and housewife. 600 B.C., 2000 A.D.
Today, I feel Nephi's fellowship. I feel his joy that I’ve finally heard the truth he lived and died to offer me.
Prayerful thought: Lord, help me to remember that life is a compound in one–and that it’s good. It’s all good.