Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Lesson #31 by Lauri "God Shall Be with You Forever and Ever" Liberty Jail

Every one of us, in one way or another, great or small, dramatic or incidental, is going to spend a little time in Liberty Jail – spiritually speaking. We will face things we do not want to face for reasons that may not have been our fault. Indeed, we may face difficult circumstances for reasons that were absolutely right and proper, reasons that came because we were trying to keep the commandments of the Lord. The lessons of the winter of 1838-39 teach us that every experience can become a redemptive experience if we remain bonded to our Father in Heaven through that difficulty.

Lesson #1 Everyone Faces Trying Times
We must not succumb to the fear that God has abandoned us or that He does not hear our prayers. He does hear us. He does see us. He does love us. Sisters, we must keep knocking at the door. Keep pleading. Know that God hears your cries and knows your distress. He is your Father, and you are His child.
Even though seemingly unjust circumstances may be heaped upon us and even though unkind and unmerited things may be done to us – perhaps by those we consider enemies but also, in some cases, by those whom we thought were friends – nevertheless, through it all, God is with us.

Lesson #2 Even the Worthy Will Suffer
We need to realize that just because difficult things happen – sometimes unfair and seemingly unjustified things – it does not mean that we are unrighteous or that we are unworthy of blessings or that God is disappointed in us. Of course, sinfulness does bring suffering, and the only answer to that behavior is repentance. But sometimes suffering comes to the righteous, too.
If you are having a bad day, you’ve got a lot of company – very, very good company. The best company that has ever lived.
We don’t have to look for sorrow. We don’t have to seek to be martyrs. Trouble has a way of finding us even without our looking for it. But when it is obvious that a little time in Liberty Jail waits for you (spiritually speaking), remember God has not forgotten you and the Savior has been where you have been, allowing Him to provide for your deliverance and comfort.

Lesson #3 Remain Calm, Patient, Charitable, and Forgiving
In the midst of such distress and difficulty they could remain calm and patient, charitable and forgiving. They remembered their covenants, they disciplined themselves, and they knew that we must live the gospel at all times, not just when it is convenient and not just when things are going well. The real test of our faith and our Christian discipleship is when things are NOT going smoothly. That is when we get to see what we’re made of and how strong our commitment to the gospel really is.
The Spirit has a near-impossible task to get through to a heart that is filled with hate or anger or vengeance or self-pity. On the other hand, the Spirit finds instant access to a heart striving to be charitable and forgiving, long-suffering and kind – principles of true discipleship.

Lesson #4 Do All Things Cheerfully
“Let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed” (D&C 123:17).
What a tremendously optimistic and faithful concluding declaration to be issued from a prison-temple! What a magnificent attitude to maintain in good times or bad, in sorrow or in joy!

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