One of my favorite scriptures comes from the Book of Mormon 2 Nephi 2: 24-25
24 But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things. 25 Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.
“Our mortal life…. was never meant to be easy or consistently pleasant. Our Heavenly Father … knows that we learn and grow and become refined through hard challenges, heartbreaking sorrows, and difficult choices. Each one of us experiences dark days when our loved ones pass away, painful times when our health is lost, feelings of being forsaken when those we love seem to have abandoned us. These and other trials present us with the real test of our ability to endure.”
When sore trials come upon us we are faced with all kinds of new and difficult choices. And many times these decisions and choices that we have to make seem impossible to end up with a happy result. However, the Lord wants us to have joy in this life. That is why we were sent here. The choice that Eve made when she chose to partake of the fruit, provided the opportunity for life to begin for us. In the midst of what Adam and Eve believed was a big failure, God turned into something beautiful and joyful.
Was that the end of their trials? Of course not, they had only just begun to learn the answers to the questions that they did not even know they had.
In order for us to progress and be able to make choices and have agency, opposition has an essential role. In 2 Nephi 2:11 We read: For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, …. righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one;
Elder Oakes continues: “From the beginning, agency and opposition were central to the Father’s plan and to Satan’s rebellion against it. As the Lord revealed to Moses, in the council of heaven Satan “sought to destroy the agency of man” (Moses 4:3). That destruction was inherent in the terms of Satan’s offer. He came before the Father and said, “Behold, here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor” (Moses 4:1).
And while that may have seemed like a great plan on the outside, without agency there could have been no joy, because we would have never known sadness there could be no growth because our choices would be taken away from us. So you can see the importance of our Savior’s plan to give us the opportunity to choose for ourselves.
Choosing joy is not to say that you are happy every minute of every day. It is an overarching feeling of peace and gladness that will sustain us through our weaknesses and difficulties.
In today’s changing world we are taught to believe that everything is about equality and to a certain extent that is true. We are equally all of God’s children, and He equally loves us all. But unfortunately, we are not equally born or raised in the same situations. God is no respecter of persons. He loves us all regardless of where we come from or what we do. In contrast, the adversary is the one that wants to control us. He has a great hold upon the hearts of people in this world. He wants us to believe that our choices do not have consequences. That we can do anything we want that makes us happy, regardless of how it may affect others.
And that is just not God’s way. In order for us to learn how to have a joyful heart, we have to make the tough choices and take responsibility for whatever the consequences may be.
When you pondered upon the questions that we talked about yesterday, who am I? Why am I here? Where am I going? What did you learn about yourself? Did you get down on your knees and pray to understand? Those really are some deep questions that many of us struggle with all the time. Finding true joy is a journey but once we find it, we will know. It will sustain us when things become difficult.
I believe that there is a difference in being happy and having joy. There are definitely ways that we can be happy and have fun in our lives. But happiness is fleeting. It is not something that we can have consistently with us just because of the nature of how our lives were created.
Joy, on the other hand, is a sustaining feeling. It can be with us even in the sad times and difficult trials. But we still have to choose it.
And the truth of the matter is, we must learn how to discover deep and abiding joy by trying. By making difficult decisions and choices for ourselves. God will not live our lives for us because he wants us to know for ourselves. And once we know for ourselves where that peace and joy comes from, we will strive harder to make the choices that will ensure that we do live a joyful life. Even during the hard.
Have a great day my friends! Talk to you again tomorrow!