Wednesday, June 8, 2011

He Will Ease Our Burdens

I am grateful for God’s blessings. While I didn't always recognize these as blessings at the time I received them as I look back with the perspective of time they are what I needed to stregthen my faith and develop greater humility and patience. They have also given me the opportunity to see miracles unfold in my life.
I learned important lessons in how the Lord has blessed me from the account of Alma and his people. Alma was a priest in the court of the wicked king Noah. The prophet Abinidi told the king, his priests, and the people to repent because of their wickedness or suffer the consequences. They rejected his teachings and burned him to death. Alma was the only priest to accept his message. He repented and began teaching the gospel. Upon learning of this, Noah sought to kill Alma whereupon Alma fled with his converts into the wilderness. They settled in Helam and began to prosper. Eventually their enemy, the Lamanites, under the direction of the wicked Amulon conquered them, persecuted them, and put them in bondage. In Mosiah, we read,
And it came to pass that so great were their afflictions that they began to cry mightily to God. And Amulon commanded them that they should stop their cries; and he put guards over them to watch them, that whosoever should be found calling upon God should be put to death. And Alma and his people did not raise their voices to the Lord their God, but did pour out their hearts to him; and he did know the thoughts of their hearts. And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord came to them in their afflictions, saying: Lift up your heads and be of good comfort, for I know of the covenant which ye have made unto me; and I will covenant with my people and deliver them out of bondage. And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions. And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord  (Mosiah 24:10-15; emphasis added).
The Lord could easily have smitten the Lamanites and freed Alma and his people. They were deserving of deliverance, but the Lord chose not to deliver them when they first petitioned Him. Rather than remove the burden as they desired, he strengthened and provided for them instead and in so doing, their burdens became so light that they could easily bear them. With this strengthening, the people patiently waited until in the Lord’s time it was right to remove them from their captivity.
This same principle applies to our lives—sometimes the Lord will strengthen us in our afflictions rather than immediately delivering us from them. This can be a hard lesson for us to learn. We think that it would be much easier if He would just remove the affliction and do it very quickly. But in quickly removing the problem, we would fail to grow in faith, humility and patience all of which contribute to the spiritual strength that we need to endure the vicissitudes of life. Furthermore, we probably wouldn’t recognize the Lord’s blessings. I have come to believe this might be one of the greatest reasons for providing strength rather than immediately removing the burden; it gives us a chance to see miracles unfold before us.

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