Something said in the Sunday Afternoon session of General Conference struck a chord within me. It is truth, I felt the spirit whisper.
“Throughout the world and among the membership of the church, there is great joy and great pain. Both are part of the plan. Without one, we cannot know the other. ‘Men are that they might have joy,’ and ‘for it must needs be that there is an opposition in all things,’ are not contradictory, they are complementary.”
–Elder Donald L. Hallstrom
The words still linger as an echo in my mind.
In all my years of life, there has always been a paradox to me between these two verses found within the very same chapter! (2 Nephi 2:25, 11). How can we be joyful if we experience such adversity? Think of it this way. Could we ever appreciate the rich, sweet taste of a fresh peach, if we’ve never tasted the duller, bland tastes in life? Would we shift our faces to the skies of warm summer sun if we had never felt the bitter chill of winter wind? In all reality, as President Uchtdorf so powerfully taught at the Young Women’s broadcast, we need adversity in our fairy tales in order to receive our happily ever afters!
And when we are in the low valleys of our lives, it is good to close our eyes and recall the memories of happy times and look forward to equally joyful times in the future. Even better still, we begin to appreciate what little good still exists in the bitter cups we are called to drink. We remind ourselves, “Christ suffered so much more than I can ever know. At least He lives. At least He can offer me solace. At least I still have such wondrous blessings…” And then we allow our suffering to be swallowed up in the joy of Christ.
And yet, the question still remains…is there a way to feel joy even in the midst of our suffering? Pure, sweet happiness on a daily, and even hourly basis? I believe this requires greater exploration.
Ponder this and I will too until our next post brings us together again.