Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Reasons for Everything

It is sometimes very easy to believe that life, and by association the God that oversees all life, is random. Oh, sure, we may not say it quite that way-- we might just say that we ran into some extra income this month because of our "good luck". Or maybe something difficult, like the loss of a home or a tragedy within our family, is "just how life goes sometimes". If we do recognize our blessings or our burdens as such, we will often generalize them as something that will "bless us" or "make us stronger"-- somehow, some way, some day.

The house of God is a house of order; His plan for each of us was established well before we were wildly successful, before we were laid off from work, and before we were ever overwhelmed with unexpected financial obligations. Though he operates on a higher level (see Isaiah 55:8-9), we can take comfort in the organization and reasoning behind divine action. There is always a reason.

The Lord outlines his reasoning for the timing and methods for the Restoration in Doctrine and Covenants section 1. Here we can see how intentional the Lord is about what He does. The solution of the Restoration began with a problem:

For [the people] have strayed from mine ordinances, and have broken mine everlasting covenant; They seek not the Lord to establish his righteousness, but every man walketh in his own way, and after the image of his own god, whose image is in the likeness of the world, and whose substance is that of an idol, which waxeth old and shall perish in Babylon, even Babylon the great, which shall fall (D&C 1:15-16).

The Lord responded to the apostasy and idolatry mentioned by calling upon Joseph Smith, speaking to him and giving him commandments that would lead to the full restoration of the gospel. The Lord doesn't stop there. In a unique way, the Lord goes on to explain in this introductory section of the Doctrine and Covenants why he spoke to Joseph Smith and gave him commandments. He gives at least these five reasons: 1) so the words of the prophets might be fulfilled; 2) so every man may speak in the authority of Christ; 3) to increase faith in the earth; 4) to establish the everlasting covenant; and 5) so the fulness of the gospel may be proclaimed to the ends of the world (D&C 1:17-23).

As if that weren't enough explanation, the Lord further explains his methodology of using the weak to teach the strong. The weak are previously mentioned as the ones that will fulfill prophecy and the ones that will proclaim the gospel to the ends of the world and before kings and rulers; the Lord explains why in verses 24-28. Again, there are five reasons: 1) so they might come to understanding; 2) to allow their errors to be known; 3) so they may be instructed; 4) so they may be chastened to repentance; and 5) so they can be made strong and be blessed according to their own humility.

In a single page of scripture, the Lord explains his reasons and methodologies for the Restoration on a relatively deep level. He called upon Joseph Smith to fulfill prophecy, to return the faith, covenants and authority to the earth that would allow each of us to overcome the problems of the world around us, and to spread knowledge of all these things around the world. He chose Joseph Smith and others because of their weakness; the mold-ability of the humble through understanding, instruction and some chastisement allows them to become strong, blessed of heaven and forever learning and progressing.

There is a reason for everything. Though we may not always know why things happen the way they do, we can have faith that the Lord knows why things happen as they do. Because everything happens for a reason, we may know even in uncertain times that all things will give us experience and be for our good (D&C 122:8). As Joseph Smith, if we will remain humble, the Lord will use our circumstances to make us strong, blessed of heaven and able to learn and progress forever (Ether 12:27).

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