A witness from God can be relied upon. As you read our thoughts, beliefs, and experiences, we invite you to obtain a witness for yourself. If something we say or imply does not ring true, then you should feel no obligation to accept it. Life is an individual and unique journey with God. Although we can help and encourage each other, we need to be careful not to come between God and another person.


Friday, June 1, 2012

Opposition Strengthens the Soul

A man found a cocoon of an emperor moth. He took it home so that he could watch the moth come out of the cocoon. On that day a small opening appeared, he sat and watched the moth for several hours as the moth struggled to force the body through that little hole. Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could and it could go no farther. It just seemed to be stuck.

Then the man, in his kindness, decided to help the moth, so he took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The moth then emerged easily. But it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. The man continued to watch the moth because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time. Neither happened! In fact, the little moth spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly.

What the man in his kindness and haste did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the moth to get through the tiny opening was the way of forcing fluid from the body of the moth into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon. Freedom and flight would only come after the struggle. By depriving the moth of a struggle, he deprived the moth of health.

We are like a moth emerging from a cocoon. As we are met with resistance on every side, we are fortified and strengthened. Our struggles are calculated to become some of our greatest blessings. This challenging obstacle course is exactly what we need. My journey is custom-made for me. Your experience will be different than mine and specifically made for you. If we were to go through life without any impediments, difficulties, or complications, we would remain crippled and sick.

“If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small.” Proverbs 24:10 “For, behold, I have refined thee, I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.” 1 Nephi 20:10 As we exercise our faith, our spiritual strength grows. If we fail to resist the opposing force, our muscles atrophy, and our strength stays small. On the other hand, a furious fire of opposition can refine, purge, and purify the soul and prepare us to receive great power.

Obstacles present an opportunity to improve our condition. Every situation offers greater knowledge and understanding. Each set of opposing circumstances provides opportunities to expand awareness, improve discernment, and gain experience. Opposition presents the chance to gain an expanded perspective. We should note, however, our point of view here on earth is not the same view God has in heaven. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9

Sometimes we may perceive, for one reason or another, our trials, tribulations, and general opposition are a waste of time, useless, and should be immediately dispelled; but God sees it differently. He has experienced opposition in all things, fully understands it, and knows the value of it. “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;” Hebrews 5:8

Opposition is essential for our growth, development, and progression. “For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my first-born in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad.” 2 Nephi 2:11

To appreciate the sweet, we must taste the bitter. To value and understood life, we experience death. To know happiness, we experience misery. Righteousness, beauty, and glory, come after we confront wickedness, ugliness, and damnation. The growth and new life of spring appear after the death of winter. The amount of order, light, and knowledge we obtain is received in direct proportion to the opposing chaos, darkness, and ignorance we overcome. To comprehend the light of a perfect day D&C 50:24, we must see and understand the darkest night.

To see God, we must confront Satan, the father of lies, who was cast out of heaven for rebellion. Lucifer, the fallen angel, is seeking our destruction and stands between God and us. D&C 76:25-29 The vision of the Celestial Kingdom D&C 76:50-70 was opened after viewing the repulsive terror of outer darkness. D&C 76:43-48 Darkness comes before the light JSH 1:15-17. The obstacles the adversary throws in our path are the very stepping-stones we need to reach up to God.

Joseph Smith said, “Thy mind, O man! if thou wilt lead a soul unto salvation, must stretch as high as the utmost heavens, and search into and contemplate the darkest abyss, and the broad expanse of eternity --  thou must commune with God.” TPJS, Page 137 

If we want to commune with heaven, comprehend the eternities, and claim eternal life, we must also contemplate the darkest abyss.  Do we understand that to receive the Second Comforter, we have to face and the Adversary?

After Moses had spoken to God face to face, he again dealt with Satan, “I can judge between him and thee. Depart hence, Satan. And now, when Moses had said these words, Satan cried with a loud voice, and ranted upon the earth, and commanded, saying: I am the Only Begotten, worship me.” It was after this confrontation that Moses heard the voice of God, saying: “Blessed art thou, Moses, for I, the Almighty, have chosen thee.” We must be able to discern between the deceiving imposter and the true and living God. We must continue to call upon God in the name of His Only Begotten and worship Him. In spite of exceeding fear and seeing the bitterness of hell, we must command Satan to depart hence, in the name of the Only Begotten. Moses1:18-25 

“. . . it must needs be that there was an opposition; even the forbidden fruit in opposition to the tree of life; the one being sweet and the other bitter.” 2 Nephi 2:15

Opposition in all things is required in God’s plan of salvation. To ascend, rise, and be redeemed; we must first, descend, go down, and fall. Jesus has experienced it all. There is reason and purpose behind His willingness to descend and then ascend. “He that ascended up on high, as also he descended below all things, in that he comprehended all things, that he might be in all and through all things, the light of truth;” D&C 88:6

He knows what He is talking about, comprehends all things, and is a perfect example and prototype of salvation. He is my Savior, and “there shall be no other name given nor any other way nor means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent.” Mosiah 3:17

Without experiencing opposing forces, conflicting energies, confrontations, and wrestles in our lives, we would likely be crawling around with swollen bodies and shriveled wings like the moth. Without Jesus Christ, our Redeemer, we would be unable to take flight, fail to soar, and remain powerless to claim “eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God.” D&C 14:7

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