Quandary of decision

September 27, 2009

How does one determine the will of the Lord for one’s life? How does one know what circumstances in life are caused by one’s own bad decisions and which are simply “meant to be”?

The simple (or simplistic) answer to these questions? Revelation and faith.

But what does that really mean in practice?

I had the idea today that the ability to accept simultaneously the will of the Lord and the trials I’m going through would be a great accomplishment of faith. It would require a recognition of the goals I have for myself and those which the Lord has for me. But at the same time, it requires patience in faith while enduring circumstances and trials that make it temporarily impossible for me to reach those goals.

For example (and this is a situation in which many at BYU find themselves), suppose you have an understanding that the Lord expects you to get married and raise a family. That is a worthy goal, which you have accepted for yourself. But at the same time you don’t seem to find anyone around you with whom you’d want to build a relationship that would eventually lead to such an end.

This is where the quandary of decision comes to play. You have to look very carefully at your life and try to determine which circumstances are caused by your own decisions and which are the result of a test the Lord wishes you to pass first. Can you not find anyone you’d like to date simply because you don’t go out and date, or is it because the Lord wants you to wait for something else in life, some new phase or some other change?

If you can come up with an answer to that, you’ve probably come quite close to your solution. But life’s problems so often elude such clear-cut explanation.

At this stage, you must learn to exercise faith in the Lord: faith that His promises will be fulfilled, as long as you prove faithful to His desires. And faith without works is dead (James 2:20). That means you’ve got to do something about it. You can’t sit still and expect something to happen.

A few passages of scripture may be beneficial. The first is one of my favorites:

For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee.
Isaiah 54:10 (cf. 3 Nephi 22:10)

The Lord has no intention of forsaking us in all our trials. Indeed, He stands there ready to help us when we call on Him.

And I will wait upon the Lord, that hideth his face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for him.
Isaiah 8:17

The term waiting on the Lord implies not idle, dormant waiting but active, trusting anticipation–faith that the Lord will fulfill His promises in His own time.

The well-known declaration of the Lord to Joseph Smith adequately summarizes this type of faith:

My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;

And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.
Doctrine and Covenants 121:708


Return to Virtue

September 13, 2009

Just listened to a wonderful talk by Sister Elaine S. Dalton, General President of the Young Women’s organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was held at the Marriott Center on BYU campus.

The theme of her talk was “a return to virtue”–the idea that we as youth of this “marked generation” can make a difference in the world.

Mormon writes in the Book of Mormon about how the society of his day had become so degenerate that they had devalued one of humankind’s most valuable possessions: virtue (Moro. 9:9-10). Sister Dalton suggested that our world today has also descended to this degenerate level.

Who will make the difference? If it’s not us, it will be no one. It won’t be easy, but we can have the Lord’s promise, as the Brother of Jared had it: “I prepare you against these things” (Ether 2:25). In order to do that, we need to be virtuous ourselves. Sister Dalton used the example of running a marathon the wrong direction. Once you realize you’re going the wrong way, you want to turn around as quickly as possible. If you don’t, you’re losing valuable time and energy running on a course that, no matter how far you follow it, will never get you successfully to the finish line. The same applies to repentance in our lives. The sooner we turn around, the better off we will be. And continuing in sin will never lead us to the finish line we want to reach.

What are your thoughts? What is expected of us as Latter-day Saints, as the bearers of light to the world?

Following the BYU football game on Twitter

September 12, 2009

Here’s an interesting phenomenon for you. I was never so much into watching football games. But as I was reading through posts on TweetDeck (I just recently started using Twitter), I read this tweet by Phil Windley:

RT @gardenglen: for those who do not have the BYU v. Tulane game on … BYU 34 Tulane 3 end 3rd quarter #BYU #MWC


34-3?!? That was so astonishing I had to search it out. I clicked on the #BYU link, which opened a separate search panel in TweetDeck. This pulled up all the recent tweets containing that hashtag. Most of those had score or play updates.

So, what do I do with this new-found tenchnological fascination? Follow the football game by listening to what people say about it.

UPDATE: Just a few minutes ago, voler tweeted this:

#BYU Rally event page… http://bit.ly/BYURally. Within minutes 1,155 invited. 🙂 Bring it, BYU!

A Facebook event was created for the rally at the airport tonight at 9:00 pm to welcome home the triumphant Cougars. And within minutes the word got around to over 1,000 people!

Information travels quickly with Twitter and Facebook, eh?

Delightful stories

September 8, 2009

If you’re in for a good read, I’d recommend these two stories I just discovered (via Google Reader!):

Chick-Fil-A Labor Day Giveaway: FAIL! – The humorous story of Dr. K’s adventures with a failed Chic-Fil-A Labor Day giveaway promotion.

I Spy – I have no idea if this is a true story or just fiction, but I found it a delightful and engaging read. (This one was on a friend’s “share” list in Google Reader–I would have never found it without that handy feature.)

Rude awakening

September 5, 2009

A friend and I went to the Provo Temple tonight. We left that quiet, peaceful place about 9:00 pm. As we were walking down the busy street to get back home, countless cars were driving past, honking their horns and screaming (at us, I presumed). Having been a missionary, I was accustomed to having people yell at me, an awkward boy in a white shirt and tie with a black badge on my chest. You stick out in a crowd. So based on that previous experience, I was not fazed by the people screaming at the these two boys walking down the dark road wearing church clothes on a Saturday night. I thought sarcastically to myself, “Wow, these people sure are mature.”

At about this point I recalled that there had been a BYU football game earlier in the evening. It had started about 5:00 pm, and could logically have ended not too long ago. I looked at my cell phone and read a half-hour-old message from a family member joyfully informing me that we had beaten OU 14-13. My friend and I finally put two and two together and deduced that this raucous celebration was staged in honor of our football team’s victory.

Now. This was all certainly not in my taste. But of course, I give these college students their liberties to celebrate as they wish. I have good reason to believe these students are not drunk, so they won’t hit me with their cars, try as they may to bombard me with their horns and shouts. As long as I can go on with my life as normal.

But now imagine a different someone. This person knows (and cares) little about college football. She has never experienced a drive-by honking before, let alone one after an obscure victory which seems so insignificant to her and yet so important to everyone else. How jarring and unsettling is such an experience for such a someone? What an odd culture we have! Driving about the city for hours honking your horn because your favorite team has won a game. How futile it all seems!

On the other hand, word has it that resistance is futile. Perhaps we shall just let the world run its merry course….