Wednesday, October 19, 2011

On Trial

Have I mentioned, and you know that I have, that I don't understand why my life is so good? I mean, aside from being old and fat and creaky, my life is really good. Sure, I'd like to be rich and semi-famous, thinner, more gorgeous and with a mind like a steel trap, as I was when this picture was taken. Oh, yes, and with the best selling novel in the bag.

Other than those superficial things, there is very little I would change about my life. Ronald darling and I are getting older, but then, so are you! But we had a head start, so we are getting closer, in 30 or 40 years, to the end. But, I look at other people's trials that are so difficult, and wonder why my life does not seem to be a trial. I have friends with grave health problems, without work for months, dealing with deaths in their families, with wayward children and sin.

And I don't have major issues. I'm not going to confess my sins; I have them, but I'm working on them. We could be healthier, but we are working on that as well. So why don't we have major trials? Not that I want them, mind you. I just keep asking, "Why not me?"

Maybe the Lord won't give me huge problems because he knows I couldn't handle them - or because I could so I don't need them. Maybe I'm so good that I deserve a care-free life. Yeah, right! Or maybe I have trials, but I'm coping with them so well that I don't realize that they are there. Possibly the Lord is helping me carry them, so that I don't feel the weight.

So what is the purpose of trials? To strengthen us, to teach us and to encourage us to lean on the Lord. I found this poem that gives some insight. It's written from the perspective of a man, in the 19th century, trying to decide why he had been born black, when his race was a trial. It is from a play called I Am Jane, written about early members of the LDS church.

"I feel, Sister Jane, that ours is:
Not a curse but a gift t'us,
The best path we could seek
A place where God can lift us
We kneel; our knees is weak

And when one of us is kneelin',
We understand his fears.
We know what all us is feelin'
We cry each other's tears.

That's just what Jesus done
For all us human folk.
He agreed to come get born
To feel ev'ry pain and poke.

So's he could understand us,
What it is to be a slave.
So's he could get beneath us
And push us outa the grave

Would you rather be the massa
or the Roman with his whip?
Would you rather nail the Savior-
Put vinegar to his lip?

Or learn the lessons of sufferin'-
How we nothin' without grace.
Jesus, he give us a callin'
He gifted us our race."

The Lord has gifted us all our trials, even the ones that we don't recognize as trials. And they are blessings, even though they may not feel like blessings.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Who Leads the Lambs Away?

Isn't it strange, I've had this poem since last May. It was used in a Relief Society lesson by my visiting teacher. I was so struck by it, that I asked her to get me a copy. It was from a talk given by Elder Banks in 1999. It's interesting that you can hear something over and over, and then at some point you get that Ah-Ha moment. So this scripture, Matthew 18:1-13 inspired this poem by C C Miller.

Twas a sheep not a lamb that strayed away
In the parable Jesus told,
A grown-up sheep that strayed away
From the ninety and nine in the fold.

And why for the sheep should we seek
And earnestly hope and pray?
Because there is danger when sheep go wrong;
They lead the lambs astray.

Lambs will follow the sheep, you know,
Wherever the sheep may stray.
When sheep go wrong, it won't take long
Til the lambs are as wrong as they.

And so with the sheep we earnestly plead
For the sake of the lambs today,
For when sheep are lost, what a terrible cost
The lambs will have to pay.