Saturday, September 1, 2012

Paradise, Peace, and other Miracles...

In case you don’t know, I have done a lot of grieving over the tragic departure of a dear friend who became a sort of adopted brother to me when we were just kids, so it really hurts. I knew Jason was severely depressed and in pain when he left this life. That hurt the most… knowing how much he was hurting. Though I tried and tried to overcome grief and console myself, it was a constant struggle. The spirit spoke peace to my heart so many times, and yet, I would idly remember his pain, and I would hurt again, as if he were still hurting – though he is not. Three days ago I thought my mind was done wondering down idle roads. It wasn't  The next day, just before heading off to the Family Research Center (FRC), I sobbed again and prayed for the Lord to give me peace. I can tell you again, the lord answers prayers in mysterious ways!

Prayer is a small means that opens doors.
Many times when prayers are answered, a lot of people note the events as "coincidences." But I believe many small and wonderful experiences that open doors to answered prayers are not lucky coincidences; they are very small miracles that the lord and his angels perform in our behalf. I believe in this scripture: 

"Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise. 

"And the Lord God doth work by means to bring about his great and eternal purposes; and by very small means the lord doth confound the wise and bringeth about the salvation of many souls."   Alma 37:6-7

The Lord can change all kinds of things to bring about his purposes, and one of his purposes is to help us to be happy – if we will let Him…

That day in which I cried and prayed before going to the Family Research Center, I was blessed to recognize the lords small means (miracles) in my life. I thought I would be working at the (FRC) until around 8:30 or so (with monthly staff meeting following my normal shift). 

The missionaries were teaching a teen boy the gospel in my home and were scheduled to come at 5 PM even though I would be at the FRC (my husband and kids would be home). As it turned out, that particular FRC meeting was to be an annual potluck at the director’s house. And for the first time since I have worked there, the FRC was closed early, at 5:00, so everyone could leave the FRC early to get ready and go to the potluck at 6 PM (miracle #1 - in which the lord inspired the FRC Director do things a little differently this year so my shift could end early and I could go home before the potluck - and this good woman heeded the inspiration :). I was thrilled! I would go home for the discussion with the missionaries, and then go to the potluck at what ever time I got there. 

My car wouldn't start when I left to go to the FRC, so I biked, which meant I would be late for the discussion, but I would still be three for part of it (miracle #2 - I got the exercise the lord knew I needed to help me psychologically and emotionally but would not have gotten if my battery worked)!

When I arrived home, the living room was filled with family and teen friends, all sitting with scriptures in hand listening intently to the missionaries teach about the Plan of Salvation. I didn't know it at the time, but the Missionaries had just told about where we came from before we were born, why we were here on Earth, and had just gotten to the part where they would tell what happens to our spirits when our bodies die (miracle #3 - I got there just on time for the part of the discussion that the lord knew I needed to be reminded of). 

I entered the room, and the spirit immediately rested upon me (miracle #4 - the lord blessed me to know that what was being said was true by speaking peace to my heart and mind). 

And upon grabbing my scriptures and sitting down to join the rest of the group, a missionary read a scripture that was so comforting, it seemed as if it were shared, just for me (miracle #5 - it wasn't just for our teen friend; it was for me too, and the lord made it possible for me to be there before it was read)… This is the scripture he read:

“Now Concerning the state of the soul between death and the resurrection – Behold, it has been made known unto me by an angel, that the spirits of all men, as soon as they are departed from this mortal body, yea, the spirits of all men, whether they be good or evil, are taken home to that God who gave them life.

“And then it shall come to pass, that the spirits of those who are righteous are received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise, a state of rest, a state of peace, where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care, and sorrow.”
Alma 40:11-12

Miracle #6 - I must have read and heard those scriptures a hundred times before. But never did they mean to me what it came to mean as I applied that scripture to my friend’s life. Everything the lord whispered to my heart about Jason being "so happy" was reinforced by that scripture and by the spirit confirming to my heart and mind that it was true. Right now, Jason is in Paradise, resting from all his troubles, cares, and sorrows. He is in a state of happiness. And, I believe Jason is probably also helping Christ, by doing what he does best – Teaching... :D

All of this is brought to pass because of miracle #7 - which is no small miracle - and that is the miracle of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I am SO THANKFUL for our Savior's loving sacrifice!

PS. Though I know there will still be moments of somber peaceful thoughts for many years to come - Knowing that Jason is happy, makes me happy… :D I know the Atonement is there to provide not only forgiveness of sins, but also rest from our sorrows. The lord knows our hearts, and he knows of our righteous desires. He is merciful and loving. And He is there for us all - to lift, to love, to forgive, and to heal - if we will put our trust in Him and let Him take the helm. Nothing is impossible for the lord! 

I hope you have an awesome and happy day!
Corine :D 

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