Friday, July 4, 2014

FFF#25--Fighting for the life of their spouse.

I have two dear friends who currently are fighting for the lives of their spouses.  It breaks my heart to hear of their struggles.  They are amazing and strong women, yet this trial is piercing them to the very core.  One has raised her children.  They are grown adults, happy, functioning, managing their own families and lives.  The other has just begun to send hers from the nest.  She still has five who live at home.
 I am not going to pretend to know how they feel or to understand that I know what they are going through.  Both women are home full-time to manage the health of their husbands and to manage their households.  The strain that must put on the finances and the toll that must weigh on their emotions, let alone the emotional strain of watching your spouse journey along the road from whence there will be no mortal return, and knowing you will be left to manage the pieces without them, I just cannot fathom the depth of emotional sorrow and turmoil that trial would bring.

I have noticed when we all have trials, there tends to be one of two paths we take.  The trial either brings us to our knees and closer to our God, or in our anger, indifference, and lack of understanding, we turn our hearts away from Him.  Those circumstances which try our souls have one of those two results.  Which one would you choose?

Let's discuss a little bit of doctrinal principle.  We know that we have been sent here to earth, to test and to try our faith and our character, to see if when the rubber meets the road, we will truly be willing to choose the right.  Now I realize some of you may not think there is a right and a wrong, but for this discussion, let's assume that there is.  We have a Father in Heaven, who loves us, who knows what kind of a character we need to develop, who understands us perfectly and knows where our character flaws lie.  He is perfectly loving, perfectly kind, perfectly just, and always works within the eternal laws of morality (for lack of a better word, with my limited mortal understanding).  He is involved in the details of our lives, but will not infringe on our agency (our ability to choose right or wrong).  He will lead, guide, and love if we let Him.  If we will not, He respects our right to choose that and He will not force us to choose otherwise.

With His perfect love and perfect knowledge of us and our character, and His innate desire for our growth and development along certain character lines, He plans or allows to happen, certain circumstances in our lives that will give us the opportunities to choose how we will respond to those circumstances, thus revealing the character of our hearts.  Now, is He responsible for the bad things that happen in the world?  No.  He cannot be responsible for wickedness.  He can however, allow the wickedness of others to come to pass where some people or many people are harmed.  That reveals the character of the perpetrator's heart, where, when he/she has acted, that person can then be held accountable and judged and punished for their behavior (but that may not happen until after this life is over).  The victims of that wickedness, then have the opportunity to allow the suffering of their trial to bring them to God or to take them away from God.  The response to their trial is their own choice and has its attendant blessings or consequences.

But, sometimes, as in the case of my friends, very trying things happen due to no fault of their own or anyone else.  Their husband's are both fighting forms of cancer.  It is nothing they or their families have done to deserve what is happening to them.  They are doing the very best they can, with the resources they have, to manage the trial they are facing and to help their families manage the trial in their lives, because each of us will respond based on the condition of our hearts, and we are different people, at different places of development, spiritually speaking.  But each person who the trial touches, has the opportunity to choose to respond with faith or to allow the trial to damage their faith.

Now, it is important to note, that sometimes we are hurt by another person's choices who is not intending harm to us or to others around us.  Maybe they are making choices that they think are right or best based on their knowledge and understanding at the time.  We may have greater knowledge and think their choice is wrong or misguided.  We may also have less knowledge than we believe we do, because maybe they aren't telling us all of the facts, and so we are at odds with their choices even though our position may not be correct.  At these places and times, we can also choose to allow the differences to increase our faith and our relationship, or to damage it.  At these places, it is best if we respond with patience and love.  Sometimes time will tell where the truth lies.  If we understand agency and allow the other people involved in the process to exercise their agency, and we give them our counsel in love and understanding and respect their choices, even if we disagree, we can communicate to them our love and support, and still disagree with their decision.  Then, for our own peace of mind, we can pray in faith that we and they will be lead to greater understanding of the situation and people.

Back to trials that are happening due to no fault of our own, why do you think our Father in Heaven would allow such things and difficulties to happen to us?  Is it because He wants us to suffer?  Is it because He doesn't care?  Is it because we aren't significant or important or because if He loved us He would take this suffering from me or you?  No.  None of those things are true.  He perfectly understands that some learning and stretching of our characters can only come in certain and specifically tailored ways.  It is BECAUSE of His love for us that those trial are allowed to happen in our lives.  He recognizes that each of us will choose to turn to Him or to turn away from Him when such trials befall us.  But think about this:  He also already knows how we will respond to that trial.  The trial isn't for His knowledge, it is for ours.  It is our refining fire.  It purifies, if we allow it, our character and makes us more like Him.

I dearly hope that when my next trials come, that I will be able to face them with the same faith and perseverance as my friends.  They are amazing and wonderful women.  I love them and hope to be like them.

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