by Amber Rothamer
Blessings Come According to God’s Timing and Our Diligence
Sanctification. Diligence. Miracles.
Sometimes the standard practices of the world become so commonplace that as a global society we often fail to alter our ways of thinking to produce a more desirable outcome or feeling. Yes indeed, one of the truths taught in Doctrine and Covenants 58 is that peace can be found during mankind’s times of trial and struggle both on individual and global scales. However, often what happens when we discuss such truths is we allow ourselves to hyper focus on the trials instead of adjusting that focus to that of envisioning the blessing so long as we are preparing ourselves for the miracle we seek. Might we consider instead: adding upon that truth by acknowledging our very real ability to act with diligence so as to be better aligned with God’s timing for the blessings and miracles we would prefer to have on a regular basis.
To sanctify is to set apart for a special use or purpose. We can set our hearts and minds apart from the limited and often negative scope the world has programmed us to have in times of struggle. Rather than dwelling on the various scenarios of adversity we may have or others we know have suffered, or are still yet wrestling with, perhaps a paradigm shift can help further confirm the truths found in these verses of scripture. In fact, many spiritual teachers both within and outside christianity emphasize that it is impossible to feel good and at the same time be having negative thoughts.
Why is this such a vitally important concept to understand and alter our practice of? Because as heirs to the kingdom of God, we have the power to change anything, but we are like children and need to learn to harness that power and keep it aligned with the will of the Father so that we can create our own universe as we go along and create a universe that brings us joy and peace.
It all starts with love. We are taught that it is the greatest commandment; to love God first and then to love others like unto ourselves. When you feel love for these, you will bring goodness into your life. There is no greater power than the power of love. Love transforms lives. When you think thoughts of love you receive the benefits of that power. Now that our minds are equipped to envision a better future, a blueprint of our desired righteous blessings and miracles, we can focus on the diligent actions further required.
Diligence, one of the seven heavenly virtues, is having or emitting great care in one’s work or duties. Many religious creeds place emphasis on this virtue or character quality. From a christian perspective, diligence is an effort to do our part while keeping faith and reliance in God. To be diligent, we act in thorough completeness, and maintain persistence in our acts of faith.
In a revelation given to the prophet, Joseph Smith, in 1831, the Lord speaks of promised blessings to all those who keep His commandments; that the blessings He outlines in sections 58 and 59 will be given to us, whether in mortality or in the hereafter. So long as we prove faithful in tribulation, the reward is great. I’d like to point out that faithfulness in times of trial does not mean never questioning doctrine or living perfectly, because such a capacity is unobtainable in our imperfect mortal state. But it means rather to be faithful to our covenants with as much diligence that we have and that same diligence also be applied to our faith in the teachings of the gospel.
I like to think of the tribulation as more of a purification process. Much like that found in Malachi 3:3, where it is written that the Lord “will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver” trying our hearts until he can see a reflection of Himself in us; our hearts, minds, and souls.
Linda S. Reeves, former member of the Relief Society General Presidency once taught:
“The Lord allows us to be tried and tested, sometimes to our maximum capacity. We have seen the lives of loved ones–and maybe our own–figuratively burned to the ground and have wondered why a loving and caring Heavenly Father would allow such things to happen. But He does not leave us in the ashes; He stands with open arms, eagerly inviting us to come to Him…”
How do we exercise diligence while awaiting blessings and miracles we seek? The Lord outlines this in the following verses and into the next section…
- Repent of unbelief and blindness of heart
- Keep the Lord’s laws
- Let no man think he is ruler but let God rule
- Let no man break the laws of the land and be subject to the powers that be, until Christ comes to reign in person
- God should not command in all things
- Be anxiously engaged in a good cause and do many good things of free will
- Seek not the praise of the world
- Be sufficiently meek before God
- Bear testimony of the truth in all places
- Let all things be done in order
- Let the work be not in haste, nor by flight
- Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy might, mind, and strength
- Serve the Lord thy God in the name of Jesus Christ
- Love thy neighbor as thyself
- Thou shalt not steal
- Thou shalt not commit adultery
- Thou shalt not kill nor do anything like unto it
- Thank the Lord thy God in all things
- Offer a sacrifice of a broken heart and a contrite spirit unto the Lord thy God in righteousness
- Keep thyself unspotted from the world
- Go to the house of prayer and offer up thy sacraments upon the Sabbath day
- Offer up thy vows in righteousness on all days and at all times
- Do these commandments with thanksgiving, with cheerful hearts and countenances
- Confess God’s hand in all things
- Do the works of righteousness
These are not all of God’s commandments, no. But He outlines a vast majority of them in these sections. Throughout the scriptures, both ancient and modern we find they are filled to the brim with commandments from Heaven. These are the blueprints for perfection. The blueprints for blessings and miracles.
The trials and tribulations we experience, while sometimes brought about by our own lack of mindfulness when it comes to creating the optimal life of peace and joy, leaves us reaping the undesirable fruits that came from the seeds of negative thoughts we planted. Seeds thinking this life is hard and a struggle. On the other hand, some of life’s challenges may also be just those flames of the refining fire that we can allow to mold and shape us into beings worthy of miracles. Regardless, miracles can and do happen, we just have to be observant of them.
A miracle can be a phenomenon which seems inexplicable by nature or scientific laws. Additionally on an informal scale, the word miracle is synonymously used to describe any beneficial event which may have seemed unlikely, such as surviving a natural disaster or simply a wonderful occurrence regardless of their likelihood. Some coincidences can even be viewed as miracles and therefore blessings.
The key to receiving blessings and obtaining or witnessing miracles in our lives rests on trust. Yes, sanctification and diligence are the main ingredients, but the secret is our trust in the process. For some, this can prove to be the most challenging aspect we discuss here. Trust the God of Heaven and Earth. Trust and believe and have faith. Hold to the outcome of your righteous desires. See the outcome clearly in your mind. Believe it with all your might and everything you need will come to you, all in God’s timing.
Remember though, time is just an illusion. Quantum physics tells us that. We need only to wait on the Lord, be of good courage and He will strengthen our hearts to endure the wait until the waiting is over. For some of us, this might be easier said than done. Alter your thinking now. The wait can soon be over, and to some degree we may be able to determine the length of our trail of faith. Even Job of ancient times must have dedicated his heart and mind to visualizing the day when all of his prayers were heard and answered. The Lord has never not provided a blessing so long as hearts have been humble, penitent and righteous.
I’m not naive to the understanding that there are many in this world who are or have or will experience trials and tribulations I will never fully comprehend or understand. I also know that for some they may never see their desires come to fruition in this mortal life. I do not claim to hold the answer as to why that is. Nor do I lay claim that this formula is the only way to be blessed or see miracles. Some receive blessings without ever having asked for them or been tested and tried before obtaining them. Some may not live to what we may think is the level of righteousness or devotion that would qualify for blessings and yet still are given the opportunity for such. Regardless, I do know that “all things work together for good to them that love God” (Romans 8:28).
I humbly admit that while I do not claim to know all things, I do know that when we seek out and acknowledge the blessings all around us, especially the seemingly small and insignificant ones, we can better realize our prayers being answered. We can see our needs being anticipated, and our lives being filled with the joy and peace that can only come from a heart and mind being set apart to work at being someone who is striving to be in alignment with the will of God. When we live each day with the determination and intent to keep laws and commandments and faithfully continue in acts of obedience, we are set up for the successful receipt of blessings whether in this life or in the life to come. I know faith precedes any miracle, we need only to exercise our endurance level for yet a little while and God will always answer in His own way and in His own time.
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