Wednesday, February 3, 2010

human suffering

Last night my family and i were talking for a bit about why bad things happen in the world. specifically why innocent and good people suffer. Today while i was doing my reading for my institute class I came upon this:

"For the Lord suffereth the righteous to be slain that his justice and judgment may come upon the wicked; therefor ye need not suppose that the righteous are lost because they are slain but behold they do enter into the rest of the Lord their God" (Alma 60:13)

This breaks down into two parts -- the first being that God allows bad things to happen to good people so that "justice and judgement" will come upon those who chose to cause those bad things. This connects to another story in Alma where a prophet who had the power to save some innocent people from death said that "The spirit constraineth me that I must not stretch forth mine hand" because God was allowing this to happen for a reason -- allowing the wicked to harm the righteous, "that the judgements which he shall exercise upon them in his wrath may be just; and the blood of the innocent shall stand as a witness against them, yea, and cry mightily against them at the last day' (Alma 14:11). 

Of course, this doesn't seem like enough... to think that so many have to suffer because of evil people JUST so that justice can be fulfilled. But that's where that second part comes in -- that the righteous are not lost nor are they necessarily in a bad place because they suffer and/or die. In D&C 42:47 it says that for those that die in God, death "shall be sweet unto them" -- why? because of John 11:26 where Christ says that whomever "believeth in me shall never die" -- i.e. victory over death comes through Christ (1 Corin.  15:53-57)

We see suffering and death in such a negative light -- but if you start to try to see them as God does... then that changes. Because death is only unfortunate for those who haven't repented and tried to serve the Lord -- for those that HAVE, it is just a happy stepping stone into a new sphere of existence. And any suffering here, even a lifetime of it, in comparison with the eternity that comes after earth life, is such a SMALL moment ---- and as we've been told over and over again "all these things shall give [us] experience, and shall be for [our] good (D&C 122:7) because that is part of the purpose of life. to have experiences in suffering. some have MUCH MORE suffering than others, but if you believe and trust in God... if you have faith that He knows best... then you learn to accept in that faith that He has a reason for the differing amounts of suffering we all experience and that for enduring it well, we will be blessed. 

Anyways, there's a LOT more to this. For a more complete (and better written) treatment of this topic, read Truman Madsen's essay "Human Anguish and Divine Love"

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