We have been in a snowy mess here in Eugene, Oregon! A few days ago the snow started and we were wisely instructed to park our cars to avoid any accidents. The first day we were walking in a few inches of snow and it was a pretty pleasant experience. My companion, Sister Peterson, and I enjoyed tromping through the beautiful white landscape and talking to people. The snow continued on through the day and night and so the next morning when we woke up there was a few more inches added to the heap. Once again we walked and walked through the fluff and passed out mormon.org cards while talking with anybody who would listen. The next day it rained and rained and there was thick slush and deep, icy puddles at every intersection.
I will just say my joy and pleasure at tromping through the snow had ceased.
As I was wallowing in my deep self-pity, I couldn't help but remember that I had an ancestor who had trekked across the plains for thousands of miles in a handcart company. Towards the end of the difficult journey they got caught in an early, very severe winter. There were many people who died and others had cracked and sore feet that left a bloody trail across the snow.
|Click here to check out more on Elizabeth Xavier|
In that moment I couldn't even begin to fathom the hardships and the trials that came to those early saints.
It is amazing what a little bit of perspective can do!
I am grateful for the much needed perspective of the Plan of Salvation outlined by our loving Heavenly Father. I know that there is a purpose for our trials, struggles, pains, and heartaches. All of these experiences can be used to help us learn and grow and progress toward our ultimate goal: becoming more like our Savior, Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father. Only when we are as they are can we return to their presence.
I have found in my own life that I need the adversity and tribulations. I am never humble enough without them to recognize that I desperately need my Heavenly Father's help. I am so grateful to know that He does not leave us alone, and that in fact, the ultimate expression of His love was giving us His only begotten Son so that through the great sacrifice of Jesus Christ each of us could be reconciled to our Heavenly Father as long as we truly desire it enough to follow Him.
I love this quote by one of the members of the handcart company that got caught in the awful storm.
"We suffered beyond anything you can imagine and many died of exposure and starvation, but did you ever hear a survivor of that company offer a word of criticism?...We came through with the absolute knowledge that God lives for we became acquainted with him in our extremities.
"I have pulled my handcart when I was so weak and weary from illness and lack of food that I could hardly put one foot ahead of the other. I have looked ahead and seen a patch of sand or a hill slope and have said, I can go only that far and there I must give up for I cannot pull the load through it...I have gone onto that sand and when I reached it, the cart began pushing me. I have looked back many times to see who was pushing my cart, but my eyes saw no one. I knew that the angels of God were there.
"Was I sorry that I chose to come by handcart? No. Neither then nor any minute of my life since. The price we paid to become acquainted with God was a privilege to pay." -William Palmer
I know that if, in our most difficult moments, we will turn to the Savior and our Heavenly Father we can become "acquainted with them in our extremities." It seems to me that we would be wise to pay any price to become so.
By pressing forward hopefully, we can, repeatedly and joyfully, stand on what was yesterday’s distant horizon, thereby drawing even further hope from our very own experiences. Hence Paul described how “tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope” (Rom. 5:3–4). -Neal A. Maxwell