When I talk about personal trials, I don’t want to give you the impression that I think I am somehow the victim of circumstances or of anyone else. I don’t believe that.
I believe I am the victim of my own choices. As Thomas S. Monson has said, “You are what you choose.” So what I once thought—or claimed—was fortune, luck or chance, I now see as the result of laws being obeyed or disobeyed, ignorantly or knowingly.
It is my ignorant disobedience that gives me cause to mourn. I have only one real problem in this life, and he makes me pretty uncomfortable when he stares back from the mirror at me.
“There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—and when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.” (D&C 130:20,21.)
There are laws I just don’t understand. There are laws that I should be obeying that I am not obeying because I don’t understand them yet. I am playing hide and seek with God.
“Behind every commandment is a promise of a blessing.” -Unknown
I am putting forth my very best efforts, and always trying to better my best, and the answers don’t come. Long years of yearning, trying, repenting, trying again, the temptation to just stop in my tracks, and no answer except a still, small voice, crying as it were from the wilderness. “Mike, don’t give up. Don’t give in. Never give up. Keep going.”
“Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” (Joshua 1:9.)
That is certainly true. I feel His presence. I hear His voice clearly. I am certainly very happy, even if my hands are empty.
“Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him…” (Job 13:15.)
Oh God, where art thou?
“I am right here.”
But why can’t I see You?
“Because you have not opened your eyes. I am your strength and I am your trial and ‘I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction‘ (Isaiah 48:10).”
If not for the lessons I have to learn, what is the purpose of life, anyway?