Saturday, February 14, 2015

the type in the wilderness

The type in the wilderness. Image here.

1 Nephi 17:41
41 And he did straiten them in the wilderness with his rod; for they hardened their hearts, even as ye have; and the Lord straitened them because of their iniquity. He sent fiery flying serpents among them; and after they were bitten he prepared a way that they might be healed; and the labor which they had to perform was to look; and because of the simpleness of the way, or the easiness of it, there were many who perished.

Alma 33:18-21
18 But behold, this is not all; these are not the only ones who have spoken concerning the Son of God.
19 Behold, he was spoken of by Moses; yea, and behold a type was raised up in the wilderness, that whosoever would look upon it might live. And many did look and live.
20 But few understood the meaning of those things, and this because of the hardness of their hearts. But there were many who were so hardened that they would not look, therefore they perished. Now the reason they would not look is because they did not believe that it would heal them.
21 O my brethren, if ye could be healed by merely casting about your eyes that ye might be healed, would ye not behold quickly, or would ye rather harden your hearts in unbelief, and be slothful, that ye would not cast about your eyes, that ye might perish?

Sometimes one of the trials we face is having to be open-minded. Sometimes the things God puts in our paths seem too easy to be true. Or too "crazy," too off-the-wall.

If the prophet showed up at your house and said your family would be healed of all illnesses and never get sick again if they just looked at a special stick, would you believe him? Would you look?

Yes! you might say. It's the prophet! Of course I would look if the prophet showed up on my doorstep!

But of course God knows that. And the prophet is busy. Sometimes God sends us quieter answers to see if we're listening.

Like the person with mental illness who just so happens to discover that someone she knows practices RET.

Or the person with chronic infections whose friend tells her about essential oils.

Or the person struggling with addiction who is put in the path of a Kundalini Yoga and Meditation teacher.

Sometimes God orchestrates it so our paths converge with people who have very specific skill sets--skill sets that for all we know were pre-designed to help us specifically. When that happens, it's up to us to recognize them and be open to them.

Moses and the rod. Image from an
article on the bronze snake
and the caduceus
In a lot of ways I feel like my life has been abnormally blessed. I have an incredible family. We had a hard life because we did not have a lot of money and we did have a super disabled brother, but we had the Gospel. My college years were a dream. I found my husband at 19 and married him at 20. I have beautiful and obedient children. I am happy and my health is good--even though ten years ago I was not as happy and my health was not very good. On occasion things show up that put a wrench in things, but they never last for long. A lot of times I've looked at my life and wondered: why is it that my life can be awesome, and so many people I know have lives that just aren't? Why is that fair?

I used to feel guilty about it, but now I don't. I feel that the secret lies in those scriptures I quoted at the beginning of this post. Having an awesome life comes down to being open to things that are uncomfortable, or even that contradict your current paradigm--and following the Spirit to determine which things are true and which things are false. It comes from a willingness to rigorously examine ideas, even ideas that seem counterintuitive or flat-out wrong at first, and trust the Spirit to lead even if it leads you to something you wouldn't have picked for yourself.

In the case of the Hebrews following Moses, God afflicted them with afflictions and gave them the promise that if they would just look up they would heal and be fine.

Many of them chose to die rather than just look up.

It's easy to judge them for that, but I feel I see that same attitude replicated today, over and over again.

It's the attitude of the person willing to try "anything" to lose weight... as long as "anything" is just pills and never involves any meaningful dietary change or shift in exercise regimen.

It's the attitude of the addict who will do "anything" to recover... except go to 12-step meetings or take up Kundalini Meditation for Addiction Recovery.

It's the attitude of the girl who will do "anything" to get married... except take care of her body, put on some makeup, or go meet people.

It's the attitude of the depressed person who will try "anything" to be happy... except meet with the missionaries, try an essential oil, or go to an energy worker.

People are willing to try "anything," as long as it fits in with their pre-conceived notions of what "anything" entails.

Have you met anyone with these attitudes? Are you a person with these attitudes?

I feel like the great secret to success in my life has been a willingness to do things that didn't make sense, a willingness to entertain ideas that I didn't like, and an openness to being led by the Spirit even when it didn't make sense.

Let's face it: a lot of answers don't make sense. If you're reading this blog it's probably because you were led here by things that maybe a few years or months or weeks or days ago, you would have assumed were crazy. Sometimes the answers God puts in our laps are crazy.

Jesus heals the man born blind. Image here.
And yet, sometimes out of crazy, miracles happen.

Like when Jesus spat on some clay and used it to heal the blind.

Or told a man to bathe in a river and be healed.

Has God been giving you an answer that seems crazy? Has He been telling you to look at the "type in the wilderness," that you might "look and live?" What does that mean for you?

How many weird things are you willing to look at with the Holy Ghost in order to find an answer?

How hard are you willing to work for a solution?

How far are you willing to go to get the blessing that you want?

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