Life is full of disappointments. There's not much we can do to change that. But there is something that can help us say, "Heavenly Father, I would really like this to happen, but if not...then I will have FAITH in Thy plan for me.
THE FIERY FURNACE OF FAITH
"[Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego] knew that they could trust God--even if things didn't turn out the way they hoped. They knew that faith is more than mental assent, more than an acknowledgment that God lives. Faith is total trust in Him.
We will all be faced with fiery furnaces of faith in our lives--times in which we will have to reach deep down in our hearts and find the courage to say, "I was expecting things to happen this way or that way, but if not I will accept whatever Thy will is for me."
EASIER SAID THAN DONE
Even though we have plenty examples in the scriptures of men and women who exhibit the faith that it takes to be able to say, "but it not", it still doesn't make it easy to do when those moments arise in our lives.
"Our God will deliver us from ridicule and persecution, but if not. ...Our Go will deliver us from sickness and disease, but if not....He will deliver us from loneliness, depression, or fear, but if not. ...Our God will deliver us from threats, accusations, and insecurity, but if not. ...He will deliver us from death or impairment of loved ones, but if not, ...we will trust in the Lord. ...We will have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, knowing that if we do all we can do, we will in His time and in His way, be delivered and receive all that He has" (Simmons).
Saying "but if not" is hard when I can't fully see the beautiful plan that God has in store for me. For someone who is a control freak/planner like myself, exercising faith in that plan is extremely difficult. But I have done it and will continue to do it because I know that God's plan is the better plan, hands down.
Simmons, Dennis E., "But If Not...", Ensign, May 2004.
I love the painting "Witness for His Name" by Doc Christensen. It portrays two sister missionaries as they are getting ready for their day. The thing I love about it is that they are not scrolling through their social media accounts or watching something on TV (how many days do I begin the day that way? Too many to admit...) They are putting on their armor...the armor that will get them through any challenge that comes their way that day or any other day.
In Ephesians 6, the Apostle Paul gives us a beautiful description of this protective armor:
13- Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
I love this adorable graphic from the Church's magazine for children, The Friend. I think it offers the perfect summary of what Paul is describing in the scriptures, but I would like to share a few tips of my own to help you (and me) armor up, baby.
PUTTING ON YOUR ARMOR
Loins girt about with truth:
"A girdle is a belt that helps protect a soldier's body. Knowing what is true protects us..." Where do we go to discover truth? The scriptures, teachings of the prophets and apostles, talking to our parents, church leaders, and seminary teachers. These are all divine sources of truth, but the BEST source of truth is the Holy Ghost. As it says in Moroni 10:5, "...by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things."
Breastplate of Righteousness:
"The breastplate protects the heart. When we love God with all our heart, we try to keep His commandments." Why is it important to protect our heart? (Not our literal heart, of course we want to protect that or we would umm....die....) This is talking about our "a symbol of [our] mind and will and the figurative source of all emotions and feelings" (Guide to the Scriptures).
Feed Shod with Preparation of the Gospel of Peace
"Shoes protect our feet. We try to follow Jesus Christ's footsteps so we can live with Him someday." Following the Savior's footsteps can be tough. He has some big shoes to fill, doesn't He? But here's the best part...He hasn't asked us to fill His shoes. He has only asked us to "Come, Follow Me."
Shield of Faith
"Faith in Jesus Christ protects us like a shield. When we believe in Jesus and try to be like Him, we can make good choices, even when things are hard." I love that Paul tells us in Ephesians that "above all, taking the shield of faith...[will help us] quench all the fiery darts of the wicked" (Ephesians 6:16). Can you hear the sizzle of all those fiery darts being quenched by you?? You have the power to do that as you exercise faith in Christ!
The Helmet of Salvation
"A helmet protects the head. We keep our minds safe when we follow Jesus..." You know what doesn't keep our minds safe? Things we sometimes see on the Internet or social media. We have to be so careful when scrolling or searching. There are beautiful, inspiring things to be found, but don't let that be your excuse to scroll. Just like you don't want to physically put yourself in situations where the Holy Ghost cannot be with you, don't scroll to places He can't be either.
Sword of the Spirit
"A sword helps fight against wrong. The Spirit helps us when we face bad or hard things. Listening to the Spirit helps us stay safe." Who doesn't want to carry a sword around? How cool is that? Once again we are talking about taking the Holy Ghost with us wherever we go so He can help us know when a situation is unsafe.
LADIES...YOU KNOW WHAT I'M GOING TO SAY NEXT, DON'T YOU?
YOU ARE A beautiful daughter of Heavenly Parents who LOVE YOU SO MUCH!! They want you to know that YOU CAN DO HARD THINGS! Trust in your divinity as a child of a Heavenly King and Queen. Have faith in your selfless, amazing older brother who KNOWS WHO YOU ARE and knows how to help you overcome ANYTHING.
Now, let's go do this together, shall we? It's time to armor up, baby. Make today a day where Satan says, "Oh man! I hate it when she wakes up! She ruins all my best plans."
I am loving my second chance at life.
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