Sunday, September 27, 2009

Being Rescued

Today in Sunday School our discussion was on the handcart pioneers that traveled from the East to Salt Lake City to join the saints already in the valley, and more specifically, the Martin and Willey Handcart Companies. Needless to say, I was moved and touched by the accounts of their journey that were shared. I was humbled by the unconditional faith that was shown during this difficult, and what seems to me overwhelming circumstances, and their unwavering commitment to follow the call of a prophet.

Many people lost their loved ones along the journey, and many of those were mothers who lost their little ones. Little ones that were buried in frozen, shallow graves. No stone to mark their resting spot.

Perhaps this is why I sat in tears today, because in a special way I can somewhat relate to those mothers and the heartache they felt at loosing their little ones. Perhaps I sat there in tears because although I can relate to the heartache, I can't imagine the circumstances they lost them and eventually buried them in. I can't imagine lying my baby in one of those shallow graves only to leave it behind hours later, knowing I would never see that place again, and even worse that wolves would most likely find, and dig through the ground to the little body that lie below.

Those lives that were spared were eventually rescued by saints from the Salt Lake Valley, who upon hearing of the perilous situation these saints faced as winter drew near, immediately left to offer food, clothing, and aid that was so desperately needed. They rescued these people by doing for them what they could not do on their own.

Perhaps I sat there in tears as I questioned why? Why is it that bad things happen to good people...good people following the Lord's command to make this journey? Good people who had done all in their power to do what was right. Good people who had already sacrificed physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Good people who had righteous desires.

Like these pioneers, there are good people around us that suffer sorrow, heartache, and pain. Good people who like these pioneers do all in their power to do what's asked of them, to follow the Lord's plan, and people who have righteous desires.

As I sat there, overcome with emotion in class, asking the spirit to teach me...the teacher posed just this question...

"Why does God allow good people to experience sorrow?"

I continued to contemplate this question in my mind and these are the thoughts that came....

There will undoubtedly come times in our lives when we will not be able to do something on our own...there will be trials that put us in the middle of our own "handcart" journey. There will come a time when we will need to be rescued...perhaps not physically like these pioneers were, but emotionally or spiritually speaking we will need to be rescued.

Like the saints that brought aid to these destitute pioneers, the Lord will send people to rescue us and provide things we can not provide for ourselves. As we allow others to offer aid, to teach us, to help us, and to love us... we begin to grow...we grow into someone and something more refined than before. We enter the "refiners fire", the fire that allows us to become more like the people God knows we can become.

But perhaps the most powerful reason God "allows" good people to experience hard things is because the only person who can truly and completely "rescue" us is the Savior...and having the opportunity to decide for ourselves if we'll let that rescue occur is vital part of our mortal journey.

Unfortunately, often times as humans, it takes these seemingly insurmountable trials to humble us enough to a point where we can see for ourselves that we need to be rescued...humble enough that we allow Him in to do the rescuing that can come only through His personal atonement.

I believe that God knows that each of us need to experience the atonement in a very real, personal way. Whether it's through the repenting and forsaking of sin, finding strength and comfort through loosing a loved one, finding the courage to fight the battle of cancer, or whatever our "handcart journey" maybe...we need to experience the Savior's atoning sacrifice.

We need to experience the beauty of his love, and the tenderness of his care. We need to experience the healing he provides and the peace he offers. We need to see the beauty that resides behind the cloud and the completeness of the plan he has for us.

So, I think that we're "allowed" to pass through the hard, to experience become more.

Although I miss Branson more today than I did yesterday, I am thankful for the reason I have to be rescued. Healing from the loss of our son is something I can not do on my own. I don't have the strength, the power, or all the answers to even attempt to rescue myself. However, I'm learning that as Christ and I work together, healing can happen. I see more and more each day that it is through his atonement that my heart and soul can be rescued from the pain.