I am loving the Come Follow Me lessons we study each week more than ever lately. There is so much to glean from the scriptures, and I feel like you learn even more when you write things down. So here I am, with a thought from three weeks ago. Ha! But really, I’ve been thinking about it ever since.
I was reading Alma 42 which is filled up with the beauty of the gift of repentance. I love how it explains that this life is a time to put that gift to work, perhaps one of the very biggest lessons that comes in this life. I love that in verse 29 Alma says to his son, “I desire that ye should let these things trouble you no more, and only let your sins trouble you, with that trouble which shall bring you down unto repentance.”
I love the words “with that trouble.” That “beautiful” trouble that seems to turn our worlds upside down in our darkest days. Our sins are the trouble, but also sometimes our circumstances. The process of moving from “innocence to knowledge” (see below), the work it takes for each of us to be “born again,” and re-made over and over again. The struggle of softening our hearts, of coping with failures, of sickness, of loss, of misunderstandings, and using those struggles to turn ashes into beauty.
Over and over and over again.
In conjunction with those thoughts I already had swirling around in my head, the meditations from Richard Rohr these past couple weeks have spoken right directly to my heart (if you haven’t signed up to get these meditations emailed to you each day, I so recommend it…check them out HERE, they are so good!). The last couple weeks have been all about order, disorder and reorder…something that happens on repeat all through our lives. And something that, if we learn to embrace it, we will learn and grow in beautiful ways. Here are some of my favorite thoughts that go with “with that trouble”:
In one of the meditations talks about Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. All is well. All is cared for until they partake of the forbidden fruit. “While we can certainly mourn the suffering, it doesn’t do us any good to regret ‘the Fall.’ It had to happen; failure is part of the deal! If Christ is the Logos, the blueprint for all creation, then God has always had our growth and salvation in mind”
Taking of the fruit is the “disorder”…the process of moving from innocence to knowledge…the “trouble” as Alma would say, that takes us to new understanding. “This process of moving from innocence to knowledge is never finished. Always there is the realm of innocence, always there is some area of innocence untouched by knowledge. The more profound the growth of knowledge, the more aware the individual becomes of the dimensions of innocence. Pride in knowledge is always tempered by the dominion of innocence. (HERE)
In another meditation: “I can see why Christianity adopted the language of being “born again.” The great traditions seem to say the first birth is not enough. We not only have to be born, but remade. The remaking of the soul and the refreshing of the eye has to be done again and again.” …and sometimes painfully so! (Richard Rohr, click HERE for all of it.)
“But unexpected weaknesses, failure, and humiliation force us to go where we never would otherwise. We must stumble and be brought to our knees by reality. “God comes to you disguised as your life,” as my friend Paula D’Arcy wisely says. We must actually be out of the driver’s seat for a while, or we will never learn how to give up control to the Real Guide. It is the necessary pattern.” I thought this was so poignant especially with what is going on in the world right now (HERE is the rest of that meditation).
(continued from that quote above)…“There must be, and if we are honest, there always will be at least one situation in our lives that we cannot fix, control, explain, change, or even understand. Normally a job, a fortune, or a reputation has to be lost, a house has to be flooded, an illness has to be endured. Some kind of falling, what I call “necessary suffering,” is programmed into the journey. By denying our pain or avoiding our necessary falling, many of us have kept ourselves from our own spiritual depths. We still want some kind of order and reason, instead of suffering life’s inherent disorder and tragedy.
Oh you’ll have to click on those links and read the whole thoughts together to see if they fill you up as much as they did me, But I do love to think what we can do “with that trouble” when we have the right mindset. Has there ever been true progress unaccompanied by “trouble?”
Sending out some Sunday love and encouragement…may we all use the unique “trouble” in our own lives to learn and grow, to be reborn in different ways on a continual basis.