• Tiffany Miller

BLOG: (March 14-20) Genesis 42-50, "God Meant It Unto Good"

A couple of weeks ago, the Young Women in our ward went repelling, some of them for the first time. My oldest was there, and it was her first time. She was nervous, as were the others, but she overcame and did it anyway, several times. There was one part where the side of the cliff went inward and the girls couldn’t find footholds for their feet because they couldn’t reach the side of the mountain. They had to rely on just the rope to let themselves down. This dangling in the air caused several of them a considerable amount of anxiety and sometimes even panic. They were so focused on the fact that they couldn’t reach the side with their feet that they felt they had lost control of the situation. After some coaxing, they were talked through just letting themselves down with the rope and then when they had done that for several feet they were able to again reach the side of the mountain with their feet and continue on as before.

Afterwards they had a sort of debriefing. The youth theme for the year is Trust in the Lord. How was this experience like trusting in the Lord? They all provided several analogies about how the elements at play while repelling related to trusting in the Lord. I’ll let you come up with some of your own, but there was one that stood out to me and relates to our scripture block in Come Follow Me this week. The girls, during the part where their feet couldn’t reach, were panicking because something they thought was super important and what they focused their control on wasn’t really all that important. It was a circumstance they couldn’t control and that was uncomfortable to them. Did their feet having purchase on the side of the mountain really matter to get down? Not really. The rope that held them up was the key. We often focus on what we think we should control instead of what we really can control. They knew the rope was important and that it was lowering them down, but when it came to not having footholds, they felt out of control. They were focusing on something that wasn’t as important, but they ranked it of utmost importance in their heads, which caused panic as a result when it wasn’t there.

How many times do we focus on something that isn’t really as important as something else and yet, we expend a lot of energy on this less important thing? I’m guilty of this. There are times when I grab hold onto something that helps me feel comfortable in my circumstances and by grabbing onto it, I signal to my brain that it is super important. An example of this might include a clean house vs spending quality time with my girls. Don’t get me wrong, clean houses are important, but if I’m putting all my energy into that and neglecting connecting with my children - then I’m missing the mark. If I’m so focused on having a clean house that my relationship with my children suffers (maybe because I’m yelling at them to do their chores or to pick up after themselves) I’m putting something less important over something that truly matters. Or perhaps I’m spending more time at work or volunteering at places or joining clubs/organizations that take me away from my family more and more. Obviously work and service are important, no one is disputing that, but if it continually comes at the cost of my family, then I need to reevaluate. Balance is necessary, and the Lord is the one to help us strike that balance and view things with an eternal perspective.

A greater, and even eternal perspective is necessary if we’re to choose our response in situations and circumstances we find ourselves in. Focusing on what is truly important helps us to be agents to act instead of agents to be acted upon. We can’t always control our circumstances, but we can control how we act in those circumstances. Joseph, in our scripture block, wasn’t able to choose his circumstances - they were rather brutally forced on him many times. However, he remained faithful and focused on what was truly important for him - maintaining his faith, being true to his covenants by keeping the commandments. Joseph could have been bitter and rationalized his bitterness, doing the minimum to get by and just survive, but he didn’t. He had every reason to believe the world was against him and that he should just give up. No one would have faulted him if he chose to be bitter and angry. Unfair doesn’t even begin to cover it! But, he chose to have a different attitude than the one his natural man would have chosen. That was something he could control. As a result of his faithfulness, he was blessed, even in his less-than-ideal circumstances. We can be instruments in the hands of God in whatever circumstances we are in. Our circumstances don’t force us to behave a certain way, that is a choice we can make. Like our blogpost from last week explained, we can choose to be a victim or its opposite, a creator. What things can we create? Our attitude, our response. We humans like to be lazy and blame others and our circumstances for our attitudes and responses, but that’s a power only we have. We sometimes give that power to others when we choose to be agents to be acted upon rather than agents to act, but no one and no circumstance holds that power over us unless we give it to them. It takes a lot of time and effort on our part to choose to act versus react, and as we know, our natural man isn’t a fan of time and effort.

From the story in the Bible, Joseph seemed to understand this and chose to not do things the natural man way, but chose to do them the Lord’s way. “God meant it unto good” (Gen 50:20). He took those awful circumstances, that ugliness, and made something beautiful out of it. He can do the same with us. There are weak and ugly parts of my life that He can make beautiful, if I let Him. That’s the key. I have to invite Him into my life and let Him. He’s promised that He can make weak things, including any “weak” circumstances, become strong unto me (Ether 12:27). The Lord always keeps His promises; His promises are sure!

Let’s take a look at some others in scripturedom that chose the opposite of what Joseph did. Our buddies, Laman and Lamuel in the Book of Mormon. They, along with their brothers, were commanded to go and get the brass plates from Laban. They had bad attitudes and were straight up bitter about it. They tried one thing and wanted to give up after it didn’t work. They could say they tried and move on with their life. Who were they relying on? Not the Lord! They tried to buy the brass plates next; that didn’t work either. The circumstances were the same for the 4 brothers; they had failed in their quest. The difference was in how they responded to that failure. What do Laman and Lemuel do? Blamed their younger brothers and proceeded to beat them. An angel came and told them to try again and the Lord will deliver Laban into their hands. Even with seeing an angel, they lacked faith in the Lord and chose to fear man (Laban in this case) rather than God. “How is it possible that the Lord will deliver Laban into our hands? Behold, he is a mighty man, and he can command fifty, yea, even he can slay fifty; then why not us? (1 Nephi 3:31). Again, the circumstances for the 4 brothers are the same (granted two of them have more bruises than the other two at this point - so not exactly the same). How did they choose to respond to these less-than-ideal circumstances? 1 Nephi 4:4 tells us that Laman and Lemuel still continued to murmur and were angry at Nephi for expressing his faith in the Lord and desire to follow the angel’s commands.

Nephi, like Joseph of Egypt, chose to be an agent to act rather than be acted upon by his circumstances. Nephi and Joseph had faith in the Lord and that faith invited the Lord into their lives to bless them. We likewise can invite the Lord into our lives to bless us and to make good out of our circumstances. An important thing to remember is that the good comes on the Lord’s timetable. Nephi had to try 3 times to get what he was commanded to get regardless of effort and faith on his part. Joseph didn’t see the purpose and fruit of his circumstances until decades (with an s!) later. God can and does work miracles in our lives. We sometimes set up roadblocks and barriers to His miracles though by saying that He can’t use us in our present circumstances; my life will be better, easier if it looked like _____, and then I can help out more in His work and He can bless me. Why wait? Let Him bless you now! Choose to fight the good fight - even if that fight is with our own natural man. We need to seek His light and see His hand in all our circumstances - He’s there!

I'm Tiffany and I live in sunny Arizona (love me some sunshine!). I have 5 beautiful daughters. I know what you're thinking, that's A LOT of estrogen! and you'd be right, but we have some of the greatest times known to mankind through our adventures in learning (we homeschool), loving, playing, and growing together. In my spare time, I love to read (I own literally thousands of books) and hike in the beautiful mountains near my home.

21 views0 comments