Tuesday, January 6, 2015

2 Nephi 2:1-3

Tonight my reading was 2 Nephi 2. I didn't get very far. I wonder if we should learn anything from the verb tenses in the first three verses, especially the first two. Those are about afflictions, a subject unfortunately near and dear to my heart.

I find it interesting that Jacob "hast suffered afflictions" meaning he had suffered (past tense), but that God "shall consecrate" his afflictions for his gain, meaning the suffering would benefit him (future tense). Often when we suffer we don't recognize an affliction as a blessing. A lot of cheap self-help and smarmy sacrament meeting talks teach that in our suffering we should try to find the lessons in our agony; look for the proverbial silver lining. Trying to find good in pain may help keep our attitude in check, but when we face trials perhaps we would be better off just admitting that our life stinks, accept it, and... that's it. No searching for hidden treasures or sacred meaning in our trials; God hasn't yet consecrated our trials for our gain. They're still just trials. This need not be pessimistic, We can recognize the awfulness of our situation and at the same time reassure ourselves that some day (i.e., not now) God will make something good out of our pain... and just move on.

I also find it interesting that in verse 3, Lehi says to Jacob, who is only a young man, "thou art redeemed" (present tense). I wonder what this says about redemption. Often we think of redemption coming only after final judgement and worse "after all we can do". Perhaps redemption is a state of being that we should strive for today and every day. (Tying the three verses together, I imagine that knowing today you are redeemed would aide in enduring challenges that arise today.)

I admit I don't know how we get to that knowledge/feeling/state of being of redemption today, but am heartened that Jacob was redeemed because of the righteousness of Jesus Christ and not because of anything he had done. That recognition of the source of our redemption is probably the first step.

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