…God says He is like that eagle…And so He rakes up the comfortable home nest, and lets us feel the prickles of pain and sorrow, not because He is cruel, not because He wants to punish us, but because He wants us to rise to something brighter and better, to the City of Sunshine.
“I meant to go back, but you may guess
I was filled with amazement I cannot express
To think that after those horrible years,
That passion of loathing and passion of fears,
By sores unendurable – eaten, defiled –
My flesh was as smooth as the flesh of a child.
I was drunken with joy; I was crazy with glee;
I scarcely could walk and I scarcely could see,
For the dazzle of sunshine where all had been black;
But I meant to go back, Oh, I meant to go back!
I had though to return, when my people came out,
There were tears of rejoicing and laughter and shout;
My cup was so full I seemed nothing to lack –
But I meant to go back, Oh, I meant to go back!”
The death of Elimelech and his two sons, and the disconsolate condition Naomi was thereby reduced to. Her husband died (v. 3) and her two sons (v. 5) soon after their marriage, and the Chaldee says, Their days were shortened, because they transgressed the law in marrying strange wives. See here, 1. That wherever we go we cannot out-run death, whose fatal arrows fly in all places. 2. That we cannot expect to prosper when we go out of the way of our duty. He that will save his life by any indirect course shall lose it. 3. That death, when it comes into a family, often makes breach upon breach. One is taken away to prepare another to follow soon after; one is taken away, and that affliction is not duly improved, and therefore God sends another of the same kind. When Naomi had lost her husband she took so much the more complacency and put so much the more confidence in her sons. Under the shadow of these surviving comforts she thinks she shall live among the heathen, and exceedingly glad she was of these gourds; but behold they wither presently, green and growing up in the morning, cut down and dried up before night, buried soon after they were married, for neither of them left any children. So uncertain and transient are all our enjoyments here. It is therefore our wisdom to make sure of those comforts that will be made sure and of which death cannot rob us. But how desolate was the condition, and how disconsolate the spirit, of poor Naomi, when the woman was left of her two sons and her husband! When these two things, loss of children and widowhood, come upon her in a moment, come upon her in their perfection, by whom shall she be comforted? Isa. 47:9; 51:19. It is God alone who has wherewithal to comfort those who are thus cast down.
One’s life … cannot be both faith-filled and stress-free. …
Therefore, how can you and I really expect to glide naively through life, as if to say, ‘Lord, give me experience, but not grief, not sorrow, not pain, not opposition, not betrayal, and certainly not to be forsaken. Keep from me, Lord, all those experiences which made Thee what Thou art! Then let me come and dwell with Thee and fully share Thy joy!’ …
Real faith … is required to endure this necessary but painful developmental process.
Work is an antidote for anxiety, an ointment for sorrow, and a doorway to possibility. Whatever our circumstances in life, my dear brethren, let us do the best we can and cultivate a reputation for excellence in all that we do. Let us set our minds and bodies to the glorious opportunity for work that each new day presents.
(General Conference Sessions) declare eagerly and unequivocally that there is again a living prophet on the earth speaking in the name of the Lord. And how we need such guidance! Our times are turbulent and difficult. We see wars internationally and distress domestically. Neighbors all around us face personal heartaches and family sorrows. Legions know fear and troubles of a hundred kinds. This reminds us that when those mists of darkness enveloped the travelers in Lehi's vision of the tree of life, it enveloped all of the participants—the righteous as well as the unrighteous, the young along with the elderly, the new convert and seasoned member alike. In that allegory all face opposition and travail, and only the rod of iron—the declared word of God—can bring them safely through. We all need that rod. We all need that word. No one is safe without it, for in its absence any can "[fall] away into forbidden paths and [be] lost," as the record says. How grateful we are to have heard God's voice and felt the strength of that iron rod in this conference these past two days.
In the quiet heart is hidden Sorrow that the eye can't see.
Have courage for the great sorrows of life
and patience for the small ones;
and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task,
go to sleep in peace.
God is awake.
We rejoice in the joys of our friends as much as we do our own,
and we are equally grieved at their sorrows. Wherefore the wise people
will feel toward their friends as they do toward themselves,
and whatever labor they would encounter with a view to their own pleasure,
they will encounter also for the sake of their friends.
That God has a body of flesh and bones is not the revolutionary teaching. God’s physical form is not the point. That God has a heart that beats in sympathy with ours is the truth that catalyzes millions—that He feels real sorrow, rejoices with real gladness, and weeps real tears. This, as Enoch learned, is an awful, terrible, yet infinitely comforting truth.