Tuesday, March 26, 2013

When the Going Gets Tough

When you see a beautiful piece of art what do you do?  Do you sit there, just wishing with all your might that you could see the paintbrushes that created that beautiful work?  Do you dream of holding the chisel that shaped that piece of stone?  If you're like most people, probably not.  I'm guessing that you'll be thinking about the artist and the meaning behind the work.
When a chisel is made, there are a few steps it has to go through before it's as useful as it can be, creating the most beautiful works of art.  First, it has to be heated up in a fire and softened.  The blacksmith will blow the bellows, increasing the temperature.  The chisel is then shaped and sharpened.  A chisel can go through this process multiple times until it is ready for use.  
The Lord will frequently do this with us.  We will be put into the fiery furnace of affliction.  The bellows will blow, turning up the heat.  The Lord will then personally shape and sharpen us, creating a tool that He can use to carry out His work.  He is the artist, while we are His instruments.  The fiery furnace will not be fun, but it's necessary for us to become the best we can be.  The Lord wants to help us improve so we can spread the joy that the gospel brings and be an instrument in helping others become beautiful pieces of art.
In the Book of Mormon, Christ has come, bringing the peace and happiness of His gospel to the people there.  "There were no robbers, nor murderers, neither were there Lamanites, nor any manner of -ites; but they were in one, the children of Christ, and heirs to the kingdom of God."  (4 Nephi 1:17).  Another way to put that is that they were "un-ites."  Now, if you look at that word again, because they weren't divided into classes or groups, they were united!  I think that is so profound.  As we unite ourselves with Him, we will be united as a people, as fellow children of God.
As we go through that fiery furnace of affliction, it can be hard to keep that faith.  Even if it's with the fingernails of faith, hold on!  Please hold on!!  Don't give up.  This gospel is about hope.  Heavenly Father has a vision in mind for you and He is going to shape and refine you into something more beautiful and wonderful than you can imagine. 
"Yea, blessed are the poor in spirit who come unto me, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."  (3 Nephi 12:3). 

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