Monday, January 27, 2014

Agency and why God doesn't have control over everything

The past few days I have been seeing a lot of news stories talking about parents abusing their little children. Most of the time I can't even stomach finishing reading the article because I am just so saddened and sickened by these events. 
Most of the time I'm sure we tend to think, "Why?" 
Why did God send these babies to those families?
Why could these people have kids when so many great people can't?
Why were such sweet spirits allowed to suffer so much? 
Why would these people ever resort to such behavior with their children?

Of course I don't have all the answers.
I don't know why people do the things they do, or why they choose to abuse precious little spirit children of God.
But I do know part of the answer to most of these questions and the answer has everything to do with AGENCY.

We teach that agency is the ability and privilege God gives us to choose and “to act for [ourselves] and not to be acted upon.” 1 Agency is to act with accountability and responsibility for our actions. Our agency is essential to the plan of salvation. With it we are “free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil.”-Robert D. Hales

As part of my faith in God as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints I know that he does not just sit in Heaven and watch these events transpire and do nothing. 
He may not be able to step in and change the course of events, but he does weep for his beautiful little spirit children. He sees the pain that comes upon them and I know without a doubt in my mind that God loves these children so much that he wishes with everything he can that he could just swoop in and physically take them in his arms and protect them for the evils of this world.
He does the same thing for each one of us when we are suffering, or lonely or depressed. 
He wants to remove whatever it is in our lives and in these sweet babies lives that is causing the pain, but he can't.
Not because he doesn't love us, but because he does.

When we were in heaven we all made the choice to come to this earth to receive bodies and to be placed in situations that would be hard, so that we could grow. 

"We are in the mortal life to get an experience, a training, that we couldn't get any other way. And in order for us to become gods, it is necessary for us to know something about pain, about sickness, and about the other things that we partake of in this school of mortality."
-Joseph Fielding Smith

We had to come here to gain experiences that we would not be able to get in Heaven.
Adam and Eve came to earth and partook of the Fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil so that we could all come to this earth. That great act was the first use of Agency and from then on, every person was sent here to exercise that same Agency.

We are all given situations where we have to make a choice every day and each of those choices comes with a consequence, good or bad. There is always a consequence. We are all beset with human frailties and weaknesses and we all make a bad choice every now and then. Life wasn't meant to be easy or blissful every second, if that were the case we would still be in heaven, learning nothing and never knowing true joy.
If you really think about it, its the times after the great trials of our life, when the darkness fades and the sun shines bright that we really learn what joy is and when we really learn what true gratitude is.

One of my favorite quotes as a kid was by Dolly Parton,
"The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain."

I think that the beauty doesn't come till after our trial of faith.
Its not till after we have been tested and come out victorious that we really see how strong we are and how loved and blessed we are. 

“It was meant to be that life would be a challenge. To suffer some anxiety, some depression, some disappointment, even some failure is normal. Teach our members that if they have a good, miserable day once in a while, or several in a row, to stand steady and face them. Things will straighten out. There is great purpose in our struggle in life.”- Boyd K Packer

There is great PURPOSE in our struggle in life. 
Its not always clear to us what that purpose is. 
Its up to us to exercise our faith in God and to trust him, to know that he sees the big picture when we can not. He sees the work of art he is creating in each of us as we struggle through life and as we find and learn true joy.

I heard a poem years ago that brings tears to my eyes every time I read it,

“Life is but a Weaving” (the Tapestry Poem)

“My life is but a weaving
Between my God and me.
I cannot choose the colors
He weaveth steadily.

Oft’ times He weaveth sorrow;
And I in foolish pride
Forget He sees the upper
And I the underside.

Not ’til the loom is silent
And the shuttles cease to fly
Will God unroll the canvas
And reveal the reason why.

The dark threads are as needful
In the weaver’s skillful hand
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He has planned

He knows, He loves, He cares;
Nothing this truth can dim.
He gives the very best to those
Who leave the choice to Him.”

We don't know what God has planned for us, just like I don't know what Gods plan was for these children or their parents. I don't know if the Mother who beat her child was give a trial where she needed to learn patience and she made the CHOICE to give into her human frailty over and over again until she lost all sight of who she was and became carnal and selfish and these acts lead her to commit a terrible crime for which she seemed to feel no remorse. God doesn't have control over that. He can't make her choice for her but I know with ever fiber of my soul that he is right there with those sweet babies holding them tightly and weeping for them and with them every time they are placed in these horrible situations.

Know this, that ev’ry soul is free
To choose his life and what he’ll be;
For this eternal truth is giv’n:
That God will force no man to heav’n.

I have a mother who was given the trial in life of Bipolar Disorder.
As a child I was the victim of her rage on many occasions. 
I can remember so many nights crying and pleading with God to take me away from this home.
EVER SINGLE TIME he came to me or he sent angels to me to bring me peace and comfort.
Through a terrible situation I was blessed to be able to grow a deep testimony of my Heavenly Father because he wept with me when I wept and held me close when I felt so very alone.

I wish that these parents on the news had simply turned to their Father in Heaven and pleaded for his help and guidance in their times of struggle and that these sweet innocent little babies would be spared the pain they had to endure. But I have no control over their Agency, only they do.
I have no control over the choices they decide to make or the directions of the path they choose to take, only they do. And I know as a mother that I ache for my children when I see them make a wrong choice or slip up. I want to rush in and pick them up and fix the situation for them, but sometimes that's not helping them. Sometimes I have to watch them stumble and fall and rejoice with them when they learn how to get back up. If I feel that way as an earthly mother, surely our God, our Father, in Heaven feels this same way, but to a degree that we as mortals will never understand. 

The answer to ALL my Whys, is not a simple one, nor will I know all the answers here in this life, but I do know the God doesn't LET these things happen to people, he LET'S people make their own choices and exercise their own Agency because that was part of the plan of coming to earth. I also know that God doesn't just sit by and idly watch these tragic events transpire. He weeps for them and pleads for them to stop and to turn to him. He wraps these babies up in his arms and protects them as best as he can. And sometimes he takes these babies home with him, to a place where they will never know such pain again, to a place where they will be protected and loved and watched over. 

God doesn't make or let these things happen, People do!
But God is always there, doing anything and everything he can to bring some light into the darkness.

(To learn more about what Mormon's believe about Agency go here.)

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