As my greatest cheerleader, Mother told me my entire life that I was special and lifted me up. I owe to her my confidence. Mother was so thorough at teaching me that I could do all things that I did not know that all things bit came with a caveat until I grew up and had kids of my own. I thought all things were possible because Mother would not allow me to feel any other way, overcompensating for something lacking in her own life from her childhood.The only thing that Mother left out of my training was to know that all things ARE possible through Jesus Christ, the Lord.
Again, caveat, though.
Now, I am no fool. Believing that all things are possible through Jesus comes with a responsibility to be a reasonable person. God is no genie in a bottle who comes out because we rub His Bottle and make a wish. No. God is a glorified man who knows what is best for His children to learn to become like He is and guides them, us, in the direction that best accomplishes that. If a miracle is needed to help, it will occur. If suffering through loss and pain will help, He will lead us down that path.
With our limited understanding, we can sometimes mistake the horrible things we experience in life as divine disfavor or proof that God is not there. Neither are the truth. If punishment comes in this life as divine disfavor, then Jesus must have been very evil to be forced to pay for all of the sins, hurts, shames, and sorrows of humanity. Since Jesus is not evil, bad things happen because life is about experiencing the good and the bad. Some of us experience what seems to be more bad that others, which can seem unfair.
God knows the entire picture of eternity and can see the good that will come of enduring the evil hour well, without loosing faith, that is.
"O then despise not," etched Moroni in what is now the ninth chapter of the Book of Mormon in the large library called The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. (Mormon 9:27-28)
Back to Moroni...
"Despise not, and wonder not, but hearken unto the words of the Lord," Moroni counsels. "Ask the Father in the name of Jesus for what things soever ye shall stand in need." Moron give the universal sign for self-service directing us to ask what we need of the Father. That, however is not the end of what he means because we at time may not know what we need. But he tells us to ask any way with some stipulations to follow.
"Doubt not," he instructs, "but be believing." What are we to believe? All things are possible through Jesus Christ, just like my mother sort of taught me. Moroni fills in where she left off by adding "and begin as in times of old, and come unto the Lord with all your heart," which to me, means all the desire, the feelings and devotion of the heart do we go before the Lord.
"Work out your own salvation," Moroni inscribe as a vital component to getting help from God. "With fear and trembling before him," i.e. do it with respect. How do we work out our salvations? We do the things that we know will get the results. There is this saying:
Pray like everything depends on God, but work like everything depends on you!
We work out our salvation by doing the things we know brings results. If studying brings results of good grades, we pray for good grades as we STUDY. If being healthy brings good physical health, we actually EAT HEALTHY and pray to God to be healthy.
James said it best, "faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone." No, not your cousin or uncle James, but the apostle James in the New Testament in the book which bears James' name. (James 2:17)
"Be wise," Moroni continues. "Strip yourselves of all uncleanness; ask not, that ye may consume [your life] on your lusts, but ask with a firmness unshaken, that ye will yield to no temptation, but that ye will serve the true and living God."
We learn from Moroni what to ask for during our petitions to God for help in our lives. We ask to serve God and not yield to the temptation to serve our distractions away from serving God. What does it mean to serve God?
King Benjamin in the Book of Mosiah answered it best when he taught, "when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God." (Mosiah 2:17)
My Moroni Take-away
God is not a genie in a bottle, but a Father in Heaven who helps all of us who seeks Him become better people despite what we experience in life.
Mother filled my head with so much conviction that I marveled when I failed a test and thought I had embarrassed her. She always lifted me up to a fault! I had a long journey down from the mountain of arrogance I built upon her encouragement. She gave it freely and often. I am so glad that she did. Growing up without a father of my own to depend on made her belief in my ability all the more important!
As another prophet from the Book of Mormon describes a group of young men called the Stripling Warrior, who grew up without fathers, Helman recorded,
They had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them. And they rehearsed unto me the words of their mothers, saying: We do not doubt our mothers knew it." (Alma 56:47-48)
Echoing them, I did not doubt Mother knew it. What has Moroni seen of you?