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Friday, December 21, 2012

The Tragedies in Our Children's Lives

I went to a headache specialist the other day. This has been long overdue, and I finally, after decades, feel like I can plan and proceed with my life.

While there, he asked me many questions to get to the bottom of my headaches so he could make an accurate diagnosis. One of the things he asked was "Have you ever been physically or sexually abused?"

I looked him straight in the face and said, "No."

The look on his face was a bit telling. He seemed shocked. He sat there for a moment, and it seemed that he was waiting for me to change my answer, but of course, because I'd told him the truth, I didn't.

His response really caught my attention.

This morning, upon logging into Facebook, a friend had written "This is what came to mind as I turned away from my work to pray for those affected by the Sandy Hook massacre: "Jesus wept." (John 11:45) The shortest line in the Scripture, as well as one of the profound and tender. God is with us, in and through our tears. It may be about more than Sandy Hook for you. No matter, He is with you and all of us. Emmanuel: God with us!"

Sandy Hook is one of many symbols of the tragedies that touch our children's lives. Children's hearts and lives are broken every day. This is the real tragedy of our world

I had a very blessed childhood. I had my own trials and struggles and things that tore me down, but these things, physical and sexual abuse, were not part of my challenges, and for that, I'm grateful, but as the world becomes more wicked, there are things that the children around us endure that we cannot even fathom.

My friend's status brought my mind back to a discussion we'd had in ward council a few weeks ago. The bishop turned all of our minds to 3 Nephi 17.

In this chapter, Jesus has come to the Americas and is with 2500 of the people. He calls their little children to him. Prior to that discussion at ward council, I had, honestly, never looked deeply at the words in this chapter. As I did so, I was so surprised at what I saw and how much I felt it related to the current situation with our own children.

Jesus asked that the children be brought to him and "they brought their little children and set them down upon the ground round about him" (verse 12). He stood in their midst. What happens next should have been something I noticed because it's such a strange reaction from the Savior. He "groaned" and then said, "Father I am troubled because of the wickedness of the people...."

It wasn't the children's wickedness He's groaning and weeping about. It's the wickedness of the people who affect the children's lives. We are sent here to earth to use our agency--to make our own choices--ALL of us. Sometimes that agency takes away the agency of others.

image: ipcaftermath.org
When we discussed this chapter, the significance of the groaning and weeping on the Savior's part hit my heart. Christ arrived to this place at the most wicked time this people had ever known. They were choosing things that were destroying their society. I realized that he groaned over the children because they were simply pawns in this wickedness. The agency of others around them were destroying their innocent lives. It is so sad that it had come to this point.

In the words found in these chapters, we find the cure to our illness. Our hearts are broken over the major occurrences of the past couple weeks, but there are daily things that happen in children's lives that damage them. The fear is that as we, by using our agency poorly, damage their souls, they can never be reclaimed. If this is the case, these damaged souls will become the terror of our future society.

Some complain about "children [or teenagers] these days." We are creating our own monsters. It is our selfish choices--those things we choose to do that we think only affect us--that will have the biggest repercussions. Nothing that we do only affects us. To think they do is foolishness

I am grateful to my friend for sharing that very simple scripture: "Jesus wept." I needed my mind brought back to this lesson I was in the process of learning. Timing is so interesting.

Our only hope is in Jesus Christ. As we each turn toward Him and seek healing, we can be healed, but it really is up to us.

image: lds.org
It is reported that He prayed great and marvelous things. No one had ever seen or heard the likes of them before, and joy filled their souls. He finishes, speaks to the people, weeps, and takes the little children one by one and blesses them. After he finishes, he weeps again. Then angels descend from heaven, encircle and minister to the children.

These things are ours for the asking. I firmly believe this, but we must ask, and sometimes we must ask over and over again. Sometimes we even need to beg and plead for them and more than anything else, we must seek to change ourselves and conclude that the decisions we make affect everyone--even those things we do "in Vegas."

If we think He has deserted us in our time of need, we are wrong. Just like any parent, He allows us to make our choices and to make our mistakes. He groans and weeps for us as we choose wrongly, but He is still aware of us. He still tries to gather us back to Him. These tragedies, can bring us to the source of healing....and should.

We are not left alone.

1 comment:

LeAnn said...

We do have hope in Christ. The atonement can cover everything. How grateful I am for the Savior.
Blessings and hugs!

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