Overcoming Sorrow

5 min read

“In defense of our wives and children!” the movies say. Hollywood has a way of helping society to feel patriotic about the defense of those that cannot defend themselves. Great stories of the past have shown individuals or groups that dedicate, and in times sacrifice, their lives in the pursuit of liberty, freedom, and security. These great people deserve our thanks and praise as fellow brothers and sisters in the faith of equality and justice.

So what about today? More rampant than ever before there is a need for people to rise up and voice their righteous desires. There is a great attack on the family both physically and spiritually. I listen to the radio about children in many parts of the world that are being bought and sold into slave labor, women that are kidnapped and sold into sexual slavery, and incursions that exploit young children into child soldiers that become as much of a victim as those they violate and kill.

These are things that are not only being done in private alleyways and under the cover of darkness, but it happens in broad daylight, and in the view of many with onlookers feeling overwhelmed or helpless as to what to do. At times as I drive home listening to the radio I hear a story that brings tears to my eyes; stories of children lost, exploited and abandoned, families separated, and great emotional distress.

Once, I found myself finding it very hard to keep the tears from flowing. I pulled over to the side of the road, and offered a prayer for all those involved until I could gather my composure again. I know that the media love to “spice-up” stories to make them sound grandeur than they might otherwise be, but even still the basses of it still ached my soul for those that had been trespassed against. Such things have been going on for generations, and throughout time.

After my thoughts were first of what could I do? Then I thought of those great spiritual leaders and how can such spiritually lead individuals understand and address the harsher realities that exist in the world without it overwhelming them? I wouldn’t ever consider my station in life as those that I admire, but I wondered how I could overcome my own overwhelming feelings of empathy to those that such harsh circumstances had befallen. I’m afraid that empathy is one commodity that I don’t have in short supply.

The knowledge that the Savior will accept all those of God’s children without vacillation is a great comfort. It helps to know that in the end the savior will make sure that those that have been trespassed against shall be received with Godly love. His is a love that would bring the most proud individual to their knees in waning their pride, and giving the most solemn of individuals an overwhelming grandeur of happiness.

Suffering will happen. It is part of God’s plan to allow us to choose so that we may learn and grow. In choosing there are consequences for both good and bad. For God to intervene in the consequences of those choices would frustrate the plan of God. Think about it for a moment. If God were to change the course of a bad decision every time it was made do you think that the individual(s) that made the poor choice would learn anything? No, they wouldn’t. It would be nice to petition our Father in Heaven to change the outcome of major disasters, calamities, genocides, and personal trials.

We can petition the Father, but not for an outcome change. We petition for ourselves to better understand, for those that may have created the situation that they may find forgiveness, and for the survivors that solace may be found.

In talking about this topic it reminds me of an event a couple years ago. In February of 2007 here in Utah, Bishop Chris Williams’ family was tragically struck with the loss of his pregnant wife and two of his children. Admirably the father spoke not too long after I’m sure some very difficult days and a lot of prayer. His thoughts were for the young man that had caused the accident.

He appreciated all the prayers that were being given for him and his family, but asked that prays also be given for the young man, and that young man’s family. He mentioned that he forgave the young man. His concern was for the young man and his family. I’m sure for his own remaining family to, however he was just as concerned about the others involved as well.

How great and admirable this man is. To become so close to the Lord that he was able to develop, share, and teach the attributes of love and forgiveness through the one event that can bring men to the very depths of despair. His faith and testimony I’m sure has, and will, inspire others to continue on even in the face of terrible adversity. Overcoming sorrow for him was very personal, and will take time to heal the wounds of such a great loss.

We all have trials and triumphs; discouragement and encouragement; letdowns and improvements. So, as for me, how do I overcome the sorrow felt by so many throughout the world, or in my personal life? What do I do when the weight of such emotion is too much to bear? I struggle, and eventually overcome the sorry through the knowledge of an all loving Heavenly father who has made it possible for all to return to him by way of his Son Jesus Christ. It is a matter of keeping an “eye single to the glory of God”, to focus on where it is we desire our state of mind to be, and to remember in the end how merciful our Heavenly Father is in allowing use the opportunity to learn and grow. Overcoming sorrow with love in our heart isn’t easy, but it allows us to have compassion, and it’s that compassion that will help others out of the depths of sorrow.

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