Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Surgery For The Soul

Surgery for the soul

Elder Kent F. Richards of the Seventy said this at April Conference.
"As a surgeon, I found that a significant portion of my professional time was taken up with the subject of pain. Of necessity I surgically inflicted it almost daily—and much of my effort was then spent trying to control and alleviate pain."
It is interesting that he mentions that out of necessity he surgically inflicted it.  Could it be that pain is an absolute necessity in our lives if we hope to measure up to what Christ expects of us?  Speaking of pain and the soul building effect it has in our lives, Elder Orson F. Whitney said this:
  “No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude, and humility. … It is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation, that we gain the education that we come here to acquire.”
Elder Robert D. Hales spoke of that development of humility that occurs as we experience pain
“Pain brings you to a humility that allows you to ponder. It is an experience I am grateful to have endured."
It is in these pondering moments that often the hardest questions arise and the deepest concerns rise to our hearts.  Elder Richards mentions one of those questions that in moments of despair, even though we know the answer, we still wonder.  He said,
"Sometimes in the depth of pain, we are tempted to ask, “Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there?” I testify the answer is yes, there is a physician. The Atonement of Jesus Christ covers all these conditions and purposes of mortality."
Most of us have wondered the same questions as heartache and anger have rocked us to the core.  We find ourselves shaking our fists toward the sky wondering why the very doors of heaven have been shut, and we have been left outside begging for some sign of comfort.  President Henry B. Eyring taught the following:
“It will comfort us when we must wait in distress for the Savior’s promised relief that He knows, from experience, how to heal and help us. … And faith in that power will give us patience as we pray and work and wait for help. He could have known how to succor us simply by revelation, but He chose to learn by His own personal experience.”
I love this quote.  What better comfort can we expect knowing that the very source of solace we search for comes from someone who experienced for himself the vary pain we are enduring.  We often wonder, "where is the quiet hand to calm my anguish?", and "Who, who can understand?", when we fail to recognize and accept that "He, only One" is the "Savior and Friend" we seek.  I love the promise President Eyring gives that faith in that divine power will give us patience.  But the conditions are these...as we pray and work and wait....How grateful I am that the very attribute of faith that I desire will be given me as I pray, work, and wait.  He chose to learn by experiencing what he knew we would feel.  How do we expect to become as He is unless we learn by experience those feelings also.  How else could we really come to understand him? If he came to know us by feeling what we feel, so too must we experience Gethsemane in our lives to really understand Him.

Elder Richards explains how we are to measure our personal testimony of who the Christ really is.  He stated this,

"The pain you and I experience may be where this process is most measured."
Isn't that neat?  We ask for it!  We want to know, "what lack I yet?"  We want to to know how close we are to becoming like the Savior.  Isn't it wonderful, that the answers come in the form of pain and suffering?  How else could we really know who we have become, if our very faith and testimony aren't tested "in all things".  I will forever be grateful for the Surgeon of my soul.  Surrendering to the skilled hands of a doctor during surgery shows great faith in the medical field.  Oh it is wonderful that I can lay down my life and desires and ultimately my whole soul to Him who "stretches forth his hands unto them all the day long" (Jacob 6:4).  His skilled hands can heal all pain and bring comfort to my life. This is my testimony and my faith of He who "answers privately" and "reaches my reaching".

Quotes taken from Elder Kent F. Richards April 2011 Conference talk entitled "The Atonement Covers All Pain"

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