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Being chastened... and that's good?

posted Feb 27, 2017 06:02:13 by David.Clark
Throughout my life, I've heard parents, teachers, coaches, etc. say things like, "Don't worry if I'm getting on to you because it just means I see your potential and I am trying to help you get there. You need to worry if I'm not getting after you because it means I have given up on you..."

If I'm reading it correctly, Orson Pratt taught that the Lord has a similar approach...
The Lord has told us in this book that he would scourge this people, and would not suffer them to go on in wickedness as he does the world. He will make a difference in this respect between those who profess his name and the world. The world may prosper. They have not the religion of Heaven among them; they have no revelators and prophets among them; they have not the baptism of the Holy Ghost, nor the gifts and blessings of God among them, and consequently though they transgress the revealed word of God, he suffers them to go on, apparently without checking them, until they are fully ripened in iniquity, then he sends forth judgment and cuts them off, instead of chastening them from time to time.

Not so with the Saints. God has decreed, from the early rise of the Church, that we should be afflicted by our enemies, and by various afflictions, and he would contend with this people and chasten them from time to time until Zion should be clean before him. He has done this, and more especially while we were in the States. We were inexperienced, and did not then understand the necessity of strictly obeying every word spoken by the mouth of God, and we had to suffer because of this. (Journal of Discourses, 15:335)

I know being chastened by the Lord is not fun, but we should find encouragement in our chastenings because it means the Lord sees that we have it within us to exercise our agency to repent and turn unto Him. Definitely not a time to say, "Why me, Lord?" But rather, it's a time to say, "I thank thee, Lord, for remembering me!!"
Formerly known as Alabama LDS
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24 replies
Sue Allen said Mar 01, 2017 07:56:40
I was chastened one particular time, and it is one of my treasured experiences. It was just like the way He teaches us to do- reprove with sharpness, and then an overflowing of love.
I gained so much in my testimony that night. He knows me, he knows my needs and desires of my heart. He accepts the temple as His house. He sees and defends the sacrifice of the Saints. He speaks in more than words, but in ideas and understanding. He comforted me and explained my situation. I have thanked Him many times for reproving me and blessing me with the experience.
David.Clark said Mar 01, 2017 08:12:15
Thank you so much for sharing your experience, Sue Allen!
Formerly known as Alabama LDS
Isaiah said Mar 01, 2017 08:34:45
excellent David !
Hebrews 12:6
6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth,
and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

D&C 95
1 Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you whom I love, and whom I love
I also chasten that their sins may be forgiven, for with the chastisement I prepare a way for their deliverance in all things out of temptation,
and I have loved you—

2 Wherefore, ye must needs be chastened and stand rebuked before my face;
"I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."
Philippians 4:13
David.Clark said Mar 01, 2017 08:55:28
Great scriptures, Isaiah! The verses you cited from Section 95 are incredibly powerful. The idea that chastisement prepares a way for deliverance out of temptation is so profound to me. I had read that section just recently and those verses caused me to stop dead in my tracks, so to speak, and ponder that thought.

All too frequently through my life, I have hoped and prayed for protection from bad things happening to me and my family. Being bedridden, for the most part, for nearly 2 1/2 years now, I am learning what a tender mercy it is to be chastened and tried of the Lord. Now, I pray that the Lord will, as He sees fit, chasten and try me because, otherwise, I cannot return to Him.

Formerly known as Alabama LDS
HelenPirtle said Mar 01, 2017 14:23:15
Thanks for sharing those scriptures Isaiah. I was going to post them. Yes, chastening is a good thing - if we humble ourselves and accept the correction and move forward to becoming better. If not, we may just become bitter and lose our standing with the Lord.
ClaireE.Grover said Mar 02, 2017 01:31:12
... all these experiences shall be for thy good.

The Lord is so good to show us our weakness that we can become strong. It makes a big difference in my attitude when i can express gratitude when God shows me I have a mess to clean up, figuratively. I AM grateful, because every mess I clean up inside myself draws me closer to Him. What a blessing!

I don't really feel shame. He's not looking at me with even a hint of condemnation. A parent doesn't get mad at their baby for pooping in their pants. That's what babies do. Wise parents simply clean it up. Similarly, Father looks at us as if to gently say "Huh! You made a mess. OK. You can clean it up if you want to, or you can sit in it some more. I'm here for you. I love you."


(Also known as fam,faith,n'freedom.)
David.Clark said Mar 02, 2017 01:51:14
Well said, Claire!

The other day, I found myself telling my 15 year old son that I was not mad, and he wasn't in trouble, but I needed to mentor him about something; that I would not be a good father if I didn't talk to him about something that had happened. I could see his whole body relax when he understood that I was trying to help him grow into a responsible man and that I was not just jumping on his case.

I bet the Father wishes we understood the same during our chastening...
Formerly known as Alabama LDS
AliciaBlickfeldt said Mar 02, 2017 03:33:18
David, I hope you don't mind me saying this so publicly, but I've thought about you and your situation a LOT, and wondered if you had considered where you would be spiritually without this challenge. I'm sure you have. I have imagined that you, like me, have settled into a place where gratitude and light fills the space that was once dark.

I certainly got to know the Lord better through my extremities.

Every day as I contemplate the fact that I am still alive, all I can do is fall to my knees in gratitude. I am no where near the same person I was 3 years ago BECAUSE of what I had to endure.

I would love to hear your thoughts.
David.Clark said Mar 02, 2017 05:51:02
Alicia, thank you for your kind note. I look at you, and so many others on this forum, and am inspired by your faith even through some devastating challenges!! All of y'all's determination motivates me to press forward!

To answer your question, yes, I have thought about it a lot. My health had been deteriorating for several years, but it took a nose dive back in August 2014. At that time, I believed that I was doing fairly well spiritually. "Time" has given me a lot of time to ponder my standing with God, however.

I have not taken a step, assisted or unassisted, since November 2014. I have not opened my hands since January 2015. I am, for the most part, bedridden. The list of health issues goes on and on, so I won't belabor that point. It appears that my condition is due to disabilities I have as a veteran (and an adult onset degenerative neuromuscular disease with which I was recently diagnosed).

The physical/worldly possessions I lost has been exhaustive. Going from a man who appeared to have "it all" to a man who spends 99.9% of his time alone in bed, unable to speak without voice amplification, breathe without supplemental oxygen, etc., I initially believed that I was going through my life's "great test." As time has pressed forward, I have come to see that this experience is not life's great test, but rather, one of life's great blessings!

I've come to see that people are challenged in different ways. But everyone has challenges; everyone has a story. Some might look at me and conclude that I have been greatly tested. Then, they might look at another person who appears not to have any adversity at all and conclude that life isn't fair because everything comes so easy for them. In reality, the person who appears to have life easy might be having more challenges than me.

Life is a progression! When I was a missionary learning Spanish, I remember, after a few months, comparing my ability to speak the language then to when I first left the MTC, thinking, "Wow, I didn't know any Spanish when I first arrived!!" opining that I had learned so much in those first few months. I had similar thoughts after six months looking back to the three month time period, then at the one year mark looking back to the six month mark, and finally, after two years, I remember lamenting that I had to go home because I didn't know any Spanish for the whole two years compared to the point it was time to go home.

My journey through life is much like my experience with Spanish on my mission. I look back through my life and am often left amazed at what the Lord has been able to do with such a broken soul as me. Notwithstanding my weakness, I see progress.

Looking back now to when my life got flipped upside down, it scares me to think of my standing before the Lord even though, if I'd been asked at the time, I would have thought things were good in my life. But, looking back over roughly two and a half years, I have been so incredibly blessed with the Lord's most tender blessings. My priorities and interests have changed drastically.

The Lord uses trials and chastening to spur us along. I know that I am no where near a "finished" product and that makes me excited for the next challenge the Lord has in store for me to see what my potential can be. I pray and have faith that the Lord will strengthen me to qualify me for the experience!

People say to be careful what you pray for because you just might get it, e.g., humility. I say, pray for trials. Don't ask to be shielded from them. They're the experiences we need to come to know God. Show the Lord faith that you are willing to go through the greatest trials, the greatest depths in order to ascend to the highest heights and know Him! In the greatest depths, know that Christ (1) descended far more, (2) has taken upon Himself the pain and suffering you may be experiencing in those depths, and (3) has provided a way for peace even during the suffering if we turn to Him. During the descent, sing praises to God for remembering you and during the ascent, praise God for remembering you. In all things, give thanks and be joyful!! Even in the greatest depths, we're still meant to have joy (and, it is possible if we draw closer to Christ).

A life without sacrifice and challenge will not be sufficient to qualify that person for eternal life. In the eternal perspective, it will be evident that our most challenging experiences in life are our greatest blessings.

I'm sorry for rambling on about this. My heart just gets so full when I start thinking about how merciful God is.
[Last edited Mar 02, 2017 08:11:53]
Formerly known as Alabama LDS
MelindaJansson said Mar 02, 2017 06:16:56
Wow! I am humbled to be in the presence of greatness. Thank you for sharing
AliciaBlickfeldt said Mar 02, 2017 14:30:14
Thank you, David! That is exactly what i was hoping you'd do. ..share what you've learned. We will all be blessed by your strength and conviction. This is beautiful!

Bless you brother.
LoryVanValkenbur said Mar 02, 2017 16:46:04
Wow, just wow. Thank you David. You're truly a gift for us to learn from. I have no doubt that you're part of the "fellowship".
KarleneCarper said Mar 02, 2017 17:32:34
Amen and amen!
David.Clark said Mar 02, 2017 22:24:04
Thank you Melinda, Alicia, Lory, and Karlene. Y'all are too kind. Praise God for His tender mercies!!
Formerly known as Alabama LDS
ClaireE.Grover said Mar 03, 2017 00:51:35
David said: "People say to be careful what you pray for because you just might get it, e.g., humility. I say, pray for trials. Don't ask to be shielded from them. They're the experiences we need to come to know God. Show the Lord faith that you are willing to go through the greatest trials, the greatest depths in order to ascend to the highest heights and know Him!"

Claire here. In Stake Conference our Stake president chided us for praying away the experiences for which we came to this Earth. He said, the purpose of our life on Earth is not easy sailing and buttercups. He encouraged us to welcome the difficulties we encounter as opportunities for growth.

(Also known as fam,faith,n'freedom.)
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