Emily Belle Freeman
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THIS IS MY JOY

AND MY GREAT REJOICING

Herein Is a Marvelous Thing

John 8:43 - John 12:7

The most bitter times are black.

When I look back at the hardest times in my life, the feeling I remember most is darkness. The sense that the world is closing in, the empty feeling of nothingness, the inability to see clear enough to make simple decisions.

That darkness has a tendency to shroud the soul, preventing all light from penetrating.

In John chapter nine we read of a man in this condition.

This man was blind from birth.  He spent every day in the dark.  Although surrounded by people in every direction, he was completely forgotten and left alone with his trial.  I wonder if there were many times he sat in the black world he lived in and pondered his existence.  I wonder if at times he doubted his ability to go forward.

Were there days when he questioned everything he had been taught, the reality of God, the beliefs which had sustained him through life so far?

I imagine so.

There is a moment of epiphany after the soul has doubted all it knows, when it begins to reach out for solid answers and firm ground.  This moment is defined by one emotion that sustains and creates a desire for change.   Before faith or knowledge is found, before joy or happiness is experienced, before the healing begins, one emotion begins to stir from deep within the depths of despair.

Hope.

It is the light that will begin to lead through the darkest hour, which will enable us to begin to move forward along the darkened path.

It was this light that the blind man sought.

Sometimes this epiphany, this small portion of hope, will bring a change in perspective.  This change simply helps us to evaluate the situation from a different view than we have previously seen.  We are given small portions of knowledge, line upon line, as we work through the abyss.

The blind man experienced this process.

The Lord simply changed his point of view.

Dust was turned into clay.  Simple.  And then he was told to go to a place of healing, Siloam, and wash–– an ordinary technique that symbolizes so much.  Wash.  Let go, rid yourself of what is holding you back, and heal.

The man’s eyes were opened.  He could see.

I think about his story and realize that there are so many times in my life that I have prayed for the Lord to touch my eyes so I might see.

In the darkness of the night I have wept and pled for sight.

Those moments have found me praying that the Lord will help me see the reason for the trial and what I am supposed to learn.

Sometimes the light is slow in coming.   When the reason for the pain is not forthcoming,  I often wonder if I have the strength to endure.

There are times when a burden will exhaust our energy so much we can’t even begin to remember what it feels like to have faith.  Although we trust that Christ lives, we may have a hard time believing that we will ever get past the point we are at.  In those moments, when we can't see the end from the beginning, when the light seems beyond our reach, when we wonder if we have been forgotten we must remember one unchanging truth...

The Lord will not leave us to struggle alone.

Heber J. Grant gave this sweet promise, “The Lord be always near you.  You will feel His very presence.  In the hour of tribulation, the Lord be near you.”  (First Presidency Message, in Conference Report, Apr. 1942)

In the hours of greatest tribulation we can feel the Lord’s presence.  He will bring us comfort and He will be our strength.  Most important, He will give us the hope we need to move forward when hope is gone.  Hope that will change our perspective and allow us to see things in a different light.

It doesn't mean we won't have to experience the trial...it means we won't have to bear it alone.

When the apostles asked Christ why the blind man was blind, He answered that it was for one reason, “that the works of God should be made manifest in him.”  (John 9:3)

Never underestimate the purpose of the trial.

The works of Christ will be made manifest in your life.  It is through adversity that we experience the sweetest parts of the atonement.  It is what allows us to experience the healing power of Jesus Christ.  It is what strengthens our testimony of the reality of Christ and enables us to eventually help lift the hands of another.

Elder Holland once said, “On those days when we have special need of heaven’s help, we would do well to remember one of the titles given to the Savior. . .An high priest of good things to come.” (Jeffrey R. Holland, “An High Priest of Good Things to Come,” Ensign, No. 1999, 36)

If you are in the midst of the hard times... If you are having trouble making even the most simple decisions... If you surrounded by darkness and wonder if the light will ever come... Allow your heart to hope.

The Savior is real. He will not leave us to struggle in blindness. In your moments of greatest reaching He will be there ––open your heart and feel His gentle touch, open your eyes and see His hand in your life.

He is the High Priest of Good Things to Come. He is the light that will lead through the darkest hour. He offers the strength that will enable you to begin to move forward along the darkened path.

Turn to Him.

"Herein is a marvelous thing...he hath opened mine eyes."

(John 9:30)

 

Emily Freeman