Emily Belle Freeman
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THIS IS MY JOY

AND MY GREAT REJOICING

Prospered By Degrees

Summer of Many Mercies Mosiah 18:15 - Mosiah 21:16

Have you ever experienced affliction that was great?

A moment when you felt surrounded on every side?

A time when you were led to become humble and submissive?

Have there been days when you have cried mightily unto God all the day long?

For some of us this moment of affliction might be a recent memory.  For others, it might be farther back in the past.  However, I believe that for each of us the moment remains poignant, the memory preserved, as if it were just yesterday.

Chapter 21 of Mosiah contains an image that has filled my mind over and over again.  It is the image of the Lord easing the burden.  It is explained with greater clarity in chapter 24 of Mosiah, "And I will ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions."  (Mosiah 24:14)

Maybe we will talk more of this strengthening tomorrow, but for today I want to ponder the fact that sometimes the Lord doesn't take away the burden.

Sometimes we struggle with it for months, years, and maybe even decades.

If that is the case in our situation, there is one truth we must remember...

Just because the Lord doesn't remove the burden does not mean He does not love us, care for us, or feel tenderness towards us.

Sometimes, for reasons we cannot possibly understand in this life, He does not see fit to deliver us from that circumstance.

But He does not leave us in that dark place to struggle alone.  He visits us.  And He knows how to ease the burden.  Because He is tender like that.

I love the promise found in Mosiah 21:15-16, "The Lord did hear their cries, and began to soften the hearts of the Lamanites that they began to ease their burdens; yet the Lord did not see fit to deliver them out of bondage.  And it came to pass that they began to prosper by degrees...that they did not suffer."

If you happen to be in a hard place right now, perhaps you could consider that promise.

In moments when the burden seems great, remember the Lord will help us to prosper by degrees...that we do not suffer.

I have felt this prospering by degrees in my own life in a moment of recent trial.

I will admit it was a rough road to walk.  Mostly because I am impatient by nature.

I wanted to reach the Promised Land overnight.  For several days, which turned into weeks, and then months I longed for the imminent miracle.

When I realized it wasn't coming I became discouraged.  I wondered if the Lord could hear my prayers...and worse, if He could hear my prayers then why wasn't He answering?

After one particularly hard day I climbed into bed with my scriptures.  They opened to this chapter in Mosiah and my eyes...weary from tears...focused on that verse.  They began to prosper by degrees...that they did not suffer.

Sometimes the Lord prospers us by degrees.

In those moments we become yoked with Him in a way that we might not have before because we can't move forward without Him.

He shares the burden.

So we will not suffer.

And step after step He prospers us by degrees.

I have taken this message to heart...this prospering by degree.

Instead of looking ahead for the Promised Land, every morning I wake up and repeat three words...

Every Day Better.

Then I put on my yoke and move forward with Him.