I was impacted the most this week by our discussion on what Brother Griffin called C.S. Lewis' "law of undulation," from the book The Screwtape Letters. Along the pathway of discipleship, there are peaks and there are troughs. Some of these troughs can last longer than others. The troughs can be the result of different challenges. But a trough is always a period where you feel like your connection with God isn't as strong as you'd like. Where your prayers aren't answered according to the timetable you set.
I'm in one of these troughs right now! I'm seeking spiritual guidance for a really big decision I have to make, and it feels like it's just not going to come anytime soon.
But the main point of the discussion was, the longer the trough lasts, the more amazing a result the Lord has in store. The answer I receive will be exactly what I need, and it will be so wonderful!
I love looking to the example of Alma's people. In time, their deliverance did come:
"15 And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did astrengthen them that they could bear up their bburdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with cpatience to all the will of the Lord.
16 And it came to pass that so great was their faith and their patience that the voice of the Lord came unto them again, saying: Be of good comfort, for on the morrow I will deliver you out of bondage."
I met this man from France who was hitchhiking across the United States looking for "pilgrimages," and thought Salt Lake City would be a good place to stop by. While he was there, he happened to run in to a family on a very special pilgrimage of their own.
This group came from the small island of Tubuai, Tahiti. Tubuai was the first foreign language speaking mission in the church, and also became the first foreign language branch of the church. All this happened in 1843, three years before the saints even got to the Salt Lake Valley.
This group coming to temple square was descended from those original converts, and this was their first time ever leaving their island. Their pilgrimage to hear to prophets speak inspired me, and it inspired Alex (the French hitchhiker). He said, "we all have a pilgrim within us." It got me thinking, what's my pilgrimage? Where am I aiming to reach, on the gospel path?
I've been thinking about General Conference this week.
I love Brother Griffin's idea of "specific conference." The leaders and general authorities are speaking to the church generally, but they're also speaking to each one of us individually. Each speaker sought revelation and pondered for a long time about what they were supposed to speak about. Like the doctrines in the Book of Mormon, only the most important stuff with the most relevancy to us made it to the top.
This semester has brought to the forefront of my life a lot of questions and concerns that I've never had to face before. Before general conference began this weekend, I said a prayer asking God to help me experience a "specific conference" over the course of these 10 hours of talks. I'm very grateful for Elder Holland's kickoff talk at the beginning of conference, reminding everyone what to expect and inviting everyone in attendance to have a "specific conference" too.