Leave it in God's Hands
If there is one thing that I have come to learn in my life it is that we can not control every single little detail of our lives. There are so many other variables that are entailed in the outcome of any given situation. Here I wish to share an example that I saw while growing up where things went south even though the guy in the story always did what he could do to help these situations turn out in the positive.
Growing up I used to watch the older kids in town and in my church and try and be like them. I remember spending lots of time doing this. One of these particular people I would watch had many experiences that to me seemed like pretty hard and awfully hard to face at times. I watched this kid pretty closely while he would play football and in wrestling. For four years I watched him work as hard and even harder than anyone on the football team. He was such a great player and still each year as a team they struggled and would lose a heartbreaking game in the state championship game. The wrestling season seemed to mirror almost the same exact situation. In wrestling as a team they did have some success though, and he was always a big part of that success. He would put in the extra practice time and do everything that he could to become the wrestler that he knew he could become. His sophomore year I watched him get in to the championship match and battle his heart out. In the end with a couple not so correct calls he lost that match. It was hard to see him having worked so hard to have to go through an experience like that. The next two years I saw him go through the same terrible experience in his finals matches at the state tournament.
Wow! Those are some experiences that are never very easy, especially if you are someone that loves your sports, and you are surrounded by people who has those same desires and passions. If you have ever been through something similar to this I am sure that you can add your witness that you also know it isn't easy to handle.
This guy from the story who is now a man is much the better man because of these experiences. He wasn't ever a person to get down on himself about these situations and worry and fuss over them. The teams in football for years before he got into high school were so dominant, and his was as well. But for some reason the teams he was on never were blessed with a championship win. I don't take anything away from them for this, but I give credit for who they have become because of it. Year after year they came back fighting and being well coached and well taught in the basics of the game. With time and years the football team began to be blessed once again with championship wins. One of the great things that I saw as a blessing from watching this kid was that I also watched him go through similar and comparative struggles on the wrestling mat as well. Now, I am someone that hates to lose! Second in my eyes has always been just as bad as fifth or sixth. From this kid I learned that taking sixth can be just as beneficial as taking first. Life isn't about the place you take, but how hard you try. When it all comes down to it, it is how hard we tried. He had a really hard time it seemed the first year when he lost in the finals at the state tournament. I think it took him a while to get over it. The next year it wasn't near as bad, and didn't seem to effect him for near as long of a time as it did the year before. By the time it got to be the last year that he took second there didn't seem to be near the struggle with it that there was the second time. Only hours after a devastating loss he was having a fun time and laughing and joking around and having a good time with the other guys on the team. To this day he is a happy and positive person that I look up to for an individual that knows how to cope with trials in his life.
I know that not all trials are the same and some are more attached to our emotions than others. But I also know that there is a common help for all of these trials. I believe that it is all in something higher that we make it through these hard times in our lives. For this kid both of these trials were probably greatly overcome because of great coaches who always kept him and the team positive and motivated to do their best. He also probably received a lot of encouragement from his family at home to press forward. I would imagine that he spent a lot of time looking back on these times and pondering on them and about how he could learn from them.
So how did he learn from them?... and how can we do the same!?
We relate this all back simply to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. His coaches would help him to be encouraged and more motivated to do better which in gospel terms can be called having faith that he can do better in the future. Next his coaches would help him to be better at the basics and correct anything that he was doing wrong, and also teach him new techniques to make him better. This is what we call repentance, the process of changing to make bad things good and good things better. Third he would have to make the simple decision to be on the team so that he could even be placed in the situation to win. We often refer to this as two steps called Baptism and Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost. We make a simple decision and commit to be a part of the team, and then we have the opportunity to succeed as long as we stay on the team, and we all work as hard as we can. Joining the team is like being baptized, and having the opportunity to win is like having the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost, or Spirit, in our lives. This now all seems like a system that is complete. But this isn't a complete process or system. At the end of the sports season everything from that season is over, and you have to go through the exact same steps next year to succeed. This is called Enduring to the End. We continue to go through this cycle as long and the season starts.
In our lives we often will hit a couple cycles in a week or day, and sometimes even in an hour or minute. The important part is to always remember the last cycle we went through and make the point to start it again. We have to join the team and go through these things to win the title.
We are all hoping and desiring to return to live with our Heavenly Father one day, and be at the top of the podium with him. This is how we can do it.
As we wind down the year of 2013 I hope that we can all look at the many cycles, processes, or systems that we went through this last year and learn from them. What I would like to invite you to do when you do this is to learn from them, and then Look Ahead and Believe, nothing fearing that the next cycle will be better! I know that it can be, and I learned that when I was younger by watching this great kid who was always a standout example to me about looking ahead for what's good to come.
Life is full of Cycles, and the best way to get through these different cycles that go on around us each and every day is to get on the cycle and into the process that God has created for us - The Gospel of Jesus Christ. We can't always control those little details around us, but we can control the little things that we do, and as we do so we will begin to end up on the top.