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  • Austin left on his mission:
    8 years, 1 month, 7 days, 11 hours, 32 minutes, 11 seconds ago

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Overcoming Affliction

Elders Rushton and Kunz Study

Elder Rushton and Elder Kunz Studying

Not every one of my mass emails can be very deep or insightful, but every week I do seem to learn something new. They’re not always outwardly significant, but each one changes my entire outlook on life a little bit more. After enough of these small changes, I can hardly imagine living the way I used to. If there is one true fact about my mission, it is that I will never be the same because of it.

There was a quote my father sent me that guided me this week.

 “Those who have a ‘why’ to live can bear with almost any ‘how’.” -Viktor Frankl

Never have any words resounded within me like these have.

Over the past several months, I have experienced what I can only describe as the most difficult time of my entire life. I turned to the Book of Job in the Bible, because his situation with his “friends”felt peculiarly similar to my own. Chapter after grueling chapter, Job was rebuked by his peers for his self-righteousness and exhorted to repentance. His heart ached for them, because he had sought comfort and received chastening, but when he reproved his friends and asked bluntly for help, he received only further criticism. They could not convince him that he had sinned, and he could not gain any sense of comfort from them.

Finally, the turning point in the story comes from the youngest lad in the room, Elihu, who waited patiently in the background for his turn to speak. In fury and with the Lord’s power, he rebuked both sides, and reasoned with Job to help him see that he had, in fact, justified himself rather than God in disputing with his peers. And so what was the lesson Job had to learn? Exactly what Viktor Frankl so eloquently stated.

Job lost sight of the “why” of his existence, and in so doing, he could not bear the “how”; he chose to become miserable rather than rejoice because he forgot the love and glory of God.  This, to me, speaks a truth that I have been hard-pressed to internalize. As disciples of Jesus Christ, we are NEVER justified in committing sin regardless of our circumstances. We have covenanted to always remember Him. This means that when given a choice between temptation and affliction, we are expected to choose affliction rather than sin against God.

So that’s my lesson this week: when faced with the temptation to let our afflictions drive us to sin or be miserable, we must simply remember why we are living through them. Perhaps the Lord’s reply to Joseph Smith’s cry for deliverance in Liberty Jail is most exemplary in teaching us this principle:

7″ My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;
8 And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.”(D&C 121:7-8)

When we keep the purposes of God in mind, there is no affliction too great, no pain too bitter, and no obstacle that is unable to be overcome. Consider, finally, the Savior of all mankind, who in Gethsemane suffered everypain imaginable, and yet did not faint or complain, but submitted to the will of God. This is the result we each must strive for.

The Sister Missionaries in our ward had a baptism this past week. It was great! That’s a great start to the year! In addition, we got a family to church whom I’ve been working with since I got here in early November.  It was so great to finally see them there, and they were well received by the ward. We’ve also been teaching the mother of the girl we baptized a couple weeks ago, so that’s been great. I’m so blessed to be working with so many great people in Eugene. I can’t really deny that I am being watched out for!

Thanks all for the letters, emails, support, and encouragement. It is all well-received and appreciated. I hope you all have a wonderful week!

Elder Rushton – Missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

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