The Best Gift of All
Based on observation alone there is purpose to life, I am certain, and that purpose is individual, meaning that our lives are for us and about us. One small part of the reason why I am convinced of this fact is the way circumstances in our life change.
In my experience life offers us lessons that we need, when we learn the lesson being offered, our life changes (our circumstance, the great teacher - changes) and we are then free to learn new and hopefully higher lessons - we progress. But when we resist the lesson(s) our circumstance offers the intensity of the lesson will increase and we are more strongly encouraged to accept the lesson being offered and grow - our emotional pain increases, our physical selves worsen, life generally gets harder and either we respond to the worsening condition and begin to learn what we need to learn or we experience more pain - of various sorts, that will continue to increase until we are willing to accept the lesson offered. If we do not accept the lesson, our progression stops and we get lost as stagnation takes hold.
I have seen this pattern repeat constantly in my own life and in the lives of many others. We are being taught in every moment and as we accept the lessons offered, learn and grow, our circumstance changes, when we resist the lesson we create a kind of friction that results in pain that worsens until we learn. The more extreme the lesson the more dramatic the change that results in our life as a result of the learning. This is the greatest gift of life, the opportunity given to us to progress. We are given the choice to grow - constantly, sometimes the growth is in baby steps other times it in leaps and bounds. But growth and progression is always a choice, and when we fight our lessons and progression we experience pain and begin to feel 'stuck' as we remain in the same circumstance, stubbornly (most often fearfully) resisting the lessons that allow us to grow and thus, hampering our progression and creating anxiety and angst in our lives.
Our lives are offering us continual progression and so it only follows that life is designed to ultimately benefit us. It is obvious that we are living with the simple purpose to learn and grow, we are here to become something more than what we were when we were born.
Not only is progression a part of our life but as we observe creation we can see that everything is preparing to be something greater, everything is progressing. The seed into the tree, the caterpillar into the butterfly, everything is evolving and becoming something greater than it was or it is decaying and dying, some of this progression is obvious, some of it is subtle but everything changes and grows or deteriorates and dies (either mentally, spiritually or physically).
Observing this fact it is easy to know life serves a purpose and that purpose is for us to make hard choices, learn and progress or we face the painful consequences for refusing to take chances (leaps of faith) and grow. I have often called God a God of sacrifice, he asks us to sacrifice everything to Him, but it is only after practicing for some time that I understand - at least a little - that the sacrifices are not for Him, they are for us and he asks us to make them not for His benefit but for ours.
So we know we can progress and we know that progression is hard, which leads us to the next question to be answered, what is this progression about? The purpose of progression is to become something more, something greater. But what could that be for us as men and women? What is greater than humans? Well, God of course. We are here to become like God. Every father desires his child to be at least as great as he is, does he not?
Obviously we are no where near to being like God, we have a very long way to go to become one with God, but this is the purpose of our life, to learn and progress, but we are so incredibly far from where we are meant to be, how can we ever even get close? To understand how it may be possible we need to understand a little more about how life functions.
I am reminded of Newton's Third Law, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. We throw a rock into a pond and there are ripples. Just as this physical law is real, there is a spiritual law that also is real and works according to the same general principal as this physical law. What we do matters, it matters in the moment we do it and it matters always - our actions reverberate throughout time.
All of creation is bound together through 'laws'. One of these laws governing creation is the law of justice. Just as the physical realm moves according to laws so the spiritual realm moves according to laws and one of those spiritual laws is the law of Justice.
When we act against our spirit, against our God, against our own knowledge and will, there is a reaction - this reaction is the engagement of justice. When we cause harm, to ourselves, to others to creation itself, there is a price to pay. Justice demands that there be a balance, that our debt be paid - justice is the spiritual reaction to our actions that have spiritual consequences. We are always in debt to justice, we can never do enough to meet the demands of justice, the demands created by our own actions. This is why I intellectually find it so easy to follow doctrine that tells of a savior. I know I can never meet the demands of Justice and that I need now and always, an advocate - I need mercy. No lamb, no dove, no animal sacrifice can suffice - it requires one Perfect - Holy - one Begotten of God.
It is Jesus Christ that has opened the grave, my grave, all graves, it is by the mercy He has given that I may live again. It is the Holy Ghost that helps me understand this, that guides me and empowers me through Grace to make and sustain the hard choices, to take leaps of faith, to face fears, to detach from things of this world, to progress according to the lessons life offers. It is Father, God, that has given me all this and so much more.
We have been given all we need. The birth of our savior allows us to continue to progress after our physical death. This gift, the gift of eternal progression is beyond any love I can ever understand and it came with a price I cannot imagine, His love for us is an unimaginable painful burden He continues to bare. How could I not give Him all I am, have and want?
This Christmas I feel the need for a savior more than ever before as I learn more of the Gospel and lean upon it for all my strength, and as I seek to serve my brothers and sisters.
I say with all my heart - Merry Christmas - Christ is born, Mercy abounds - be joyful - the grave is empty as will be ours.
We can be more, we can do what we are asked to do - all it takes is everything - our will and our lives - and I can testify, it is worth it!