Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Marvelous Law of Opposition

As Lehi is about to die, he gives his son Jacob some wonderful counsel. One of the many gems of wisdom he shares is this: “For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things” (2 Ne 2:11). Every time I’ve heard this I’ve started on the positive side of the equation and thought of the bad thing as the opposition. For example, the opposite of health is sickness. The opposite of wealth is poverty. For some reason opposition always went from good to bad for me.

But what I’m learning now is that opposition also means that dire, negative circumstances have a positive to them. When I was growing up my father used to tell me a story about a boy who wanted a pony for Christmas. Christmas morning he awoke all excited but instead of a pony he found a room full of manure. His parents braced themselves for what they thought would be terrible disappointment, but instead the boy grabbed a shovel and began digging.

“What are you doing?” his father asked.

Without stopping the boy replied excitedly, “With all this manure, there has got to be a pony in here somewhere.”

I’ve got manure right now. Lots of it. But the surprising thing is not the stink. The surprising thing is that because of this wonderful law of opposition, tied to each negative occurrence, event or finding there is a beautiful positive. I’m beginning to find myself anticipating (just like the boy shoveling the manure) the good.

Take last night for example. Yesterday for the first time I began to experience pain in my eye. It is a sharp, biting sensation that shoots through the eye as if someone had stuck a needle in it. But yesterday I also received a marvelous gift. We had tickets to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas concert. As we walked to the Conference Center the beautiful lights on Temple Square were brighter, livelier, richer than ever before. They shot a sensation of absolute delight through my soul that warmed and elated me. I can still feel the joy these many hours later!

Then during the concert, the choir sang “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” and as they sang the thought coursed through me that one of the reasons Jesus Christ performed the Atonement was so that he would then be available to me at a time like this. Tears streamed down my cheeks as the full realization hit me. He didn't just suffer for my sins. He didn't just overcome physical death. He suffered, so that he could now succor me.

Jesus Christ is helping me every step of the way and for that I am very grateful.

"The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him." Nahum 1:7


Barb Elder said...

Sherrie, Thanks for sharing. You are such a great example and good friend to me. As I told you my family and I are praying for you. Keep us posted. I love reading your blog.

Wendi said...

I'm so thankful for the Atonement. Because the Savior truly experienced everything as he suffered, he does know what you and I are feeling and can actually help us in the way we need it most during these trying times. I pray that you will continue to find these positive moments and peace as you're going through this trial with your health. :)

P.S. Are you able to take something like Advil PM to help you with the pain and to help you sleep sitting up? That's been something that's helped me this past year through my difficult nights. Just a thought.

Debbie Feller said...

Dearest Sherrie, Isn't just like our sweet Sherrie to find the positive in EVERYTHING!! You truly "Live what you Preach" everyday of your life. Our prayers are with you, Carl & your family!!
Love, Debbie Feller

Anissa said...

What a great perspective you have. It is great to see the growth and peace we can feel though trials. You are an amazing example to me. Thanks for taking the time to make these posts and keeping us updated. I love you so much.

martha said...

Dear Sister Johnson,
Every day from now on you're going to be hearing about people with cancer, lymphoma, or other brain tumors, "just like yours." So I'm going to try and be the first:) My sweet niece married at 32 and became pregnant. Within days of that news they discovered her husband had an inoperable brain tumor on his auditory nerve. God is good. The tumor shrank with radiation and they were able to operate. He has much healing to do still, but they are now the parents of a beautiful baby girl and continue making their way through the perils of life with good cheer. I will pray for you. Love, Martha Roberts Cascade 6

Connie said...

I have been away from the computer and church due to an extreme case of bronchitis and am just now aware of your tumor. May you be comforted in the knowledge that many are praying for you and sending well wishes and love. Most of all you have the sure knowledge that the Lord knows you and loves you and that makes the unbearable, bearable. (((Hugs)))

meleah said...

Mom, you have such a beautiful way of tying in the gospel into everything. I know that Heavenly Father is aware of you and your situation, you have lived to good of a life for Him not to be. I love you! Thank you for keeping us all updated!!

SMJ said...

Thank you for all your kind words and encouragement! I cannot even tell you how much it helps. I love you all and appreciate your concern.