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