- By Elder Thatcher

A Thematic Blog - -By Elder Thatcher
"By necessity, by proclivity, and by delight, we all quote."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Life: God's University

"Busy-work."  Remember that?  The curse of every student from Elementary school on up.  Wouldn't it have been nice if every second of our education could have been tailor-made instead of having to waste time on a seemingly endless supply of worksheets?

Of course, the reason for what we term "busy-work" is that education as it exists today can't be made as individual as we would like.  Each student has different things to learn at different speeds and the goal of an educator is to affect the most learning possible for all the students. 

However, it is not a perfect machine. 

Life, on the other hand, can be the most efficient classroom because God is the master teacher.  Our lives are tailor-made in the same way to the extent that we are hard-working and obedient.  It's interesting to take a look at the types of work he assigns.   
Wilford Woodruff, the fourth President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints taught that God educates us through difficulties--by giving us things that will make us struggle--by "chastising" us. 

"The chastisements we have had from time to time have been for our good, and are essential to learn wisdom, and carry us through a school of experience we never could have passed through without." 

Diana Nyad, a word-champion long-distance swimmer (who, I am informed, is currently training to swim from Cuba to Florida.  And yes, she is a US citizen.) made this comment.

"The most extreme conditions require the most extreme response, and for some individuals, the call to that response is vitality itself....The integrity and self-esteem gained from winning the battle against extremity are the richest treasures in my life." 
And finally, the quintessential Ralph Waldo Emerson gave us this insight. 

"A man who sits on a cushion of advantages, goes to sleep.  When he is pushed, tormented, defeated, he has been put on his wits,...[he learns] moderation and real skill."

In life, we suffer; we experience hardship and pain and sorrow.  Why?  Because it gives us experience that we could not gain any other way.  I repeat:  we could not gain it any other way.  We could not learn to trust, we would not learn humility, we would not learn appreciation for the peaceful and happy times.  We would not learn and we would not grow.  (See 2 Nephi 2:11,23; 2 Cor. 12:9-10). 

How different would life look if we took our foreheads off the desk, picked up the pencil and saw the Teacher who is daily giving us assignments and tasks, and "doeth not anything save it be for the benefit of the world; for he loveth the world, even that he layeth down his own life that he may draw call men unto him. Wherefore, he commandeth none that they shall not partake of his salvation." (2 Nephi 26:24)

Every second of this life has the capability of being an educational experience.  It all depends on us.

In others' words:

"No pain, no palm; no thorns, no throne; no gall, no glory; no cross, no crown." 
-William Penn

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