On Hope and What “Seemeth” Good

A few weeks ago in Elders Quorum, one of the EQ Presidency gave a short lesson on Section 39 and 40.

<pause while you go look it up if you so desire>

So, what do these sections have to do with hope and who is this James Covel anyway?  Go ahead and do a search, as it was presented that Sunday, it almost always comes up with “cares of the world” as the title or lesson.  However, I took something else from it.

James Covel, an interesting fellow who gave into the spirit at first, but then backed down.  He was a leader of the Methodist reformed movement at the time.   Keep in mind, he’s from Connecticut and settled in New York after he married.  He heard the church’s message and was impressed.  However, at this time, the church was beginning its move west, from New York to Ohio.  So in a revelation, the Lord instructs Covel to not go east, but to the west, to Ohio to serve a mission.  What’s a man to do?  Well, remember he was a leader in the Methodist sect with all his friends and acquaintances in the east.  Besides, my own conjecture is that there was plenty of heat from his Methodist friends for him even meeting with the Mormonism.  So, he rejected the call, left for home and his former position as the saints moved further and further west. (For more info, visit the Revelation in Context section of lds.org website).

Ok, so where do I see hope in all this?  Let’s look at the scriptures in D&C 39:

7 And now, behold, I say unto you, my servant James, I have looked upon thy works and I know thee.
8 And verily I say unto thee, thine heart is now right before me at this time; and, behold, I have bestowed great blessings upon thy head;
9 Nevertheless, thou hast seen great sorrow, for thou hast rejected me many times because of pride and the cares of the world.

How many of us are not guilty of this?  I certainly am.  I would almost say that this was one aspect of my downfall and may be one aspect that I need to overcome to continue to progress.  I know that with my current callings, I’ve learned to be less harried in the gospel.  What I mean is I’ve learned that it’s a journey and not a spike.  There will be ups and downs, but I need to calmly keep plowing through them.  As I’ve done this, I’ve found peace of mind and conscience.

The next section, D&C 40:

 1 Behold, verily I say unto you, that the heart of my servant James Covel was right before me, for he covenanted with me that he would obey my word.
2 And he received the word with gladness, but straightway Satan tempted him; and the fear of persecution and the cares of the world caused him to reject the word.
3 Wherefore he broke my covenant, and it remaineth with me to do with him as seemeth me good. Amen.

This is where my present condition comes in.  I broke all kinds of covenants that lead up to my excommunication.  But I always wondered why is it that there is such a buffering from Satan after membership is taken away?  Well, it seems that it’s what the Lord decided what was good to be done to me.  I believe it’s because one big factor leading up to excommunications is pride and rebelliousness.  Before I could progress enough to be rebaptised, I had to jettison both these negative traits.  But, because God is a God of laws, I had to deal with the consequences first.  And that is a type of spiritual separation, not to teach me a lesson, but because I was unworthy of having it.  Thus, the darkness.

More scripture, back to D&C 39:

 10 But, behold, the days of thy deliverance are come, if thou wilt hearken to my voice, which saith unto thee: Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on my name, and you shall receive my Spirit, and a blessing so great as you never have known.

So it came that I had a decision to make; keep going down my well known path to my destruction by continuing on with what I knew, or risk the unknown and reach out to a God I couldn’t see, but was told that “this is the only way to redemption.”  Well, I had faith enough to believe this.  I like the promise of “blessing so great as you never have known.”  Who wouldn’t.  But I’ve received many, many blessings and miracles that still do boggle me to this day.  How much more is there once I’m rebaptised?  It’s incredible for me to think that the being who created the universe, God himself, that it was his will to do and give me what he did.

But I still had a hard time with the thought of not knowing what was around the bend. It was bad enough that I took the risk but for a long time, I was perplexed because I couldn’t see what was ahead.  I knew I had to let go and trust that God had a plan for me and that he was in control so long as I stayed obedient.  But I felt I needed the comfort of foresight.  That’s when the last verse in Section 40 really struck me:

 3 Wherefore he broke my covenant, and it remaineth with me to do with him as seemeth me good. Amen.

What hit me was the path I am on, I agreed to allow God to do with me as he saw fit.  That if I truly wanted to come back into the fold, I needed to let God make it so, at his timing.  And, even more important, combined this last verse with Section 39: 10, it finally got through to me; Even if I were to be shown the future, I wouldn’t believe it anyway.

So I need to keep going in faith because so long as I strive to be as obedient as I can, God will give me a future that would be beyond my current understanding.  It’s that way now, it’s going to be even more so down the line.  To me, this is hope.

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