That “peace… which passeth all understanding”

July 11th, 2010

(Phil. 4:7)

Was feeling pretty terrible earlier (this breakup stuff is incredibly hard sometimes) when I felt a gentle impression to read a few verses in 2 Nephi 2:

22 And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end.

23 And they would have had no achildren; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no bjoy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no csin.

24 But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who aknoweth all things.

25 aAdam bfell that men might be; and men care, that they might have djoy.

26 And the aMessiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may bredeem the children of men from the fall. And because that they are credeemed from the fall they have become dfree forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon, save it be by the punishment of the elaw at the great and last day, according to the commandments which God hath given.

I’ve read these verses countless times, of course; most Mormons have. There’s even a mnemonic: “Second Nephi two-twenty-five, Adam fell and I’m alive” (said in a jazzy sort of way to wake up early-morning seminary students). But what I took away this time, among other things too personal to share, is that there’s a subtle but important difference between “I will be happy when” and “I won’t (or can’t) be happy unless.” “I’ll be happy when I get married” implies that the person is at least looking forward to the event and may even have some control over the situation; additionally, the person may not be happy at present, but still might be. “I can’t be happy unless I’m married” erects a fatalistic roadblock completely barring happiness unless certain conditions, usually beyond a person’s control, are met. The latter is generally a consequence of overexposure to the former.

I admit I’ve been stuck in this trap before, and in some ways currently am. However, these verses led me today to realize that it’s not absolutely impossible to be happy unless some great event happens. “Men are that they might have joy”; I can “act for [myself] and not… be acted upon.” “All things have been done in the wisdom of Him who knoweth all things.” I don’t have to remain “in the same state in which [I was] created” or in which I currently find myself (and I could write a whole hyper-emotional post about the past 9 days). This may not sound like such a breakthrough for most people, but to me it’s potentially life-changing. It has already enabled me to feel “the peace… which passeth all understanding” – and which I desperately needed two hours ago.

God is real. He and His Son live and love each of us. The past week has been incredibly painful, but I’ve come to feel much closer to God and Christ because of it. And I’m grateful for that.


One Response to “That “peace… which passeth all understanding””

  1. Lara on July 12, 2010 10:43 am

    Sylvia, really loved this post. Sorry to hear about the break-up. Break-ups SUCK. There’s nothing easy about them. Sending lots of love your way.

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