1000 words in lieu of a picture?

Some things can’t be captured on film. Or digital memory, as in the case of my trusty 4S yesterday afternoon. I was driving near my house, facing the Western sky. The sun, which had been hiding behind a slew of storm clouds and a waterfall of rain earlier in the day, was now peaking out from a cheerful little tuft of cumulus. The roads were still wet from the generous downpour, and as I drove, the reflection of the sun on the pavement was excessively bright and nearly impossible to block from view. I even held up a hand to assist my squinting eyes, in effort not to be blinded by the radiance.

As frequently happens with majestic and mesmerizing occurrences in nature, the symbolism of this one hit me almost immediately. Maybe it’s just because of where my life is at the moment, and the struggles I’ve been witnessing in the lives of people I love. At any rate, I couldn’t help but think about this severe contrast and the events which contributed to this miracle.

For one thing, it required rain. A storm. Darkness and precipitation. Having seen and heard the storm firsthand, I knew exactly how much water was involved (a lot!). It also required the skies clearing, and the sun being allowed to show it’s full glory in the aftermath of the storm.

So it is with our lives. There are storms. Trials. Opposition. Obstacles so fierce that we sometimes wonder if we will make it through, and we rarely do so without being impacted in one way or another. We come through those tough times with cuts and scrapes and bruises, whether physically, emotionally, or spiritually. But eventually, the skies do clear. Life is good again. We begin to recognize the Lord’s hand more fully and we are filled with gratitude, joy, and light.

Lehi wisely explains, “it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things,” for man could have “no joy, [if he] knew no misery” (see 2 Nephi 2:11,23).

That really is so true. Contrast makes everything much more clear. Just as a tiny flashlight appears most powerful in a darkened cave, and sunshine more apparent when reflected on rain-soaked pavement, so also can the Lord’s blessings and mercy appear to us more prominent when viewed against the background of trials and hardship and despair.

I think the trick is learning to open our eyes (and/or take our hand down) to embrace and appreciate that gift for what it truly is. If you’re in the storm, don’t lose hope. Look ahead to the sunshine that will follow. If you’ve weathered the storm already, take time to say a prayer of thanks. And always, always, always remember that God is there for you through it all.

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