Hand in Hand: Divine Nature

{this post is third in a series of nine about how the Young Women’s values have helped me prepare to serve a mission. Check out the first and second posts here on APG}

Divine nature has been on my mind quite a bit the past few days. Coming home to Cromwell and seeing all the young women in my ward growing up faster than I believed possible sparked it. Seeing them last Sunday, and realizing how much they’ve matured while I’ve been away didn’t surprise me – it honestly made me so proud to know each of them. They might not realize it, but others can see in them so much potential, and certainly the light of Jesus Christ.

It’s not only that they have that light of Christ, but that they strive so diligently to see it in others. I received a text message from one of the young women, whom I consider to be a little sister, talking about how she wished that everyone could see how much God loved them. She was referring to a friend who was struggling with her own self-worth and self-confidence, and to see her look beyond any shortcomings and have a prayer in her heart that her friend could know that she was loved made me think about the divine nature of God’s children, and how we don’t always allow ourselves to see it. We at times see it in another, but not necessarily in ourselves.

As I’ve drawn closer to Christ personally, I’ve come to see my own divine nature, as well as that of others. It has been a real blessing as I am preparing to serve – it helps me remember and focus on the fact that the people that I will be called to serve are each so precious, and so very loved by their Father in Heaven, and by Jesus Christ.

Divine nature, as explained in the Personal Progress book, refers to the fact that we are all spirit sons and daughters of our Father in Heaven. Because of this, we have been granted to opportunities to develop qualities that draw our spirits closer to Him. There are many qualities we have been given the opportunity to develop, including faith, patience, diligence, kindness, and charity.

Just because we have these qualities, and more importantly, the opportunity to develop them, does not mean life will be easy. Therein lies the beauty of it all – we have these trials and tribulations in life, and they are not easy. They are heartbreaking, and soul-bearing, they are painful, and can make you feel very alone. But these trials are meant for our refinement. Trusting in God and in His Son gets us through it all.

As a child, I loved to watch glass artisans. Their work was magic to me, watching them create magnificent figures from what was once sand. As I grew older, I saw in these glass workers a metaphor. They thrust their blowpipe (a long, hollow pipe) into a furnace gathering molten glass, and began to shape it. Some would use tools to shape and pull the glass into the form they desired. Others blew hard into the pipe, causing the bubble of molten glass at the end to expand. The heat – our trials – is necessary to add shape and color to the glass. The piece must be extremely hot in order to accept the bits of colored glass, called frit, and to incorporate it into its shape. The heat also serves to keep the glass from breaking as it is drawn, spun, and blown. The heat is necessary to shape a glob of molten glass into something wonderful, beautiful, and useful. God is the artist, and we are the glass. It isn’t until we’re thrust into the furnace that we are able to become what he desires us to be. The potential was always there, but it takes the fire to make the sand become beautiful glass. {for more on this idea, check out this post I wrote in 2011}

Elder Paul V. Johnson, in his 2011 talk entitled “More Than Conquerors Through Him That Loved Us”, quotes Elder Orson F. Whitney:

No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. … All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable. … It is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation, that we gain the education that we come here to acquire.

This mortal existence is all about experience that draws us closer to God. How does this help me as a missionary? Two ways.

Number 1: I am a spirit daughter of my Heavenly Father, meaning that if I live worthily, I am entitled to certain things. I am entitled to ask Him for help. I am entitled to eternal progression, to be with my family forever, to be forgiven my sins and mistakes, and to be strengthened in my weakness.

Because I am entitled, I am also held accountable, and have responsibilities. One of these responsibilities is to share the Gospel. To recognize others as sons and daughters of God, who are just as entitled to His love and His word. As I strive to draw closer to Him, I will be more able to connect with my brothers and sisters that I am called to teach. I want to them to know that they are so dear to their Father in Heaven, and that He is indeed their Father. I want them to progress and become the people that they want to be, to become what their Father sees in them.

Number 2: Once you recognize your own divine nature, you’re able to see more clearly the divinity in others. You see it in them, and you want nothing more than for them to draw closer to their Father and to Jesus Christ. Everyone has that potential, and seeing it helps you to love them. Love them with all your heart. That’s what will keep you going. That’s what will help you knock on doors and reschedule appointments. It will help you understand that they are bigger than their trials, that they have the strength deep down to overcome any doubt, addiction, or hesitation.

Strength and honor

Recognizing divine nature is so important to serving, whether in the field with a black tag on, or within your own homes and communities.

As I was reading in my scriptures while preparing for this post, I came across Proverbs 31. This passage of scripture caught my attention, and I read it over a few times, each time loving it more and more. My favorite verse is 25.

This summed up divine nature for me. We are called to be the sons and daughters that God sees us as – divine, of infinite worth and of infinite potential. Eventually, after all the trials and sorrows, we will be able to see ourselves as God sees us, and perhaps more importantly, we will be able to see our brothers and sisters as He sees them.

When we can see that, we find ourselves rejoicing with our sisters and brothers that we are children of God, that we are infinitely loved, and that we have the opportunity to become like Him.

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