The Golden Hammer Faith Staff Reports
2020 was a great year!
2020 has been a great year. Seriously. Specifically, it’s been a great year for those of us who have faith in God and all that He has revealed.
Now, let’s accept reality. There have been many bad, sad, or frustrating things which have happened during 2020:
- We’ve lost a lot of friends and family members. One of this community’s greatest friends and leaders, R.A. “Mickey” Deison, died from COVID-19 in October. He was a great lawyer, former Mayor of Conroe, and former County Judge. It’s hard to believe he’s gone.
- Many of us have suffered from illness and disease.
- We’ve witnessed horrible racial violence and horrible violence in response to it.
- There were political events, and some of us may have found the results unsatisfactory or even immensely frustrating.
- We’ve all made mistakes. We’ve all made serious mistakes. We’ve all committed sins for which we’ll undoubtedly suffer punishment.
It’s still been a great year. Really.
Let’s start with a set of questions:
Do ye exercise faith in the redemption of him who created you?
Do you look forward with an eye of faith?
Do you view this mortal body raised in immortality, and this corruption raised in incorruption, to stand before God to be judged according to the deeds which have been done in the mortal body?
If the answer to each of those questions is “Yes,” then your perspective about 2020 should be quite different from all of those people on this Earth who continuously bemoan 2020.
If you exercise faith in the redemption of him who created you, then those who have suffered this year, including those who have died and left their mortal bodies, will enjoy the redemption of their creator.
If you look forward with an eye of faith, then you should possess infinite hope always for the eternal life He has promised.
If you view this mortal body raised in immortality, and this corruption raised in incorruption, as preparing to stand before God to be judged according to the deeds which have been done in the mortal body, then 2020 has been a marvelous year to “remit sins, heal souls, raise the dead, triumph in all that is right and good, and trust the simplicity of the” answers found in the Scriptures, as Bruce McConkie wrote.
“It’s the times of difficulty which provide the greatest opportunities to accomplish those tasks. The most challenging times are the best times.”
Look at the example of Saul of Tarsus.
Remember that he was a wicked and idolatrous man. Saul hindered and persecuted the church of God and he stole the hearts of the Christians who followed God’s words.
And then Saul had many bad, sad, and frustrating things happen to him:
- He became dumb
- He couldn’t open his mouth
- He became weak
- He couldn’t move his hands
- He was helpless.
Eventually, he repented of his sins and he was redeemed of the Lord.
And what a marvel he became.
Without his version of 2020, however, Paul would never have gotten there.
So let’s take a hard look at 2020 again in the eyes of those who have faith.
We believe that our existence is analogous to a three-part continuum that consists of a premortal existence; a mortal life on earth of learning, testing and growth; and a postmortal existence as resurrected beings.
Even friends who died and never came to the Lord still have an opportunity to experience postmortal existence as a resurrected being. Their death was merely a part of that three-part continuum. All of those people who died this year from COVID-19 or from other causes have those same opportunities.
Meanwhile, those of us who remain in our mortal existence on this earth may continue to learn, endure tests, and grow.
2020 was a fantastic year precisely for those tests, precisely for those opportunities for us to exercise our agency or free will to turn to and apply the ordinances and principles of the gospel. Certainly, Saul faced a stiffer challenge, but the harder our circumstances, the greater our chance to thrive in those earthly tests.
Building upon the Apostle Paul’s teachings to the Corinthians, there are three degrees of glory: the celestial, terrestrial and telestial. While all human beings will receive the gift of eternal life, or an eternal union of the body and spirit, God desires for us to live in such a way that we also receive the gift of exaltation — eternal life with our families in God’s presence in the celestial kingdom.
What must we do to receive the gift of exaltation?
In part, we must face the tests of our mortal existence. Those tests present the opportunity for us to become Pauls.
It has been written:
“My son, be faithful in Christ; and may not the things which I have written grieve thee, to weigh thee down unto death; but may Christ lift thee up, and may his sufferings and death, and the showing of his body unto our fathers, and his mercy and long-suffering, and the hope of his glory and of eternal life, rest in your mind forever.”
2020 was a fabulous test.
2020 gave us the opportunity to shine.
2020 wasn’t anything compared to the test the Apostle Paul suffered.
It was one of our tests. There will be others.
And we should all say, “Lord, bring them on, for we are ready to serve You.”
2020 was a great year, because it was a year when we could learn, suffer tests, and grow, as the Lord wants us to do.
What an opportunity! What a marvel! What a chance to seek to earn the gift of eternal life with our families in God’s presence in the celestial kingdom!
In the name of Jesus Christ we pray,