I have had a little bit of a hard week this week (and last week honestly!) especially because Lily is in a sleep regression, was sick, then I was sick. Everything has just been a little tough lately, and I won’t really complain much, because I know I am very blessed and hard days come and go, but it’s ok to recognize the hard days and go through the motions to get to better days. This morning I was reading in 2 Nephi 2 where Lehi is giving last words to his son, Jacob, before he died. Jacob was Lehi’s first child born in the wilderness, and he experienced a lot of trials because of his older brothers and their situation overall. Despite this and his young age, Jacob was faithful in listening to his father and to Nephi. In verse 1 and 2, Lehi tells Jacob,
“1. And now, Jacob, I speak unto you: Thou art my firstborn in the days of my tribulation in the wilderness. And behold, in thy childhood thou hast suffered afflictions and much sorrow, because of the rudeness of thy brethren.
2 Nevertheless, Jacob, my firstborn in the wilderness, thou knowest the greatness of God; and he shall consecrate thine afflictions for thy gain.”
I don’t always receive comfort or revelation when I read the scriptures. I guess it just isn’t normally the way the Spirit speaks to me, but this was important, and I knew it. Jacob had dealt with a lot of crap. He was born into a difficult situation and wanted to be good. He knew of the “greatness of God” and because he was righteous, he was told that “he shall consecrate thine afflictions for thy gain”. We all face difficulties and bad days, but our afflictions don’t have to be in vain. We don’t have to suffer meaninglessly. Our trials can instead be for our gain when we are working to live righteously. When we don’t give up, when we keep praying, when we keep Christ at the center of our lives even though it’s hard, our trials and difficulties can be seen as they really are- opportunities to grow faith and to receive blessings. It doesn’t seem like it at the time, and it’s hard to keep an eternal focus when we’re struggling, feeling defeated and down, but the Lord is on our side and He NEVER loses His eternal focus. As we strive to keep the Spirit as our companion, we will see how our afflictions are consecrated for our gain.