Monday, April 13, 2009

That They Might Have Joy

When Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden of Eden for their choices, the Lord speaks to them in outwardly-harsh words, often referred to as the curse of Adam and Eve:
"Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

"And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return."

I have thought about this lately, especially in light of the oft-quoted scripture: "Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy."

I have felt the weight of this verse lately, guilty because I am not as joyful as I would like to be. But as I went back and read this scripture again, I saw that as it goes on, it becomes clear that joy is a choice. It is the Atonement which has made it possible for us to choose joy.

That being said, however, the words of Christ himself are the most poignant: "ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy. . . . ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you."

That is, after all, the message of Easter. It is not that Christ suffered and died for our sins. It is that He lives. It is that He lives so that our sorrows and sufferings, even our death, might end. Because of Him, there is light at the end of the long, dark tunnel of mortality. Because of Him, there is hope for healing. Our choices may cause pain for others, others' choices may cause us pain, but the Savior sealed this promise with His life: that pain has an end, that death itself has no power, and that we may be free from the hatred and judgment of Satan and those who listen to him.

It is true that this life is ordained to be a life of sorrow, but as a daughter of God still held in this mortal existence, I need not feel guilty for not now feeling the joy I long to feel. "Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning."

May the morning come soon.


  1. To combine a Buddhist concept with a Mormon outlook:

    "Life is pain, but we are here to learn to find the eternal joy amid the thorns of our flesh."

  2. Thank you, Ray. I think perhaps the purpose of the thorns is to help us appreciate the joy.

  3. "perhaps the purpose of the thorns is to help us appreciate the joy"

    I agree. I have a quote by Brigham Young about adversity on my fridge that says something to the effect that "It is impossible to properly appreciate happiness except by enduring the opposite".

    (I'm not by my fridge but if that's not the exact quote, it's pretty dang close). :)

  4. It doesn't seem to be enough that we aren't feeling joy but then we feel guilty about not feeling joy. I understand you.


Unfortunately, I've found it necessary to screen comments. Unless your comment violates the commenting policy, it will show up as soon as I can approve it.

Popular Posts