Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Divine Characteristic: Vulnerability

". . . The God of heaven looked upon the residue of the people, and he wept; and Enoch bore record of it, saying, 'How is it that the heavens weep, and shed forth their tears as the rain upon the mountains?' And Enoch said unto the Lord, 'How is it that thou canst weep, seeing thou art holy, and from all eternity to all eternity? And were it possible that man could number the particles of the earth, yea, millions of earths like this, it would not be a beginning to the number of thy creations; and thy curtains are stretched out still; and yet thou art there, and thy bosom is there; and also thou art just; thou art merciful and kind forever . . . and naught but peace, justice, and truth is the habitation of thy throne; and mercy shall go before thy face and have no end; how is it thou canst weep?"
Moses 7:28-31, emphasis added
I find it humbling to know that the Lord weeps alongside us in our pain. Most of the time, when we are suffering, it is all too easy to feel utterly alone. It is easy to decide that He must not exist if He is capable of witnessing such pain, or that He must be impotent if He can stand by and do nothing, or that if He does exist, that He is not worthy of our worship.

But we are not alone.

I think one of the most powerful scriptural images for me is in the parable of the olive grove told in the Book of Mormon. In it, the Lord of the vineyard and His servant go to extraordinary lengths to try to preserve the delicious fruit of a dying tree. It seems to work for a time, then when the two return to the garden, they see that the delicious fruit is being choked out by unpleasant fruit.
"And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard wept, and said unto the servant: 'What could I have done more for my vineyard?'"
Jacob 5:41
I have had much occasion through the course of my life to feel the vibrancy of this plea for understanding. Despite doing my best, I often see my efforts come to nothing. Granted, I am not as powerful as the Lord, but I think I feel at least a small part of how and why the Lord can sorrow over us so poignantly and yet remain God.

Read carefully the answer the Lord gives Enoch. Perhaps by studying it, we can come to understand God a little better.
The Lord said unto Enoch, "Behold these thy brethren; they are the workmanship of mine own hands, and I gave unto them their knowledge, in the day I created them; and in the Garden of Eden, gave I unto man his agency; And unto thy brethren have I said, and also given commandment, that they should love one another, and that they should choose me, their Father; but behold, they are without affection, and they hate their own blood; . . .

'Behold, I am God; Man of Holiness is my name; Man of Counsel is my name; and Endless and Eternal is my name, also. Wherefore, I can stretch forth mine hands and hold all the creations which I have made; and mine eye can pierce them also, and among all the workmanship of mine hands there has not been so great wickedness as among thy brethren. But behold, their sins shall be upon the heads of their fathers; Satan shall be their father, and misery shall be their doom; and the whole heavens shall weep over them, even all the workmanship of mine hands; wherefore should not the heavens weep, seeing these shall suffer? . . . . And That which I have chosen hath pled before my face. Wherefore, he suffereth for their sins; inasmuch as they will repent in the day that my Chosen shall return unto me, and until that day they shall be in torment; Wherefore, for this shall the heavens weep, yea, and all the workmanship of mine hands."
Moses 7:32-40, emphasis added
God is eternal and endless, yet he can still suffer alongside us for the pain of mortality and temporary suffering.


  1. SilverRain,
    I am enjoying this series on Divine Characteristics and hope that you will continue with more....

  2. If one were to only read the old testament, most come away with the impression that God is a strict and stern God, fierce, and quick to punish his unruly children. Yet as these verses show that is not the dominate personality of God. These verses teach us several things:

    God is a God of great love and compassion for his children, as you said it grieves Him to see us suffer.

    God is totally committed to our agency, even though it causes him great lamentation over the loss of his children, he will not circumvent our agency.

    He offers repentance to us, his desire is for us to repent and be healed.

    It teaches us that the Atonement is available for those that choose to repent. They want to show us mercy.

    Even though they choose evil in this life, in their case he still offers them repentance and relief from their suffering in the future.

    It teaches me that I need to have compassion, empathy, and show love to those that are suffering, (whether it is self inflicted or not) they are part of my family.

    Thanks for the great post!

  3. I love these scriptures. Thanks for this post.

    You mentioned feeling alone. It is a great comfort to know that God is always with us. Yesterday I heard someone say that in addition to God we are never alone because we have ourselves. It sounded a little silly at first, but as I thought about it I realized that if I treated myself with more compassion and kindness I would be a better companion to myself and might feel fewer instances of loneliness.

  4. Love this. I'm behind on reading here...going to soak in your other divine characteristics posts. I can tell already that I'm going to love them.

  5. Thank you for your support, everyone. I only wish I could communicate how much it helps.


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