Celestial Homesickness or Why Life Isn’t Fair

The death of 49 people in Orlando is a tragedy. Is the solution more gun control? Less? More acceptance of gays? Less? More regulations for immigrants and refugees or more service and friendship? While we may not agree on how to process or react to the situation, we can all agree that it’s not fair. That violence and intolerance should not happen. Most of us desire a better world than we live in.

 

In my ideal world I’d live in a beautiful modern home in a valley with big trees and a creek behind. There’d be miles of meadow grass with no bugs and no irritating weeds to poke me or get caught in my socks. There would be no other homes nearby but if I wanted I could transport myself to see friends and family. Some of the trees would bear fruit that I could pick at any time of the year and would be filling and nutritious so I didn’t have to cook. I would still bake bread. And eat it warm with butter and honey.

 

In my ideal world there would be peace. There would be no headlines of 49 people killed in a gay bar. There would be no pornography. No child abuse. No war. No hunger. And life would not be so hectic. I would have time to relax, serve others, be with my family, and make a difference.

 

I have a friend whose ideal world would be living in a commune in a foreign country where life is simpler and everyone shares the same values. Where her children’s friends don’t have more money or more privileges. Where it would be safe for children to wander the neighborhood and use their imaginations, not electronics, to play and interact.

 

This desire for a better world is inherent in all of us. We have “celestial homesickness,” a phrase from a latter-day prophet, Howard W. Hunter. This idea is found in Hebrews 11:13-16 which speaks of those who are “strangers and pilgrims on the earth” who “desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.”

 

Homesickness is a longing for someplace we have known. Mormons or members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe that before we came to this earth we lived as spirits with our Heavenly Father, Heavenly Mother, and older brother Jesus Christ. All of us. Those who’ve lived before, who live now, and who will later live on this earth. Our Heavenly Father presented a plan in which we could come to earth, receive a body, and continue to grow and be tested to “show that we [would] keep God’s commandments.” (Elder Dallin H. Oaks, Ensign, April 2016, p. 114). Satan wanted to gain our Father’s honor and glory and make every person return to live with our Heavenly Father. He would have taken away our agency or choice. Our Savior, Jesus Christ said that He would atone for our wrong choices or pay the price for our sins if we would repent. These opposing proposals resulted in a “war in heaven” (Revelation 12:7). Those of us who chose to follow our Father’s plan came to earth knowing that we would be tested, that there would be opposition. Other spirits followed Satan and will never receive a body.

 

So why don’t we have that ideal world now if we all chose to come to this earth?¬†Why is life unfair? Why do bad things happen to good people? Why do evil men have power? Why when we want the same things, peace and safety, do we disagree on how to make that happen?

 

Because of that first choice. We didn’t want to be forced to return to our Heavenly Father. We didn’t want to be made to do what God wanted us to do. We didn’t want to have someone else choose for us. We wanted to choose for ourselves. And in order to choose, there has to be a choice. There has to be opposition. Good and bad. Sickness and health. Poverty and wealth. Service and greed. This is what we wanted. When we are allowed to choose, we learn and grow.

 

The irony is that the things we are unsatisfied with in this world, the unfairness, are necessary for us to learn and grown and eventually live in a better world. A world with our Heavenly Father again.

 

What can we do about in the world we live in now? In The Book of Mormon, the prophets taught the people of ancient America what God wanted them to do, “inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments, ye shall prosper in the land; but inasmuch as ye will not keep my commandments ye shall be cut off from my presence” (2 Nephi 1:20).

 

We need to keep Heavenly Father’s commandments and choose His plan again and again. We need to use the power of Jesus Christ’s atonement because we will not be able to make every choice perfectly. We aren’t perfect beings, yet. We are learning and growing. And bad things will happen to us, unfair things, whether by our choices, by another’s, or just because we live in an imperfect world. To prosper does not mean that everything will go our way all the time, but we will have the support of our Savior, Jesus Christ. The prophet Alma in The Book of Mormon testified, “I do know that whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day” (Alma 36:3).

 

I long for a better world as I experience the joys of this. I may not have an orchard of life sustaining fruits but I do have a patch of raspberries. I may not have a house in a secluded valley, but I have a home filled with people I love. I do not live free from worry but I know that I can turn to my Savior in prayer and as I keep the commandments, the distance between my ideal and my now will decrease as the Lord supports me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This entry was posted on Friday, June 24th, 2016 at 7:28 pm and is filed under I'm a Mormon. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One Response to “Celestial Homesickness or Why Life Isn’t Fair”

  1. Virginia Coleman Roundy Says:

    I love this! Thanks for putting your thoughts into words!

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