“I am encompassed about because of the temptations which so easily beset me.” (2 Nephi 4:18)
Did you know that encompassed and beset mean the same thing? Yup. Encircled; surrounded; enclosed; pressed in on all sides; besieged.
For me, this verse could be said another way: “I am surrounded by the temptations which find it so easy to press in on me from all sides.”
Yeah, Nephi my pal, aren’t we all.
A friend told me, and please correct me if I’m wrong, that many other faiths believe that when trials come upon you, it’s because you’ve done something wrong—punishment, so to speak. If that’s the case, I must be screwing up on a consistent basis.
Latter-day Saints have a different view. Trials and tribulations, aka crap, come to us because we are in school. This life is the time to prove ourselves to ourselves. Our Father in Heaven knows what we’re made of, but we have to gain that knowledge. This requires some serious wading through crap to become stronger and smarter.
Case in point: The Lord told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac not because God wondered just what Abraham and Isaac would do, He knew full well; Abraham and Isaac needed to realize just how far they would go to obey the Lord. They needed to learn what they were made of.
We are no different, though thankfully we aren’t asked to sacrifice our children. (But there are those times… sorry, I digress.)
We will be surrounded by trials and temptations. There is no escaping it. Consider what Helaman has to say, “ .. that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea his shafts in the whirlwind … ” (Helaman 5:12)
Note it does not say, “maybe when,” just “when.” And if you want a good visual to go along with this verse, think of arrows in a tornado. Such is the way of hardships and temptations. They come at you from all sides. And they WILL come. You can bet your bottom dollar. (Just what is a “bottom dollar” anyway? Regardless, I will bet it. )
Alma had a few words to say on the matter. If we are true to Christ, “[we] shall not be beaten down by the storm at the last day; yea, neither shall [we] be harrowed up by the whirlwinds; but when the storm cometh [we] shall be gathered together in [our] place, that the storm cannot penetrate [us]; yea, neither shall [we] be driven with fierce winds whithersoever the enemy listeth to carry [us].”
All words to rally to, but note the “certainess” of the verse. These things will happen as we live out our lives here on the Big Blue Marble.
My faith may be strong, and I may have a pretty good understanding of why crap falls on me, but regardless, there are times I cry:
“Master, carest thou not that [I] perish? And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto [me], Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?”
Hard times will come. Temptations will beset. Trials will besiege. But, the Master of the wind and waves has overcome them all. I have no reason to be fearful. Everything will be all right in the end, and if it’s not all right, it’s not the end.