PILGRIMS ON THE PATH OF GLORY

October 15, 2021
My wise cousin, Violet Rose Clift, wrote the very vulnerable essay below, about how her earthly father and Heavenly Father sustained her in the most painful moment of her life--and since then. It was a moment when she doubted whether God cared for her at all. Looking back, she can see that God was there. Looking back, she can see that she was sent down the path she needed to walk. I think the further she gets down that path, the more she will see that her destiny is glorious.

In October General Conference (2021), Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf referred to us as "pilgrims on the path of glory" and stated, "we know how easy it is to fall away." Many mid-singles unfortunately fall away because they erroneously believe that they have already fallen away from the mainstream of the church by remaining single or getting divorced.

As a mid-single, I often thought about Joseph, who was sold into Egypt. How lonely and forsaken by God he must have felt when his jealous brothers sold him as a slave in a foreign land. I'm sure he believed he had fallen away from his family. After working as hard as he could for Potiphar, he might have wondered how a just God could allow him to be framed for trying to seduce Potiphar's wife when it was really the other way around--and allow him to go to prison for a crime he didn't commit. I imagine that Joseph must have felt like Violet did and wondered if God had forgotten him.

But think about Joseph's improbable rise to power in Egypt. When called upon to interpret the Pharaoh's dreams, Joseph warned Pharaoh of a coming famine. He was elevated to a position of power second only to the Pharaoh, married to a member of the royal family, and saved a nation from hunger and starvation. When his family came to Egypt seeking food, his brothers begged his forgiveness for what they had done to him. Joseph wept and explain the deeper purposes of God:

"But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive” (Genesis 50:20.)

Joseph had come to understand that God had a divine purpose for the difficult path he had placed him on. His trial led to him becoming the leader of a nation who saved multitudes from starvation, including his own family. And Joseph forgave them and asked them to forgive themselves--as he recognized God's hand in all that had happened to him. He said:

”Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life.

. . . .
"And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt" (Genesis 45:5-8).

Joseph's journey into Egypt actually made him a pilgrim on the path of glory.

I wrote an earlier essay featuring President Ronald Reagan, as he told Tom Brokaw that if he had gotten a job he once wanted managing the sporting goods Department at a Montgomery Ward, he might still be working there instead of President of the United States. He experienced a deep disappointment that led to him becoming the most powerful person on Earth. He experienced heartbreaking disappointment in love at least twice before he united with the love of his life.

Like Joseph of old, many of us feel or have felt sold out by the people we loved most. In many cases, we have literally been sent away and had no choice in the matter. Many of us have experienced dark moments of feeling forsaken by God and unloved. And yet, if we could see what he sees, we would understand that even those who have tried to do us harm have unwittingly served God's purposes anyway.

If I had not been divorced twice and experienced other disappointments in love, I would not have met my queen, Cathy. If I had not been laid off from my corporate job in Houston, Texas, I might still be running oil and gas titles in East Texas instead of advising the Governor and the Attorney General on important issues of constitutional law. In a very real way, I feel like Joseph. The tragedies that brought me to my darkest moments also opened the way to my greatest opportunities for love and public service.

When you are inclined to feel like your life is all wrong, that the cosmos is out of balance, and that things are not as they should be, remember that God knows what He is doing. If you have been sold into Egypt by a loved one, know that God is charting your journey to a more glorious mission and a more radiant love.

Remember my friends, that "all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28.) YOU are called according to His purpose. You are pilgrims on the path of Glory.

VIOLET ROSE CLIFT:

It was May 3, 2019. My Dad was holding me so I wouldn’t collapse to the ground. My gut-wrenching sobs were filled with anger, fear, frustration, and...more anger. “Where is God in this? Does He even see me? Has He even heard my prayers? If not mine, has He heard yours? Or Mom’s? I’m sorry, but I just don’t see God in this. I don’t think He cares. About me, about my future....I’m invisible.”

And I felt AND MEANT every word.

There have been very few days go by since that day when I haven’t had some reminder of that moment. But the reminders are now filled with hope, because I’m able to look back and “see” where He was.

He was there holding me up. My Dad’s physical arms were holding me, but so were my Heavenly Father’s. I know now that He was weeping, too. He didn’t want me to feel that pain. But he knew that the outcome of that day was going to stretch me and make me grow. I know He wished there was another way, too. But, He knew I would grow and change and evolve into a strong, independent woman who would surprise even, NO....mostly, herself!!

As I came upon these words tonight, it struck me again how “looking back” is a gift. I know people who can, in the deepest part of their sorrow, say “God is good. We know He is with us.” I have not been “those people.” And I felt weak, been told by others I was ungrateful, and shamed myself for not at least SAYING that, even if I didn’t believe it?!

But no....looking back is a GIFT. And it a powerful gift, when we are looking back to see God.

I loved these words! I know so many people who are wondering right now “does He see me? Does He know who I am? Does He even care that I am PLEADING for help?” My heart reaches out to them because I HAVE BEEN THERE.

But just as he says here, “He knows how you feel. He is acutely aware of your heartache.” And, “you may not see His hand until you are looking back on this pain.”

I still have hard days. Lots of them. But just as He is acutely aware of me, I have become more aware of HIS presence. If you aren’t sure this will be YOUR story, please don’t give up. Please keep hanging on. Don’t stop putting one foot in front of the other. You WILL “see” Him. Because he DOES see you

💙💙
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