This week I read Mosiah 23-27.
It must be so frustrating for God to see his sons and daughters embrace the truth, find great happiness and prosperity as they live righteously, then get comfortable and proud and slide into unrighteousness. This pattern is repeated SO many times in the Book of Mormon and the Bible as well. As a parent, I see my own kids feel so great about themselves and their lives when they're in positive patterns of working hard and being kind and getting enough sleep. But sadly, these happy times in their lives are all-too-often followed by some crash-and-burn as they get tired of trying hard or get distracted or simply forget. And I fall into these cycles of doing things right and getting comfortable then slipping a little and then ultimately ending up in a place I don't want to be. Maintaining good patterns in our lives is SO hard. We all know generally what is right. But doing it again and again, day in and day out, even when we're tried and we don't feel like it, is one of the hardest and most relentless challenges in this life.
There's a great reminder for all parents in the story of Alma's son and Mosiah's sons. They were born to great parents (Alma was a prophet and Mosiah was a righteous king). These boys were likely raised with truth and righteousness. But they not only fell away from the truth, they actively worked to "destroy the church of God, going about secretly to destroy the church and lead astray the people of the Lord." How terribly sad and frustrating for their parents! And what a blessing it was when an angel appeared to them and set them straight. I'm sure there are so many parents who earnestly wish for an angel to come along and help their wayward kids get back on the right path. But I like how this story points out that we should never loose hope when our children seem to be off track and that the Lord is there to help - usually in more subtle ways than sending an angel - but as we seek His guidance, He will help us see what we can do and He will send others to help them as well.
There have been several "angels" in my kids' lives. My kids are young and they haven't really had the chance to make big bad choices so far. But there have been many occasions when they could use some outside help and direction and I've been so grateful when that help and direction has come along. I've loved how neighbors, teachers, relatives and friends have often offered just the right words or suggestions at just the right time. Often they say exactly what I've been saying. But coming from someone else, it somehow is more powerful...
I hope and pray that there will be "angels" along the road ahead. I know we're going to need them.
And here's a video I stumbled upon that goes well with the messages of redemption I read about this past week. The kids and I just watched it together - we've decided to watch a few of these "Mormon Messages" together and talk about them every Sunday afternoon - opens up some great discussions.