One of the many things I like about my church is that no one is paid to do any task. My dad, who is the bishop of a neighboring ward, performs many of the same duties one would expect from a pastor or minister of a protestant outfit, but he does so in addition to his full-time job as a defender of democracy.
Right now, I am serving as the pianist for the children’s organization. This means I play the piano while the little kiddos sing about Jesus and choosing the right, but it also means I have considerable down time. So I use the down time to read.
Today I was reading the Book of Mormon, in a section that goes on and on about all the wars the people were fighting. Compare it to books like the Samuels and the Chronicles in the Old Testament–laden with politics and geography. But occasionally, something relevant leaps out.
The chapter I read today describes the repercussions of war–destruction, loss of life. And eventually, this verse:
“But behold, they have received many wounds; nevertheless they stand fast in that liberty wherewith God has made them free; and they are strict to remember the Lord their God from day to day; yea, they do observe to keep his statutes, and his judgments, and his commandments continually; and their faith is strong in the prophecies concerning that which is to come.” –Alma 58:40
I’ve read this chapter a million times, but this was the first time that the word “wounds” felt different. Sure, the denotation in this chapter is the wounds so often suffered in war. But the connotation for present day can mean so much more. The wounds of daily life–including the wounds I sometimes feel from being relegated as little more than a CD player at church. Wounds from neglect, wounds from my life not being how I’d like it to be, wounds from whatever illness has a stranglehold on my body right now.
The trick in life is to be faithful despite the wounds. Despite the offenses. Despite all the physical weaknesses. It’s never easy, and some days I’m not even sure it’s worth it. But that’s the whole point of faith, isn’t it?