I was talking with my dad today, and thinking about all the things that have happened in my life over the last few years.

Mixed in with music, writing, the MBA, and everything else, I've had a closer look at how the Lord works in repentance than I ever imagined.

I've seen it before. I served a mission in Italy, with 9 months in Naples - and the mob is cultural reality. Half the people I taught were part of the mob, and I became conversant with the things they'd have to do to get baptized if they were willing to change.

And then (G)MG became a part of my life. And I became a bystander to watch as God did everything in His power to help His children repent.

Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you whom I love, and whom I love I also chasten that their sins may be forgiven, for with the chastisement I prepare a way for their deliverance in all things out of temptation, and I have loved you... (D&C 95:1)

It amazes me. Honestly and truly. Someone tells me about their relationship with a bishop and I'm shocked by the bishop's leniency. Another shares and I'm shocked by his strictness. I watch as God chastens His sons and daughters, puts them through intense humbling experiences, pushes them to the edge of their ability to bear... and then beyond.

All with the goal of changing them into new creatures in Christ. Giving them the hardest/best experiences possible to open their hearts and humble their souls.

I realize that one of the main purposes of life is to help us become like Christ, and that we need intense experiences to help us become who God sees in us.

But sometimes I find myself wondering.

And it helps me remember how utterly incompetent I am when it comes to knowing someone's heart. I'd excommunicate this person; his stake president does nothing. I'd wrap my arms around that one; his bishop calls him to repentance.

Are these priesthood leaders making the right decisions? The best decisions? Those that will help their members come closest to Christ? I don't know. Is there any way to know? The only evidence I have is of outcome, and the Spirit, and the jury is still out on the former. Some guys make the choice to come back - to change their lives and truly commit to being different. Some turn away. And some of those come back years later.

And then I have the scripture in Romans - the scripture that has been most influential in making my life make sense:

And we know 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).

All things work together for good to them that love God. All things.

In this scripture is a promise - if I will love God and serve Him, everything in my life will work together for good. Everything will be a blessing. And the same thing will happen in the lives of the people I meet each day.

From that perspective, I guess the main thing is whether or not my experiences push me to love God and allow Him to be a part of my life. If I'm close to Him, I could go through anything and it would turn out for my good.
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