My little brother (I use the term “little” loosely because his is actually 6’8″), Matt, is serving as a Mormon Missionary across the world in Prague. He is having the time of his life and is learning so much about God and His children. He wrote me an email this past week and I want to share some of his insights with you, because they sure are insightful…
“Sister, I want to share with you a thought that came to me when I was praying one night. I had a lot of things on my mind, and I was feeling really restless. But then I started thanking my Lord for everything I had, and very quickly a huge feeling of gratitude rushed over me. But it wasn’t necessarily gratitude for my mission, for my family, or for what I hope to be a bright future. It was gratitude purely and simply for the gift of eternal life.
Eternal life is the greatest gift because everyone WILL receive it if they want it and work for it. Not much else has that kind of a guarantee on it. We can do our very best and work as hard as we can, but we still might lose our job. We can want to be the most attractive person on the face of the earth, but that certainly won’t change much. We can pray for a perfect, happy family, but we will all still experience varying degrees of success in family life. In many cases, that success will be based on the free will of others, and it will be out of our control. We can certainly change some of the things if we put forth effort, but in the end we’re going to have the life that God wanted us to have, not necessarily what we wanted. So if we do have these temporal blessings, let’s be grateful for them, but I believe that our gratitude should be primarily rooted in the gift of eternal life that God has given us, because everything else is really quite variable and unpredictable.
I feel like a lot of people get hung up on the temporal blessings when they forget the final great blessing. Our expectations quite often are not met when we seek out only the temporal blessings. All of us have countless unexpected turns throughout our life. Disappointments, but they shouldn’t be discouraging, because the one unchangeable, constant gift of Eternal Life is still available to all those who have sincere hearts and efforts. Getting hung up on the disappointments in this mortal life is comparable to being given a wonderful gift, and then throwing a fit because the box the gift came in isn’t your favorite color. This life is the box, it’s purpose is to merely deliver the gift, to make the gift available to us. But in the end, all that matters is that we open the box, and take the gift.
This thought has brought me a lot of peace. Our expectations for this life will not be met 100%. None of us are going to have the perfect “box”, but we’ll find that lasting happiness if we realize that the gift inside is infinitely more significant and valuable than the box itself.”