My blog on Come Follow Me: D&C 98-101
This revelation was given for the saints in Missouri, who were going through severe persecutions.
In the first verses the Lord is commending them for their faithfulness and prayers, promising to fulfill all their prayers. Yet, we see that not all those promises were fulfilled in the way we would expect. Many prayed to keep their homes in Jackson County and to build Zion. Often, the straightest path to the Celestial Kingdom and Zion is a crooked dirt road, or sometimes just a direction in which to blaze one’s own trail. These saints would gain Zion, but it would be in a stake elsewhere. Some would receive their promised blessings after this life.
In verse three, we learn that all of our afflictions are for our good and God’s glory. For this reason, in verse one, the Lord encourages us to give thanks in “all things.” It is an interesting concept that we see pop up occasionally in scripture. It isn’t a call to solely be grateful for our blessings and good fortune, but also for the trials, pains, and tribulations. How easy it is to complain when things are tough. How hard it is to give thanks for those struggles.
We can see the importance of having an eternal perspective, when it comes to both good times and heavy trials. We look forward to eternal life with hope, which is an “anchor to the soul” (Ether 12), and helps us make it through the difficult times. We struggle with modern trials: Covid pandemic, wild fires, hurricanes, flooding, climate change, failed wars, etc. Yet, consider the struggles of the early saints: