Where Does Blessing Begin?

Sep 8, 2019
1 min read

Recently I wrote a post about how God prunes our lives when they bear fruit.

Pruning involves damaging the plant, traumatizing it, and triggering a healing response. The intent is to improve the plant in the long run so it is more fruitful.

In pondering these things I wondered where the blessing actually begins. Does it begin when the fruit is actually being eaten, or maybe a little before when the fruit is fully ripe and ready to eat? Maybe it is before that when the flower appears or maybe it begins when the pruning starts. Maybe it started long before that when it was conceived in the mind of God eons ago.

Typically, we see blessings as the good things that happen in our lives. When there is joy, happiness, good fortune, etc. we say that we are blessed. Do we think of ourselves as blessed when we are being “pruned?”

And if God prunes with the intent to bless, would that mean that the blessing actually materializes in our lives when the pruning begins?

If God were to tell us all the ways he was going to “bless” us from now until the end of our days and we saw all of the pruning involved how many of us would shrink in fear at what is coming?

Elder Neal A. Maxwell was my favorite apostle who struggled with leukemia. While pondering, the following words came into his mind:

I have given you leukemia that you might teach my people with authenticity.

Neal A. Maxwell, “Revelation,” First Worldwide Leadership Training Meeting, Jan. 11, 2003, 6.

The ability to teach with authenticity is certainly a great blessing, but for Elder Maxwell, it came at the price of enduring a difficult struggle; the leukemia was a catalyst.

Questions for pondering

  1. How could this understanding inform us when we feel like we are being pruned by the Lord?
  2. Are all blessings pleasant to receive?
  3. How do we know when we are being blessed, pruned, or punished?
  4. If there is hardship in our lives right at this moment, what should we do about it?
  5. How many blessings are we unaware of because our heads are down and our minds clouded in despair?

3 Comments

  1. First let me refer to a piece I wrote years ago, had published in the Ensign and thereafter in numerous LDS books by other authors called Parable of the Lilacs ( Geri Walton). It is self explanatory regarding an aspect of purposes for trials not entirely cited above.
    THEN having progressed in my evolving willingness to evidence my faith and trust in God, recently I’ve been told I have Lewy Body Dementia .(Please review the symptoms and phases of this dementia and the short lifespan for sufferers.) I’m about 3 years into the disease presentation.
    To appreciate my disbelief in my “owning” this disease you would first have to know I often over 40 years had prayed acknowledging acceptance at not being pretty, intermittently being overweight and (laughingly) not having beautiful ankles and legs so many other women had. Within those prayer conversations with the Lord/God, I would thank him immensely for my great mind, creativity, visionary mindset and delightful memory. I would then ask, if it were possible, could I please retain those wonderful gifts.
    It took months and many tearful prayers to learn the Lord’s purposes.
    From scripture we learn Hannah prayed for a baby. When her prayers were answered, she cherished the first few mothering years, then gave her youngster to the prophet in the temple. The same high priest who had imagined her drunk or somehow incapacitated when, years earlier she’d been praying.
    We also learn of Zacharias’s lack of belief in God’s will when his wife, at a mature age had not become a mother. An angel reannounced the promise, he as much as laughed it off, and was struck dumb until his son was born and blessed.
    We can read about Abraham, Hagar, Sariah, and others. Add Book of Mormon leaders and we have many examples.
    The Lord’s response was clear and promising, if I might obey. He told me if I was desirous to gain desired “eternal” gifts, I must be willing to put my best gifts on the altar, just like those I honored in scripture.

    • Awesome comment, Geri, very inspirational. I crushed a disk in my back and have been in pain since, although recently I’ve had a small reprieve. It has been hard to be so limited so young when others are stronger and can do more. As a dad of four daughters I have often had to sit aside and not participate in some activities.

      I have come to accept this reality and have focused more on my spiritual and intellectual gifts as well and it has been immensely rewarding. I turn 40 this year so that will be a big milestone.

      I’m sad to hear of some of the hard things you have passed through but I’m glad that you have seen the light in God’s blessings. It think when we are all on the other side one day and this life is a distant memory, we may have moments where we wished that we had all endured this life a little better and been a little wiser.

    • Geri, it’s sad to read that after a life time of pruning people including children and grand children from your life that now you face the pruning of your memories. May I make a heart felt suggestion that you accept some day soon one of the many invitations to welcome family back into your life.

      Based on your comments here you have at most 5 years left to build some memories with family. You’ve gone more then 25 years without so much as hug or kind word spoken to many members of your direct family.

      Many extended family also care about you and have reached out with concern for your well being.

      This post most likely will be considered cruel by yourself and possibly others that lack ANY direct knowledge of your pruning shears.

      Please, please, please stop pruning and start loving instead.

      We forgive you for the lost time and pray that you can forgive yourself soon so the pruning can come to an end.

      Most likely this post will reach the authorities and make life worse for all but that is the risk we all must take when love and truth and the hope for family is at our core.

      Signed — Hopeless

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