On faith: Part 2 - Snowball effect

I have felt the effects of a bully only twice in my life. The first time turned out all right because I ended up sitting on him for the rest of recess. That was in first grade. I wasn't really picked on again until seventh grade--the first year of junior high school. A certain ninth grader enjoyed using me for snowball target practice on the way home from the bus stop. Naturally, snowballs were not the only thing he hurled in my direction.

One day, having endured just such a barrage, I walked into my house, stormed up the stairs to my room, and sat down on the floor in the corner behind my bed. Hot tears of anger boiled in my eyes.

I don't remember why, but I reached for a copy of The Book of Mormon that lay nearby. Perhaps it was because I'd been told that the scriptures held the power to answer our questions. Perhaps I didn't know where else to turn. For whatever reason, my twelve-year-old hands grabbed the book and fanned through the pages. I read only one verse, and that moment became what I remember as my first experience with God.

But behold, I, Jacob, would speak unto you that are pure in heart. Look unto God with firmness of mind, and pray unto him with exceeding faith, and he will console you in your afflictions, and he will plead your cause, and send down justice upon those who seek your destruction.

To my youthful mind, this was proof that God lived. He knew me. He loved me. More than that, he would send down justice on that punk who pelted me with snowballs! So began my personal relationship with a higher power.

Over the years, I have pondered this experience. My twelve-year-old self interpreted those words with a vengeful heart. A slightly older Tyler began to understand the same words in a different way, recognizing my own responsibility to seek God and choose his comfort in the face of affliction, leaving judgment to him. Regardless of my understanding, I do know one thing. On that wintry day, I chose to believe that the words on that page were real. They represented a truth that I could hold on to--a concept with the power to see me through difficult life experiences.
by Tyler Smith


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