This week, before leaving on her next adventure, B asked me an interesting question which brought up the topic of the period of peace described in 4th Nephi.
We read that
“there were no contentions and disputations among them, and every man did deal justly one with another. And they had all things common among them; therefore there were not rich and poor, bond and free, but they were all made free, and partakers of the heavenly gift....and there still continued to be peace in the land. And there were great and marvelous works wrought by the disciples of Jesus, insomuch that they did heal the sick, and raise the dead, and cause the lame to walk, and the blind to receive their sight, and the deaf to hear; and all manner of miracles did they work among the children of men; and in nothing did they work miracles save it were in the name of Jesus.”
Here is described a cessation of disputes between neighbors, a sense of common stewardship and sharing, diminishment of class distinctions, no war, and miracles of healing in the name of Christ.
But knowing life, and having an idea of what life was like 2000 years ago, I sense that there was still physical, emotional and mental illness as well as injuries and death. Widows were still left to raise children, parents suffered the loss of a child, children grew up without mothers, spouses still had to learn how to live and communicate and forgive, children still worried their parents who had to learn, in their own ways, how to and not to rear them, political and religious leaders had to figure out how to respond to new dilemmas, crops still sometimes failed or houses burned down, and people still made stupid mistakes that they needed to repair.
Knowing Jesus and embracing his teachings, even in the most cohesive group of disciples, will not, in this life, prevent sorrow, pain, concern, struggles, trials or deep grief.
So, I'd change the Primary song.
There's a right way to live and be peaceful.
The gospel doesn't promise happiness in this life. But it does promise peace. Not the peace we usually think of: no worries, no troubles, no sorrow, no anxiousness. But the kind that Christ promised he would leave with his disciples: the kind that, in the midst of the hardest things, reduces our sense of troubledness and fear.
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
I believe He is describing a deep undercurrent that, in spite of waves of staggering grief or frightening danger, or deep frustration that we may also feel, settles in our core and carries us as we walk or stumble or struggle through.
It is choosing God's love everyday.
Moroni's admonition, chapter 7: “But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.