Last night I was reading in second Nephi 7, which mirrors Isaiah 50, and I came across a verse that seemed to hit me in a couple of ways.
11 Behold all ye that kindle fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks, walk in the light of ayour fire and in the sparks which ye have kindled. bThis shall ye have of mine hand—ye shall lie down in sorrow.
I wrote a couple of thoughts down, that seem to show a couple of different sides to this verse. The first came from my current attempt to understand the idea of leaning into discomfort, and removing all denial from my life. I wrote:
If we are brave enough to kindle the fire (in this interpretation connection with God) and walk in the light there of, we will be faced with sorrow. Godly sorrow comes to mind. (a la Moses 7:28-37) If we stay in the darkness, never seeking any light source, we will continue to deny reality, along with the pain that inevitably comes with it. Reading this tonight seemed to be a call to leaning into discomfort, leaning into pain and sorrow so that I can know what needs to be healed.
I then wrote about the other interpretation that came to mind. It was a more painful interpretation that I think I would have ignored, had I not just experienced the previous interpretation. I would have ignored it because it is painful. Had I not been blessed with the first inspiration, I would have likely ignored the second.
The other side I see in this verse is that if we depend too much on our own fire instead of the Lord’s, we will continue in sorrow, not being able to cross over into Joy.
I have a tendency to depend on my own fires. I look to the Lord, but not as a first resort. I live in an intellectual realm, and often forget to integrate the fire of the Lord into my life as much as I probably should. When I consider it, I tell myself that I am a pretty smart guy, and that understanding the mechanics of things is of greater import than the simplistic answers that we so often find in superficial lessons taught at church. The thing is though, there is an incredible complexity that is activated by the simplistic. It is more complicated than I understand, which often will lead me to not bathe in the river or look at the serpent. I think this is pretty well exactly what Alma was talking about in Alma 33:19-21.
Complexity, it seems is often disguised in simplicity.