Will it ever get better? Part of me often wonders if living life as an active member of the Church, going against what my natural man wants and society expects... will ultimately bring me the joy and peace I hope it will. That's the most common question I hear in personal emails and heart-rending accounts. It's the question that drives guys to insanity, to suicide, to depression, to inactivity in the Church, to burn-out zeal. "I've done everything right - went on a mission, graduated, date frequently, served in priesthood leadership, and I've prayed every day since I was 12 to be healed... But it only seems to be getting worse. I just want to die. Is life, or life in the Church, worth it? Will I ever be healed? Will it ever get better?"

I asked God a similar question while writhing in more pain than I thought possible Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday of this week. I take extremely good care of my body... far beyond most "health-conscious" people. So when I prayed for guidance and felt strongly that I needed to treat my symptoms naturally, I was willing to adopt an extremely rigorous regime... but I also expected it to help. But when I prayed for help, the pain didn't go away. Not in the five minutes afterward, or even five hours of five full days. It didn't go away with a blessing. But in the blessing it promised that, if I did the right things, it would get better... and that gave me hope. 

People thought I was crazy. Some wondered why I didn't take the easy way out - surgery - and instead followed the prompting I had received. But, through it all, I knew, from God, that it would work out in the end. When I wondered if it was worth fasting for days and still being in pain, I remembered those words. It will get better. When friends tried to convince me I was wrong, I remembered. It will get better. When I lay in bed staring at the ceiling for hours on end, willing time to tick by as I missed social plans and life zoomed around me, I remembered. It will get better. And as I knelt throwing up the half-glass of water I had tried to drink, plus what felt like the walls of my stomach, tears running down my face from the pain, I remembered. It will get better.

One of my favorite songs growing up was "Tomorrow" from the musical Annie. The lyrics have a haunting reality to be sung by a girl who, even with a hard-knock life, can't truly understand their meaning...

"The sun will come out tomorrow... bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow ther'll be sun...
"Just thinking about tomorrow clears away the cobwebs and the sorrow till there's none...
"When I'm stuck with a day that's gray and lonely,
"I just stick out my chin, and grin, and say. 'The sun will come out tomorrow, so you gotta hang on till tomorrow, come what may!'
"Tomorrow! Tomorrow! I love you, Tomorrow - you're always a day away."

That's at least one reason that the Lord let me get sick beyond belief this week - so that He could re-teach me this lesson. It is worth it. It will always be worth it. And, if I am willing to do what is right, it will get better. It may take a lifetime of tomorrows, and a lifetime of painful, working todays. It probably means doing things much harder than bedrest and fasting for 5 days straight, and in the moment I will have pain much worse than acute appendicitis. But God is at my side. He knows what I am going through... and has felt my pain. He knows what I need to help me to humble myself and come unto Him, today, so that tomorrow I can be a better servant in His kingdom - far better than I ever imagined, tested and strengthened by far greater trials than I ever would have desired.

So is it worth it? Does it ever get better?

Yes... in the Lord's way.

I want to be normal - like everyone else. He wants me to be like Him. I want to be free of pain. He wants me to be invincible - that nothing could ever hurt me. I want to be loved and be in love. He wants me to love all men completely and unconditionally. I want to live my life in peace. He wants me to live my life as a testimony of His grace. In all the things I ask, He gives me what I need and the strength to do His will... and as I come closer to Him, I grow stronger and gain His perspective, and it gets better.

The attractions (and lack thereof for women), in my case, are still here. The urges and temptations still strike me. The feelings of absolute and total isolation and depression still hit like a ton of bricks, tossing aside my plans and dreams like chaff in a flood. But as I have turned to God and truly had faith in Him, my strength to weather my trials has increased. I can better understand the attractions, fight the temptations, and live through the depression and isolation because I, like the prophets of old, have hope that my life, and the world, can get better, tomorrow.

"Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world..." (Ether 12:4).

I woke up this morning for the first time in a week without a burning fever and pain in my side. I slept through the night and finally felt the last vestiges of pain disappear. I am well - completely and fully healed from a medical condition that, without surgery, usually results in death. And so when I walked outside and saw the sun rising, it was with tears in my eyes as I realized the promise God was making to me in the rest of my life. I may have to pass through pain, sorrow, loneliness, and despair. The world and Heavens may seem stacked against me. But, if I will follow Him, someday the clouds will clear. Someday my dreams will come true. Someday the pain will disappear, surpassed by joy beyond belief. He is in charge, and He knows what He is doing. It gets better.
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