Tonight I was reminded how it is to feel edified.
At institute (our church's name for the scripture study class for young adults), we talked about using the cultural context of the scriptures to understand them better. The story in the Old Testament where the people of Israel are commanded to kill all the Canaanites was used as an example. For the first time ever, I could wrap my mind about this account that had so long bothered me and could even see the goodness of God in it. Which is proof that not every answer to a gospel question comes when we're 14 and impatiently demanding it, but that God waits for us to grow.
The spiritual insights of the evening are all too many to share, but one that really stuck out to me was that we shouldn't let our cultural norms or limited perspective keep us from trusting in God. After all, he's the God of the whole earth, isn't he? Which means he has to be big enough to be understood by those in Tonga, Korea, Nigeria, and the U.S. alike, not to mention those who have lived in all those places thousands of years before us and those who will live after us.
Which means we shouldn't freak out if some of his commandments or the ways he has asked people to live over time don't exactly match our standards of what's fashionable or politically correct (because our definitions of acceptableness are informed by only a few decades of human experience in, usually, just one part of the world). In other words, we're stuck in the forest with a compass while God has got the bird's eye view and access to Google Maps.
A classmate shared this related rhetorical question: "How come, in our society, we succeed by our own merits, but we blame God when things go wrong?"
The Guatemalan people don't do that. They're quick to praise the Lord and plead his help - maybe to the extreme of relying too much on Him and failing to act for themselves. But when things go wrong, it's rare to hear from them a complaint or a doubt of God's goodness. I think people there do wonder, like everyone everywhere does, but the socially acceptable thing to do there is praise Him anyway and marvel at His power.
I've learned so much from my chapines. I didn't know the learning would continue so profoundly even after I'd been home. And home for almost a year, at that.
But I'm so glad that no matter in what corner of the world I am or who I'm with, I can report to a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and learn something. And feel edified. I know that this is God's church, that Christ leads it through a living prophet today.