“All the Plenty Shall Be Forgotten”

When Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams, he explained not only the events which the dreams foretold but also the effect of those events on the people.

Behold, there come seven years of great plenty throughout all the land of Egypt:

And there shall arise after them seven years of famine; and all the plenty shall be forgotten in the land of Egypt; and the famine shall consume the land;

And the plenty shall not be known in the land by reason of that famine following; for it shall be very grievous.

Genesis 41:29-31

Joseph had some experience with extreme swings in fortune. He had gone from beloved son to slave, and from overseer of a wealthy man’s house to prison. He knew very well how current negative circumstances can overwhelm the memory of good times in the past.

Is it possible to feel more than one emotion at the same time? I’m not sure. After King Mosiah read the records of the people of Limhi and of Alma, his people “knew not what to think.” Some parts of the record filled them with “exceedingly great joy,” while others caused them to “shed many tears of sorrow” (Mosiah 25:7-11).

Like Mosiah’s people, we usually face heterogenous circumstances: some good and some bad. Are we to be joyful or despondent on a given day? Perhaps a little of both. Maybe that’s why so many of our prayers include expressions of gratitude and pleading for blessings.

Elder Neal A. Maxwell said, “The sharp, side-by-side contrast of the sweet and the bitter is essential until the very end of this brief, mortal experience” (“Enduring Well,” General Conference, April 1997). (See 2 Nephi 2:15.) Given that reality, we must not allow ourselves to forget or ignore the good when we pass through challenging times. We can intentionally remember the joy that we have felt before and look forward to joyful times ahead. We can also find ways to experience more joy and gratitude in our current circumstances.

Today, I will remember the plenty. As I evaluate my circumstances, I will find joy and be grateful for the blessings the Lord has given me and is still giving me.

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