“Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee” (Jeremiah 1:5).

I have to imagine that in our pre-mortal life the idea of coming to Earth, although no doubt exhilarating, must have sent chills down our spirit spines. Not only would we have to face unspeakable opposition, perhaps more frightening still, we would have to face ourselves. Indeed, we would have to answer the question, “Who am I—really?” And the fact that we would be playing for keeps—that so much would be on the line—must have made at least some of us question God’s wisdom, maybe even his love. At the very least, it must have made the more sober among us question the limits of our loyalty to Him. How could it be otherwise? I can’t imagine that it was lost on us that “many [would be] called, but few chosen.”

To be sure, as the above scripture indicates, our experience on Earth was going to break, relatively speaking, a great many of us. The question, therefore, that must have occupied a great deal of our imagination was, “Is it going to break me, too?” And, as we’ve come to know, there was only one way to find out.

In the ominous words of Kurt Vonnegut, “Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth.”

Make no mistake: to come to Earth is an unspeakable and sacred privilege. To have the opportunity to even open the door to our unlimited potential is its own reward. But it comes at a cost. Earth is no picnic. To actually realize our potential requires that our loyalty to God be absolute. And in the face of both pleasure and pain, among other things, the limits of that loyalty will surely be tested.

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