See also: D&C 122:5-9; Daniel 3:17-18; Mosiah 24:14-15
“If thou art called to pass through tribulation; if thou art in perils among false brethren; if thou art in perils among robbers; if thou art in perils by land or by sea;
“If thou art accused with all manner of false accusations; if thine enemies fall upon thee; if they tear thee from the society of thy father and mother and brethren and sisters; and if with a drawn sword thine enemies tear thee from the bosom of thy wife, and of thine offspring, and thine elder son, although but six years of age, shall cling to thy garments, and shall say, My father, my father, why can’t you stay with us? O, my father, what are the men going to do with you? and if then he shall be thrust from thee by the sword, and thou be dragged to prison, and thine enemies prowl around thee like wolves for the blood of the lamb;
“And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.
“The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?
“Therefore, hold on thy way, and the priesthood shall remain with thee; for their bounds are set, they cannot pass. Thy days are known, and thy years shall not be numbered less; therefore, fear not what man can do, for God shall be with you forever and ever.” — D&C 122:5-9
The pattern of the Lord is for His children to make decisions based upon eternal truth. This requires that your life continue to be centered in the commandments of God. Thus, decisions are made in accordance with unchanging truths, aided by prayer and the guidance of the Holy Ghost. In addition to your own strength and capacity, you will enjoy divine inspiration and power when needed. Your actions will be predictable and will bless the lives of all in the circle of your influence. You will have a meaningful life of purpose, peace, and happiness.
There is no guarantee that life will be easy for anyone. We grow and learn more rapidly by facing and overcoming challenges. You are here to prove yourself, to develop, and to overcome. There will be constant challenges that cause you to think, to make proper judgments, and to act righteously. You will grow from them. However, there are some challenges you never need to encounter. They are those associated with serious transgression. As you continue to avoid such mistakes, your life will be simpler and happier. — Elder Richard G. Scott, “Living Right,” Ensign, Jan. 2007, p. 13
All who desire exaltation must be tested and tried to be proven in all things. President Harold B. Lee said: “Some of us have been tried and have been tested until our very heart strings would seem to break. I have heard of persons dying with a broken heart, and I thought that was just a sort of a poetic expression, but I learned that it could be a very real experience. I came near to that thing; but when I began to think of my own troubles, I thought of what the apostle Paul said of the Master, ‘Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.’ (Hebrews 5:8, 9)
“Don’t be afraid of the testing and trials of life. Sometimes when you are going through the most severe tests, you will be nearer to God than you have any idea, for like the experience of the Master himself in the temptation on the mount, in the Garden of Gethsemane, and on the cross at Calvary, the scriptures record, ‘And, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.’ (Matthew 4:11) Sometimes that may happen to you in the midst of your trials.” (In Conference Report, Munich Germany Area Conference 1973, p. 114) — Elder Ray H. Wood, “Our Thorns in the Flesh,” Ensign, Feb. 2003, p. 35; Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual, pp. 238-39
I’ve read that many times, but had not received the full significance until I was down in Old Mexico a few years ago at Telacapaca where they feature the molding of clay into various kinds of pottery. There I saw them take lumps of clay which had been molded, usually by crude, primitive methods, the molder wading in the mud to mix it properly. Then it was put upon a potter’s wheel, and there the potter began to fashion the intricate bits of pottery which he was to place on the market. And as we watched, we saw occasionally, because of some defect in the mixing, the necessity for pulling the whole lump of clay apart and throwing it back in to be mixed over again, and sometimes the process had to be done several times before the proper kind of mud was mixed for the potter. With that in mind, I thought I began to see the meaning of this scripture: “We are as clay in the hands of the potter, and we are all the work of His hands.” Yes, we too, have to be tried and tested by poverty, by sickness, by the death of loved ones, by temptation, sometimes by the betrayal of supposed friends, by affluence and riches, by ease and luxury, by false educational ideas, and by the flattery of the world. — President Harold B. Lee, BYU Speeches of the Year, October 1956, p. 3
In fact, adequacy in the first estate may merely have ensured a stern, second estate with more duties and no immunities! Additional tutoring and suffering appears to be the pattern for the Lord’s most apt pupils. (See Mosiah 3:19; 1 Peter 4:19.) Our existence, therefore, is a continuum matched by God’s stretching curriculum. — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, Ensign, November 1985, p. 17
In biblical times the yoke was a device of great assistance to those who tilled the field. It allowed the strength of a second animal to be linked and coupled with the effort of a single animal, sharing and reducing the heavy labor of the plow or wagon. A burden that was overwhelming or perhaps impossible for one to bear could be equitably and comfortably borne by two bound together with a common yoke. His yoke requires a great and earnest effort, but for those who truly are converted, the yoke is easy and the burden becomes light.
Why face life’s burdens alone, Christ asks, or why face them with temporal support that will quickly falter? To the heavy laden it is Christ’s yoke, it is the power and peace of standing side by side with a God that will provide the support, balance, and the strength to meet our challenges and endure our tasks here in the hardpan field of mortality.
Obviously, the personal burdens of life vary from person to person, but every one of us has them. Furthermore, each trial in life is tailored to the individual’s capacities and needs as known by a loving Father in Heaven. Of course, some sorrows are brought on by the sins of a world not following the counsel of that Father in Heaven. Whatever the reason, none of us seems to be completely free from life’s challenges. To one and all, Christ said, in effect: As long as we all must bear some burden and shoulder some yoke, why not let it be mine? My promise to you is that my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (See Matt. 11:28–30.) — President Howard W. Hunter, “Come unto Me,” Ensign, November 1990, p. 17
I testify that in eloquent example He partook voluntarily of the bitter cup in the awful, but for Him avoidable, Atonement; we must, therefore, drink from our tiny cups. I thank Him for likewise not interceding on our behalf, even when we pray in faith and reasonable righteousness for that which would not be right for us. Our glimpse of Gethsemane should teach us that all prayers are petitions! — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “Jesus of Nazareth, Savior and King,” Ensign, December 2007, p. 47
Everyone, including (and perhaps especially) the righteous, will be called upon to face trying times. . . .
We are not alone in our little prisons here. When suffering, we may in fact be nearer to God than we’ve ever been in our entire lives. That knowledge can turn every such situation into a would-be temple. — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “Lessons from Liberty Jail,” CES Fireside, BYU, September 7, 2008
If my siblings had sold me into slavery, I’m absolutely certain I would feel more than a little angry and a lot betrayed! Yet this didn’t seem to be the case with Joseph of old, whose brothers did sell him into slavery. Much later, when Joseph’s opportunity for revenge arrived, those years of affliction had given him perspective on what mattered most. After Joseph identified himself to his brothers, his sensitivity to their concerns revealed his understanding of the purpose of his affliction: “Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life” (Gen. 45:5). — Bonnie D. Parkin, Relief Society General President, “Lessons from the Old Testament: Blessed in My Affliction” Ensign, March 2006
Joseph was a great man partly because he could recognize opportunity in affliction. Few of us have been sold into slavery, but all of us have experienced affliction. Do we recognize opportunities in our affliction? — Bonnie D. Parkin, “Lessons from the Old Testament: Blessed in My Affliction,” Ensign, March 2006, p. 9
The Lord permits suffering. Sometimes when we see the tragedies that occur in the world we comfort or think to comfort those who mourn by saying that it is the Lord’s will. Tragic accidents, and things that are hard to explain, and we say it’s the Lord’s will. Now, I want you to think and ask you to consider now, is it proper to say by the Lord’s will, or would it be more correct to say by the Lord’s permission? Now you see what a different look it puts upon the whole of life. Satan couldn’t touch Job’s body until the Lord gave him permission, and when He gave him permission to bring boils upon him He said, “But don’t destroy his life. You may afflict his body but don’t destroy his life.” (See Job 2:6.) He could only go so far as the Lord permitted. And then the Master said, “No man taketh my life; I lay it down of myself. I could command a legion of angels. I give it; no man taketh it from me.” (See John 10:18; Matthew 26:53.) Moroni speaks the same truth: He permits, He “suffereth the righteous to be slain that his justice and judgment may come upon the wicked” (Alma 60:13). Now, not by His will; He permits it, he says. (62-02) — The Teachings of Harold B. Lee, p. 187
While most of our suffering is self-inflicted, some is caused by or permitted by God. This sobering reality calls for deep submissiveness, especially when God does not remove the cup from us. In such circumstances, when reminded about the premortal shouting for joy as this life’s plan was unfolded (see Job 38:7), we can perhaps be pardoned if, in some moments, we wonder what all the shouting was about. — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, Ensign, May 1985, p. 72
Perhaps the best-known Old Testament example of perseverance is the story of Job. As you know, it narrates the afflictions that befell a righteous man and considers reasons for those afflictions. It does not entirely answer the question of why Job, or anyone, might suffer pain and sorrow, but does state clearly that affliction is not necessarily a sign of God’s anger and a punishment for sin, as Job’s friends told him. The book suggests that affliction, if not for punishment, may be for experience, discipline, and instruction (see Bible Dictionary, LDS edition of the King James Version, s.v. “Job”).
I do not know of anything that members of the Church need more than they need the conviction and perseverance of Job. He was a just man who feared God and avoided evil. After the Lord allowed Satan to torment Job, his afflictions included the loss of his seven sons and three daughters, the loss of his wealth in flocks and herds, and serious physical illnesses. Remaining faithful to the Lord through his indescribable sorrow and suffering, Job was able to say, “Blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21). “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him. . . . He also shall be my salvation. . . . For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth. . . . Yet in my flesh shall I see God” (Job 13:15-16, 19:25-26).
The result of Job’s perseverance is told in the conclusion of the story. The Lord blessed him with a family, good health, and great possessions. He continued in his course, despite unrelenting opposition, until he saw the Lord (see Job 42:5). — Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, Ensign, November 1987, p. 8
The Lord has made no secret of the fact that He intends to try the faith and the patience of His Saints. (See Mosiah 23:21.) We mortals are so quick to forget the Lord: “And thus we see that except the Lord doth chasten his people with many afflictions . . . they will not remember him” (Helaman 12:3) . . . .
However, the Lord knows our bearing capacity, both as to coping and to comprehending, and He will not give us more to bear than we can manage at the moment, though to us it may seem otherwise. (See D&C 50:40; 78:18.) Just as no temptations will come to us from which we cannot escape or which we cannot bear, we will not be given more trials than we can sustain. (See 1 Corinthians 10:13.) . . . .
President Brigham Young said of a geographical destination, “This is the place.” Of God’s plan of salvation, with its developmental destination, it can be said, “This is the process”! — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, Ensign, November 1982, p. 67
May I extend a word of caution? There are those who feel that if we follow the Savior, our lives will be free from worry, pain, and fear. This is not so! The Savior Himself was described as “a man of sorrows.” Those early disciples who followed the Christ experienced great persecution and trials. The Prophet Joseph Smith was no exception. Nor were the other early Saints of this last dispensation. And it is no different today. — Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, Ensign, May 2002, p. 17
There is little room for feelings of guilt in connection with handicaps. Some handicaps may result from carelessness or abuse, and some through addiction of parents. But most of them do not. Afflictions come to the innocent. — Elder Boyd K. Packer, Ensign, May 1991, p. 8
And the Prophet Joseph Smith stated that it was an “unhallowed principle” to assume that a person is unrighteous because he is preyed upon by death or illness. — Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith, p. 162
We have trials to face because our Heavenly Father loves us. His purpose is to help us qualify for the blessing of living with Him and His Son, Jesus Christ, forever in glory and in families. To qualify for that gift, we had to receive a mortal body. With that mortality we understood that we would be tested by temptations and by difficulties.
The restored gospel not only teaches us why we must be tested, but it makes clear to us what the test is. The Prophet Joseph Smith gave us an explanation. By revelation he was able to record words spoken at the Creation of the world. They are about us, those of the spirit children of our Heavenly Father who would come into mortality. Here are the words: “And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them.”
That explanation helps us understand why we face trials in life. They give us the opportunity to prove ourselves faithful to God. So many things beat upon us in a lifetime that simply enduring may seem almost beyond us. That’s what the words in the scripture “Ye must . . . endure to the end” seemed to mean to me when I first read them. It sounded grim, like sitting still and holding on to the arms of the chair while someone pulled out my tooth.
It can surely seem that way to a family depending on crops when there is no rain. They may wonder, “How long can we hold on?” It can seem that way to a youth who is faced with resisting the rising flood of filth and temptation. It can seem that way to a young man struggling to get the training he needs for a job to support a wife and family. It can seem that way to a person who can’t find a job or who has lost job after job as businesses close their doors. It can seem that way to a person faced with the erosion of health and physical strength which may come early or late in life for them or for those they love.
But the test a loving God has set before us is not to see if we can endure difficulty. It is to see if we can endure it well. We pass the test by showing that we remembered Him and the commandments He gave us. And to endure well is to keep those commandments whatever the opposition, whatever the temptation, and whatever the tumult around us. We have that clear understanding because the restored gospel makes the plan of happiness so plain.
That clarity lets us see what help we need. We need strength beyond ourselves to keep the commandments in whatever circumstance life brings to us. For some it may be poverty, but for others it may be prosperity. It may be the ravages of age or the exuberance of youth. The combination of trials and their duration are as varied as are the children of our Heavenly Father. No two are alike. But what is being tested is the same at all times in our lives and for every person: will we do whatsoever the Lord our God will command us? — Elder Henry B. Eyring, Ensign, May 2004, pp. 16-17
The Lord in His wisdom does not shield anyone from grief or sadness. . . .
How can we love days that are filled with sorrow? We can’t—at least not in the moment. I don’t think my mother was suggesting that we suppress discouragement or deny the reality of pain. I don’t think she was suggesting that we smother unpleasant truths beneath a cloak of pretended happiness. But I do believe that the way we react to adversity can be a major factor in how happy and successful we can be in life.
If we approach adversities wisely, our hardest times can be times of greatest growth, which in turn can lead toward times of greatest happiness. . . .
Learning to endure times of disappointment, suffering, and sorrow is part of our on-the-job training. . . .
Sometimes the very moments that seem to overcome us with suffering are those that will ultimately suffer us to overcome. . . .
The faithful will know that every tear today will eventually be returned a hundredfold with tears of rejoicing and gratitude.. — Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, “Come What May, and Love It,” Ensign, November 2008, p. 26
This is not to suggest that our challenges today are more severe than the challenges faced by those who have gone before us. They are just different. The Lord isn’t asking us to load up a handcart; He’s asking us to fortify our faith. He isn’t asking us to walk across a continent; He’s asking us to walk across the street to visit our neighbor. He isn’t asking us to give all of our worldly possessions to build a temple; He’s asking us to give of our means and our time despite the pressures of modern living to continue to build temples and then to attend regularly the temples already built. He isn’t asking us to die a martyr’s death; He’s asking us to live a disciple’s life.
This is a great time to live, brothers and sisters, and it is up to us to carry on the rich tradition of devoted commitment that has been the hallmark of previous generations of Latter-day Saints. This is not a time for the spiritually faint of heart. We cannot afford to be superficially righteous. Our testimonies must run deep, with spiritual roots firmly embedded in the rock of revelation. — Elder M. Russell Ballard, “The Truth of God Shall Go Forth,” Ensign, Nov. 2008, p. 84
Elder Neal A. Maxwell explained, “The sharp, side-by-side contrast of the sweet and the bitter is essential until the very end of this brief, mortal experience.” — Elder Quentin L. Cook, “Hope Ya Know, We Had a Hard Time,” Ensign, November 2008, p. 103
I suppose some of you, at one time or another, feel that you are ‘hitting the wall,’ feeling an almost compelling urge to quit, give up, or give in to temptation. You will meet challenges, adversities, and temptations that seem to be more than you can bear. In times of sickness, death, financial need, and other hardships, you may wonder whether you have the strength, courage, or ability to continue . . . be sure you understand that God will not allow you to be tempted beyond your ability to resist. He does not give you challenges that you cannot surmount. He will not ask more than you can do but may ask right up to your limits so you can prove yourselves. — Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, October 1989 General Conference
Faith in the Lord and His gospel conquers fear and begets spirituality. — Elder Keith B. McMullin, “Be Prepared…Be Ye Strong from Henceforth,” Ensign, November 2005, p. 12
The greatest battle of life is fought within the silent chambers of your own soul. — President David O. McKay, quoted by President Thomas S. Monson, “Choose You This Day,” Ensign, November 2004, p. 68
If you are on the right road, it will be uphill. — President Henry B. Eyring
In order to see the rainbow, we must first endure some rain. — Anonymous
Important is the assurance that a loving Heavenly Father and an understanding Savior are aware of our individual situations. With Their deeper wisdom and greater vision, They will not allow any trial to afflict our lives that will not be to our eternal good if it is properly dealt with. — D. Allen Andersen, “Why Adversity?” Ensign, July 2005, p. 10
My heart reaches out to all who are unfortunate, who have various problems, who are bowed down with grief, who just seem to have so many difficulties. You just have to make the best of it. You do the very best you can with what you have, and leave the rest to the Lord. That’s really all you can do. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, “An optimist at 95,” Church News, June 25, 2005, p. 3
We are surrounded by challenges on all sides (see 2 Corinthians 4:8-9). But with faith in God, we trust the blessings He has promised those who keep His commandments. We have faith in the future, and we are preparing for that future. To borrow a metaphor from the familiar world of athletic competitions, we do not know when this game will end, and we do not know the final score, but we do know that when the game finally ends, our team wins. We will continue to go forward “till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done” (History of the Church, 4:540). — Elder Dallin H. Oaks, Ensign, May 2004, p. 10
So if you have problems in your life, don’t assume there is something wrong with you. Struggling with those problems is at the very core of life’s purpose. As we draw close to God, He will show us out weaknesses and through them make us wiser, stronger. If you’re seeing more of your weaknesses, that just might mean you’re moving nearer to God, not farther away. — Elder Bruce C. Hafen, “The Atonement: All for All,” Ensign, May 2004, p. 97
Dr. Arthur Wentworth Hewitt suggested some reasons why the good suffer as well as the wicked: “First: I don’t know. Second: We may not be as innocent as we think. Third: . . . I believe it is because He loves us so much more than He loves our happiness. How so? Well, if on a basis of strict personal return here and now, all the good were always happy and all the bad suffered disaster (instead of often quite the reverse), this would be the most subtle damnation of character imaginable.”
President Kimball gave this insightful explanation:
“If pain and sorrow and total punishment immediately followed the doing of evil, no soul would repeat a misdeed. If joy and peace and rewards were instantaneously given the doer of good, there could be no evil – all would do good and not because of the rightness of doing good. There would be no test of strength, no development of character, no growth of powers, no free agency. . . . There would also be an absence of joy, success, resurrection, eternal life, and godhood.” (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, Edward I. Kimball, p. 77)
Our love of God must be pure, without selfish intent. The pure love of Christ must be the motive in our devotion. — President James E. Faust, “Where Do I Make My Stand?” Ensign, November 2004, p. 19
President Brigham Young offered the profound insight that at least some of our suffering has a purpose when he said:
“All intelligent beings who are crowned with crowns of glory, immortality, and eternal lives must pass through every ordeal appointed for intelligent beings to pass through, to gain their glory and exaltation. Every calamity that can come upon mortal beings will be suffered to come upon the few, to prepare them to enjoy the presence of the Lord. . . . Every trial and experience you have passed through is necessary for your salvation. (Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 345) — President James E. Faust, “Where Do I Make My Stand?” Ensign, November 2004, p. 21
The enlarging of the soul requires not only some remodeling, but some excavating. Hypocrisy, guile, and other imbedded traits do not go gladly or easily, but if we “endure it well” (D&C 121:8), we will not grow testy while being tested.
Moreover, we find that sorrow can actually enlarge the mind and heart in order to “give place,” expanded space for later joy.
Thus, enduring is one of the cardinal attributes; it simply cannot be developed without the laboratory time in this second estate. Even the best lectures about the theory of enduring are not enough. All the other cardinal virtues – love, patience, humility, mercy, purity, submissiveness, justice – they all require endurance for their full development. — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, Ensign, May 1990, p. 34
Among the supernal promises of coming forth in the morning of the First Resurrection and inheriting “thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers” are the additional promises of “all heights and depths” (D&C 132:19). The great plan of happiness includes a proverbial roller coaster of challenging times along with the most joyful times. Yes, we all have our moments of difficulty and heartbreak. Occasionally they are so difficult for us that we just want to give up. There are times when our steps are unsteady, when we feel discouraged and even reach out in desperation.
Elder Holland reminds us that the “symbol of the cup that cannot pass is a cup that comes in our life as well as in [the Savior’s]. It is in a much lesser way, to a much lesser degree, but it comes often enough to teach us that we have to obey” (Jeffrey R. Holland, Trusting Jesus , 42).
Every one of us needs to know that we can go on in the strength of the Lord. We can put our hand in His, and we will feel His sustaining presence lift us to heights unattainable alone. — Elder W. Craig Zwick, Ensign, November 2003, p. 35
So, the great test of life is to see whether we will hearken to and obey God’s commands in the midst of the storms of life. It is not to endure storms, but to choose the right while they rage. And the tragedy of life is to fail in that test and so fail to qualify to return in glory to our heavenly home. — President Henry B. Eyring, “Spiritual Preparedness: Start Early and Be Steady,” Ensign, November 2005, p. 38
Much as I lament the resulting and gathering storms, there can be some usefulness in them. Thereby we may become further tamed spiritually, for “except the Lord doth chasten his people with many afflictions, . . they will not remember him” (Helaman 12:3). The Lord is always quietly refining His faithful people individually anyway, but events will also illuminate God’s higher ways and His kingdom (see D&C 136:31). — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, Ensign, May 2001, p. 59
Since the Lord wants a people “tried in all things” (D&C 136:31), how, specifically, will we be tried? He tells us, I will try the faith and the patience of my people (see Mosiah 23:21). Since faith in the timing of the Lord may be tried, let us learn to say not only, “Thy will be done,” but patiently also, “Thy timing be done.” — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, Ensign, May 2001, p. 59
I explained . . . that it is a false idea that the Saints will escape all the judgments, whilst the wicked suffer, and “the righteous shall hardly escape;” still many of the Saints will escape, for the just shall live by faith; yet many of the righteous shall fall a prey to disease, to pestilence, etc., by reason fo the weakness of the flesh, and yet be saved in the Kingdom of God. So that it is an unhallowed principle to say that such and such have transgressed because they have been prayed upon by disease or death, for all flesh is subject to death; and the Savior has said, “Judge not, lest ye be judged.” — Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, September 29, 1839, p. 162
Surely you know some whose lives have been filled with adversity who have been mellowed and strengthened and refined by it, while others have come away from the same test bitter and blistered an unhappy. — Elder Boyd K. Packer, Ensign, November 1983, p. 18
The right question to ask is not why good people have trials, but how shall good people respond when they are tried? . . . God does not deny us the experience we came here to have. He does not insulate us from tribulation or guarantee immunity from trouble. Much of the pain we suffer and inevitably impose upon others is self-induced through our own bad judgment, through poor choices. . . . But much that happens to us in this life we cannot control; we only respond. . . . We are assured in the scriptures that we may know of a surety that the Lord does visit his people in their afflictions. (See Mosiah 24:13-14.) — Elder Marion D. Hanks, Ensign, November 1992, p. 64
We tend to think only in terms of our endurance, but it is God’s patient long-suffering which provides us with our chances to improve, affording us urgently needed developmental space or time (see Alma 42:4-5). — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, Ensign, May 1990, p. 33
He succors us in our afflictions. The Savior can respond to our requests for help in several ways, including (a) relieving or lightening our burdens, (b) increasing our strength to carry our burdens, (c) allowing increased burdens to give us needed experience, and (d) not providing immediate help in order to test and strengthen our faith and to teach us. — Elder Flavio A. Cooper, “He Knows Our Suffering,” Ensign, June 2004, p. 16
President John Taylor (1808-87) said that afflictions shouldn’t overwhelm us, but we should rejoice in our challenges, for we need these experiences for our eternal well-being with God. (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: John Taylor (2001), 207) — Elder Flavio A. Cooper, “He Knows Our Suffering,” Ensign, June 2004, p. 17
Righteousness has never precluded adversity. — Elder M. Russell Ballard, “The Joy of Hope Fulfilled,” Ensign, Nov. 1992, p. 32
Growth means growing pains. It also means learning from our mistakes, in a continual process made possible by the Savior’s grace, which He extends both during and after “all we can do.” — Elder Bruce D. Hafen, “Love, suffering: two sides of reality,” Church News, April 10, 2004, p. 18
No one should deny the importance of circumstances, yet in the final analysis the most important thing is how we react to the circumstances. It is a tenet of my faith that every normal person has the capacity, with God’s help, to meet the challenge of whatever circumstances may confront him. One of the most comforting scriptures carries the message that God will not leave us helpless – ever. (1 Cor 10:13) — President Spencer W. Kimball, “Decisions: Why It’s Important to Make Some Now,” April 1971
We must get on our knees and plead with the Lord for help and strength and direction. We must then stand on our feet and move forward. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, “Help in troubled times,” Church News, January 31, 2004, p. 16
Each of us must go through certain experiences to become more like our Savior. In the school of mortality, the tutor is often pain and tribulation, but the lessons are meant to refine and bless us and strengthen us, not to destroy us. — Elder Robert D. Hales, “Faith through Tribulation Brings Peace and Joy,” Ensign, May 2003, p. 17
Contrary to what some might say, you have every reason in this world to be happy and to be optimistic and to be confident. Every generation since time began has had some things to overcome and some problems to work out. Furthermore, every individual person has a particular set of challenges which sometimes seem to be earmarked for us individually. We understood that in our premortal existence.
Prophets and Apostles of the Church have faced some of those personal difficulties. I acknowledge that I have faced a few, and you will undoubtedly face some of your own now and later in your life. When these experiences humble us and refine us and teach us and bless us, they can be powerful instruments in the hands of God to make us better people, to make us more grateful, more loving, and more considerate of other people in their own times of difficulty.
Yes, we all have difficult moments, individually and collectively, but even in the most severe of times, anciently or in modern times, those problems and prophecies were never intended to do anything but bless the righteous and help those who are less righteous move toward repentance. God loves us, and the scriptures tell us he “gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
“For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:16-17). — President Howard W. Hunter, “An Anchor to the Souls of Men,” Ensign, October 1993, pp. 70-71
Weaknesses are a constant reminder of our dependence upon the Lord. It is when we take those weaknesses to Him, in humility, that we can become effectively joined with Him in a great work. It is when we have done as much as we can do that His grace . . . can move us beyond our natural abilities. (Carolyn J. Rasmus, “Faith Strengthened in Weakness,” Church News, 26 Feb. 1994, p. 10) “The Lord God showeth us our weakness that we may know that it is by his grace, and his great condescensions unto the children of men, that we have power to do these things” (Jacob 4:7). — Elder Ray H. Wood, “Our Thorns in the Flesh,” Ensign, Feb. 2003, p. 32
The Lord seems to have several purposes in giving us trials: First, to test and prove us, to see if we are loyal to Him and to our beliefs. Second, to give us the opportunity to prove that we love Him more than any other thing. Third, to teach us something about ourselves and our commitment to remain true and focused on the eternal nature and possibilities of our lives, our families, and the mission of the Church.
Sister Sheri L. Dew, former second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, put into vital perspective what that proof entails:
“This life is a test. It is only a test – meaning, that’s all it is. Nothing more, but nothing less. It is a test of many things – of our convictions and priorities, our faith and our faithfulness, our patience and our resilience, and in the end, our ultimate desires” (“This Is a Test. It Is Only a Test,” BYU Women’s Conference, 1 May 1998). — Elder Ray H. Wood, “Our Thorns in the Flesh,” Ensign, Feb. 2003, p. 34
Is it any wonder then that Paul glories in his infirmities or takes pleasure in reproaches, persecutions, and distress? These are among the vital means of growth and the development of true Godlike character. — Elder Ray H. Wood, “Our Thorns in the Flesh,” Ensign, Feb. 2003, p. 35
We have learned many things through suffering. We call it suffering. I call it a school of experience. (Teachings of Presidents of the Church, p. 203) — Karla C. Erickson, “John Taylor, Defender of Truth,” Ensign, Jan. 2003, p. 25
Suffering is universal; how we react to suffering is individual. Suffering can take us one of two ways. It can be a strengthening and purifying experience combined with faith, or it can be a destructive force in our lives if we do not have the faith in the Lord’s atoning sacrifice. The purpose of suffering, however, is to build and strengthen us. We learn obedience by the things we suffer. — Elder Robert D. Hales, “Your Sorrow Shall Be Turned to Joy,” Ensign, Nov. 1983, p. 66
The Master was saying, and I am saying to you today, that the rains of disaster, the rains of difficulty, the floods and winds of severe trials are going to beat upon the house of every one of you. There will be temptation to sin, you will have hardship, you will have difficulty to face in your life. The only ones that will not fall when those tests come will be those who have their houses founded upon the rock of testimony. You will know no matter what comes; you will not be able to stand on borrowed light. You can only stand on the light that you have by the witness of the Spirit that all of you have the right to receive. — Teachings of the Presidents of the Church, Harold B. Lee, pp. 44-45
I share with you again a simple little insight that may help you at certain junctures in your lives. It is that you must not mistake passing local cloud cover for general darkness. They are very different things, and for us to misinterpret local cloud cover, which will soon be blown away, as general darkness is a terrible thing. The restored gospel is so full metaphorically of light. We must not be mistaken about this. — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “Insights from My Life,” Ensign, August 2000, p. 8
When in situations of stress we wonder if there is any more in us to give, we can be comforted to know that God, who knows our capacity perfectly, placed us here to succeed. No one was foreordained to fail or to be wicked. When we have been weighed and found wanting, let us remember that we were measured before and we were found equal to our tasks; and, therefore, let us continue, but with a more determined discipleship. When we feel overwhelmed, let us recall the assurance that God will not overprogram us; he will not press upon us more than we can bear (D&C 50:40). — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “Meeting the Challenges of Today,” in Devotional Speeches of the Year, Provo: Brigham Young University, 1978, p. 156
When real suffering occurs in life, the devil is always there to sour men’s hearts in anger, while the Lord continually emanates love. In the same suffering “many had become hardened . . . and many were softened because of their afflictions” (Alma 62:41). What a wonderful example of how to respond to affliction. — Elder Gene R. Cook, “Charity: Perfect and Everlasting Love,” Ensign, May 2002, p. 83
Sadness, disappointment, and severe challenge are events in life, not life itself. I do not minimize how hard some of these events are. They can extend over a long period of time, but they should not be allowed to become the confining center of everything you do. The Lord inspired Lehi to declare the fundamental truth, Men are, that they might have joy” (2 Ne 2:25). That is a conditional statement: “they might have joy.” It is not conditional for the Lord. His intent is that each of us finds joy. It will not be conditional for you as you obey the commandments, have faith in the Master, and do the things that are necessary to have joy here on earth.
Your joy in life depends upon your trust in Heavenly Father and His holy Son, your conviction that their plan of happiness truly can bring you joy. Pondering their doctrine will let you enjoy the beauties of this earth and enrich your relationships with others. It will lead you to the comforting, strengthening experiences that flow from prayer to Father in Heaven and the answers He gives in return.
A pebble held close to the eye appears to be a gigantic obstacle. Cast on the ground, it is seen in perspective. Likewise, problems or trials in our lives need to be viewed in the perspective of scriptural doctrine. Otherwise they can easily overtake our vision, absorb our energy, and deprive us of the joy and beauty the Lord intends us to receive here on earth. — Elder Richard G. Scott, “Finding Joy in Life,” Ensign, May 1996, p. 24
Naturally, believing Christians, even those who have a mature faith in the gospel, are concerned and disturbed by the lowering clouds on the horizon. But they need not be surprised or frantic about their portent, for, as has already been said, at the very beginning of this last dispensation the Lord made it abundantly clear that through the tribulations and calamity that he foresaw and foretold and that we now see coming upon us, there would be a people who, through acceptance and obedience to the gospel, would be able to recognize and resist the powers of evil, build up the promised Zion, and prepare to meet the Christ and be with him in the blessed millennium. And we know further that it is possible for every one of us, who will, to have a place among those people. It is this assurance and this expectation that gives us understanding of the Lord’s admonition, “be not troubled.” — President Marion G. Romney, Conference Report, October 1966, pp. 53-54
This family could indeed have a conversation with Job and hold their own. (Said of a family suffering extreme hardship.) — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “Insights from My Life,” Ensign, August 2000, p. 13
In the gospel of Jesus Christ you have help from both sides of the veil and you must never forget that. When disappointment and discouragement strike — and they will — you remember and never forget that if our eyes could be opened we would see horses and chariots of fire (2 Kings 6:16-17) as far as the eye can see riding at reckless speed to come to our protection. They will always be there, these armies of heaven, in defense of Abraham’s seed. — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “For Times of Trouble,” BYU Devotional, March 18, 1980; see New Era, October 1980, p. 15
Don’t let your guard down. Don’t assume that a great revelation, some marvelous illuminating moment, or the opening of an inspired path is the end of it. Remember, it isn’t over until it’s over. . . . Satan will always come again, we can be sure, but always to be defeated by the God of Glory – always.
I wish to encourage every one of you today regarding opposition that so often comes after enlightened decisions have been made, after moments of revelation and conviction have given us a peace and an assurance we thought we would never lose. . .
We cannot sign on for a moment of eternal significance and everlasting consequence without knowing it will be a fight – a good fight and a winning fight, but a fight nevertheless. . . .
Once there has been genuine illumination, beware the temptation to retreat from a good thing. If it was right when you prayed about it and trusted it and lived for it, it is right now. Don’t give up when the pressure mounts. . . . Satan cannot conquer if we will it otherwise. . . .
“Fear ye not.” And when the second and the third and the fourth blows come, “fear ye not. . . . The Lord shall fight for you.” — Excerpts from Elder Jeffrey Holland, “Cast Not Away Therefore Your Confidence,” BYU Devotional, March 2, 1999
Listen to the Master’s lesson in human horticulture – “Every branch that beareth fruit must be purged [or pruned] that it might bring forth more fruit” (see John 15:2). Remember it’s the new wood following such pruning which brings the fruit.
Rarely, if ever, is there a truly great soul except he has been tried and tested through tears, and adversity – seemingly pruned by the hand of a master gardener. By applying the knife and the pruning hook the branch is shaped and fashioned to God’s omnipotent design, in order that its full fruitage may be realized.
Every one of you must endure trials, and hardships, heartaches and discouragements. When in sorrow and in despair if you will remember, you will be comforted if you learn this lesson: “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth” (Hebrews 12:6) – and again: “My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord; neither be weary of his correction: for whom the Lord loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth” (Proverbs 3:11-12). — President Harold B. Lee, “Life Under Control,” BYU Commencement Address, 4 June 1951; see also Teachings of Harold B. Lee, p. 191
You that have not passed through the trials, and persecutions . . , but have only read of them . . .may think how awful they were to endure, and wonder that the Saints survived them at all.
The thought of it makes your hearts sink within you . . , and you are ready to exclaim, “I could not have endured it.” I have been in the heat of it, and I never felt better in all my life; I never felt the peace and power of the Almighty more copiously poured upon me than in the keenest part of our trials. They appeared nothing to me. (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 1:13) — Truman G. Madsen, “The Joy of the Lord Is Your Strength,” BYU Devotional Address, November 21, 2000, p. 1
None but saints can be happy under every circumstance. (Eliza R. Snow) — Truman G. Madsen, “The Joy of the Lord Is Your Strength,” BYU Devotional Address, November 21, 2000, p. 2
You are here on earth for a divine purpose. It is not to be endlessly entertained or to be constantly in full pursuit of pleasure. You are here to be tried, to prove yourself so that you can receive the additional blessings God has for you (see Abr. 3:25). The tempering effect of patience is required (see Mosiah 3:19). Some blessings will be delivered here in this life; others will come beyond the veil. The Lord is intent on your personal growth and development. That progress is accelerated when you willingly allow Him to lead you through every growth experience you encounter, whether initially it be to your individual liking or not.
When you trust in the Lord, when you are willing to let your heart and your mind be centered in His will, when you ask to be led by the Spirit to do His will, you are assured of the greatest happiness along the way and the most fulfilling attainment from this mortal experience. If you question everything you are asked to do, or dig in your heels at every unpleasant challenge, you make it harder for the Lord to bless you (see 1 Ne. 3:7). — Elder Richard G. Scott, “Finding Joy In Life,” Ensign, May 1996, p. 24
Struggles are a part of the sacred sanctification process. There are no soft or slothful ways to become sanctified to the point that we are prepared to live in the presence of the Savior. And there can be blessings in the burdens we bear. As a result of these struggles, our souls are stretched and our spirits are strengthened. Our character becomes more Christlike as we are tried and tested.
Even tough these experiences may cause pain, suffering, and sorrow, we have this absolute assurance: “No pain suffered by man or woman upon the earth will be without its compensating effects if it be suffered in resignation and if it be met with patience” (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, ed. Edward L. Kimball , 168). — L. Lionel Kendrick, “Strength during Struggles,” Ensign, October 2001, p. 24
The winds of tribulation, which blow out some men’s candles of commitment, only fan the fires of faith of [others].” — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “Why Not Now?” Ensign, November 1974, p. 12
The Savior knows each of us in a personal way. He has assured us of His personal acquaintance, His awareness of our needs, and His presence in our times of need. He counseled, “I say unto you that mine eyes are upon you. I am in your midst and ye cannot see me” (D&C 38:7). Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained, “The Savior is in our midst, sometimes personally, frequently through his servants, and always by his spirit” (The Lord’s Way , 14). — L. Lionel Kendrick, “Strength during Struggles,” Ensign, October 2001, p. 26
Good men have had to endure affliction, privations, trials, and sorrow, it is true. Abraham had to pass through afflictions that were harrowing to his feelings. Men of God have had to wander about in sheep-skins and goat-skins, and been considered the scum and offscourings of society, by men who understood not their relationship to God. They appeared destitute, but were, in reality, not. They had a hope that was buoyant, and looked for a city that had foundations, whose builder and maker is God. . . .
If I am doing right, I am preparing for thrones, principalities, and dominions, resolved by the help of God that no man shall rob me of my crown. With this view of the subject, all the outward circumstances of this life do not trouble me. — President John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, 8:97, P. 100
If Eve must labor to bring forth, so too must Adam labor (Genesis 3:17-19; Moses 4:23) to quicken the earth so it shall bring forth. Both of them bring forth life with sweat and tears, and Adam is not the favored party. If his labor is not as severe as hers, it is more protracted. For Eve’s life will be spared long after her childbearing – “nevertheless thy life shall be spared” – while Adam’s toil must go on to the end of his days: “In sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life”! Even retirement is no escape from that sorrow. (Hugh Nibley, Old Testament and Related Studies, 90.) — The Pearl of Great Price Student Manual, p. 15
Don’t feel sorry for yourself if you have a few trials and a few setbacks along the way. It will make you better. And don’t compare yourself with others. They may have had more or less opposition, more or less trial, more or fewer hurdles than you. Your mission is different than theirs. — Elder Larry Gibbons, BYU-Idaho Devotional, April 2002
Breathtaking submissiveness was achieved by the Savior as He faced the anguish and agonies of the Atonement and “would that [He] might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink” (D&C 19:18). On our small, imperfect scale, we face tests and wish that these would somehow be taken away. — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “Consecrate Thy Performance,” Ensign, May 2002, p. 38
There are few of us, if any, who don’t walk the refiner’s fire of adversity and despair, sometimes known to others but for many quietly hidden and privately endured. Most of the heartache, pain, and suffering we would not choose today. But we did choose. We chose when we could see the complete plan. We chose when we had a clear vision of the Savior’s rescue of us. And if our faith and understanding were as clear today as it was when we first made that choice, I believe we would choose again.
Therefore, perhaps the challenge is to have the kind of faith during the hard times that we exercised when we first chose. The kind of faith that turns questioning and even anger into acknowledging the power, blessings, and hope that can come only from Him who is the source of all power, blessings, and hope. The kind of faith that brings the knowledge and assurances that all that we experience is part of the gospel plan and that for the righteous, all that appears wrong will eventually be made right. The peace and understanding to endure with dignity and clarity of purpose can be the sweet reward. This kind of faith can help us to see the good, even when life’s path seems to be layered only with thorns, thistles, and craggy rocks. — Bishop Richard C. Edgley, “For Thy Good,” Ensign, May 2002, pp. 65-66
I do not believe our Father in Heaven causes the tragedies and heartbreak in our lives. But as the “works of God” were made manifest in the healing of a blind man, so also the way we face our personal trials may manifest the “works of God.”
From our sorrow we might seek out the sweetness and the good that is often associated with and peculiar to our challenge. — Bishop Richard C. Edgley, “For Thy Good,” Ensign, May 2002, p. 66
Our commitment to the kingdom should match that of our faithful ancestors even though our sacrifices are different. They were driven from comfortable homes and compelled to journey one thousand miles by ox-drawn wagon and handcart to reestablish their families, homes, and Church in safety. Our sacrifices may be more subtle but no less demanding. Instead of physical deprivation and hardship, we face the challenge of remaining true and faithful to gospel principles amidst such evil and destructive forces as dishonesty, corruption, drug and alcohol misuse, and disease often caused by sexual promiscuity. Also, we find ourselves in combat daily with immorality in all of its many forms. Pornography and violence, often portrayed in insidious television shows, movies, and videos, are running rampant. Hate and envy, greed and selfishness are all about us, and families are disintegrating at an ever-increasing pace. . . .
Sacrifice is a demonstration of pure love. The degree of our love for the Lord, for the gospel, and for our fellowman can be measured by what we are willing to sacrifice for them. Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ manifested the supreme example of this love. His life and ministry established a pattern for us to follow. His divine mission was culminated in a supreme act of love as He allowed His life to be sacrificed for us. — Elder M. Russell Ballard, “The Blessings of Sacrifice,” Ensign, May 1992, pp. 75-76
Life’s highways are not necessarily always in good repair. Bumps, chuckholes, eroding pavement and detours are not uncommon.
Life’s challenge is deciding how to best deal with the circumstances arising from those bumps and detours.
Life’s secret, then, might be rather simple: Let principle – not circumstance – guide your actions. — Value of a principled life,” Church News, August 31, 2002, p. 16
A hundred years from now, today’s seeming deprivations and tribulations will not matter then unless we let them matter too much now. A hundred years from now, today’s serious physical ailment will be but a fleeting memory. . . . So much depends, therefore, upon our maintaining gospel perspective in the midst of ordinariness and the pressures of temptation, tribulation, and deprivation. — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, BYU Speeches, 1981-82, p. 19
For everything you have suffered, for everything that has occurred to you which you thought an evil at that time, you will receive fourfold, and that suffering will have had a tendency to make you better and stronger and to feel that you have been blessed. When you look back over your experiences you will see that you have advanced far ahead and have gone up several rounds of the ladder toward exaltation and glory. — The Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, p. 117
With celestial sight, trials impossible to change become possible to endure. — Elder Russell M. Nelson, Conference Report, April 1988, p. 40
Regarding trials, including of our faith and patience, there are no exemptions – only variations (see Mosiah 23:21). These callisthenics are designed to increase our capacity for happiness and service. Yet the faithful will not be totally immune from the events on this planet. Thus the courageous attitudes of imperiled Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego are worthy of emulation. They knew that God could rescue them. “But if not,” they vowed they would still serve God anyway (see Daniel 3:16-18). — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “Encircled in the Arms of His Love,” Ensign, November 2002, p. 17
We must have the same faith as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego.
Our God will deliver us from ridicule and persecution, but if not. . . . Our God will deliver us from sickness and disease, but if not. . . . He will deliver us from loneliness, depression, or fear, but if not. . . . Our God will deliver us from threats, accusations, and insecurity, but if not. . . . He will deliver us from death or impairment of loved ones, but if not, . . . we will trust in the Lord.
Our God will see that we receive justice and fairness, but if not. . . . He will make sure that we are loved and recognized, but if not. . . . We will receive a perfect companion and righteous and obedient children, but if not, . . . we will have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, knowing that if we do all we can do, we will, in His time and in His way, be delivered and receive all that He has. — Elder Dennis E. Simmons, “But If Not . . .,” Ensign, May 2004, p. 75
Though living in a time of commotion, we can stand in holy places and not be moved (see D&C 45:32; 87:8). Though living in a time of violence, we can have that inner peace that passeth understanding (see Philippians 4:7). Perplexing things will still happen, but, like Nephi, we can still know that God loves us, a felicitous and fundamental fact which can and will sustain us through so much! (see 1 Nephi 11:17). — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “Encircled in the Arms of His Love,” Ensign, November 2002, p. 18
The shortest distance between a problem and a solution is the distance between your knees and the floor. — Anonymous
There will always be testings and trials along life’s paths. Heartaches and tragedies need not defeat us if we remember God’s promise.
A worthwhile attitude for all of us could well be, “Help us, O Lord, to remember thy love for us and help us to be fortified by thy strength when our eyes are blurred with tears of sorrow and our vision is limited.
“. . . If thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high. . .” (D&C 121:7-8). — Elder Marvin J. Ashton, “If Thou Endure It Well,” Ensign, November 1984, p. 20
Sometimes as children we were told everything would be all right. But life is not like that. No matter who you are, you will have problems. Tragedy and frustration are the unexpected intruders on life’s plans. Someone has said, “Life is what happens to you while you are making other plans.” It is important that we not look upon our afflictions as a punishment from God. True, our own actions may cause some of our problems, but often there is no evident misconduct that has caused our trials. Just the normal journey through life teaches us that nothing worthwhile comes easy. — Elder Marvin J. Ashton, “If Thou Endure It Well,” Ensign, November 1984, p. 20
It was meant to be that life would be a challenge. To suffer from anxiety, from depression, from disappointment, even from failure is normal. Teach our members that if they have a good, miserable day once in a while, or several in a row, to stand steady and face them. Things will straighten out. There is great purpose in our struggle in life. — Elder Boyd K. Packer, Ensign, May 1978, p. 93
A life without problems or limitations or challenges – life without ‘opposition in all things,’ as Lehi phrased it – would paradoxically but in very fact be less rewarding and less ennobling than one which confronts – even frequently confronts – difficulty and disappointment and sorrow. As beloved Eve said, were it not for the difficulties faced in a fallen world, neither she nor Adam nor any of the rest of us ever would have known “the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient” (Moses 5:11). So life has its oppositions and its conflicts, and the gospel of Jesus Christ has answers and assurances. — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, General Conference, Ensign, November 1996, p. 82
Let any people enjoy peace and quietness, unmolested, undisturbed, never to be persecuted for their religion, and they are very likely to neglect their duty, to become cold and indifferent, and lose their faith. This lesson, which applies to the church collectively, also applies to individuals. — Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 7:42
To exercise faith is to trust that the Lord knows what He is doing with you and that He can accomplish it for your eternal good even though you cannot understand how He can possibly do it.
We are like infants in our understanding of eternal matters and their impact on us here in mortality. Yet at times we act as if we knew it all. When you pass through trials for His purposes, as you trust Him, exercise faith in Him, He will help you. That support will generally come step by step, a portion at a time. While you are passing through each phase, the pain and difficulty that comes from being enlarged will continue. If all matters were immediately resolved at your first petition, you could not grow. Your Father in Heaven and His Beloved Son love you perfectly. They would not require you to experience a moment more of difficulty than is absolutely needed for your personal benefit or for that of those you love. (Elder Richard G. Scott, October 1995 General Conference) — Church News, April 5, 1997, p. 14
Find the compensatory blessings in your life when, in the wisdom of the Lord, He deprives you of something you very much want. To the sightless or hearing impaired, He sharpens the other senses. To the ill, He gives patience, understanding, and increased appreciation for others’ kindness. With the loss of a dear one, He deepens the bonds of love, enriches memories, and kindles hope in a future reunion. You will discover compensatory blessings when you willingly accept the will of the Lord and exercise faith in Him. –– Elder Richard G. Scott, Ensign, May 1996, p. 25
This life never was intended to be easy. It is a probationary estate in which we are tested physically, mentally, morally, and spiritually. We are subject to disease and decay. We are attacked by cancer, leprosy, and contagious diseases. We suffer pain and sorrow and afflictions. Disasters strike; floods sweep away our homes; famines destroy our food; plagues and wars fill our graves with dead bodies and our broken homes with sorrow.
We are called upon to choose between the revealed word of God and the soul-destroying postulates of the theoretical sciences. Temptations, the lusts of the flesh, evils of every sort – all these are part of the plan, and must be faced by every person privileged to undergo the experiences of mortality.
The testing processes of mortality are for all men, saints and sinners alike. Sometimes the tests and trials of those who have received the gospel far exceed any imposed upon worldly people. Abraham was called upon to sacrifice his only son. Lehi and his family left their lands and wealth to live in a wilderness. Saints in all ages have been commanded to lay all that they have upon the altar, sometimes even their very lives.
As to the individual trials or problems that befall any of us, all we need say is that in the wisdom of Him who knows all things, and who does all things well, all of us are given the particular and specific tests that we need in our personal situations. It is to us, His saints, that the Lord speaks when He says: “I will prove you in all things, whether you will abide in my covenant, even unto death, that you may be found worthy. For if ye will not abide in my covenant ye are not worthy of me.” (D&C 98:14-15) — Elder Bruce R. McConkie, Ensign, November 1976, p. 106
We are not always wise enough nor experienced enough to judge adequately all of the possible entries and exits. The mansion that God prepares for each of His beloved children may have only certain hallways and banisters, special carpets and curtains that He would have us pass on our way to possess it.
I share the view expressed by Orson F. Whitney in these words:
“No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude, and humility. All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called the children of God. . . .” (As quoted in Faith Precedes the Miracle, p. 98.)
At various times in our lives, probably at repeated times in our lives, we do have to acknowledge that God knows what we do not know and sees what we do not see. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.” (Isa. 55:8.)
If you have troubles at home with children who stray, if you suffer financial reverses and emotional strain that threaten your homes and your happiness, if you must face the loss of life or health, may peace be unto your soul. We will not be tempted beyond our ability to withstand. Our detours and disappointments are the straight and narrow path to Him. — Address by Howard W. Hunter in October 1987 General Conference; Church News, January 20, 1996, p. 14
The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials. — Chinese proverb
We are not here to while away the hours of this life and then pass to a sphere of exaltation; but we are here to qualify ourselves day by day for the positions that our Father expects us to fill hereafter. (George Albert Smith, Conference Report, April 1905, 62) — Elder F. Burton Howard, “Overcoming the World,” Ensign, September 1996, p. 11
When problems or sorrows or sadness come and they don’t seem to be our fault, what are we to make of their unwelcome appearance? With time and perspective we recognize that such problems in life do come for a purpose, if only to allow the one who faces such despair to be convinced that he really does need divine strength beyond himself, that she really does need the offer of heaven’s hand. Those who feel no need for mercy usually never seek it and almost never bestow it. Those who have never had a heartache or a weakness or felt lonely or forsaken never have had to cry unto heaven for relief of such personal pain. Surely it is better to find the goodness of God and the grace of Christ, even at the price of despair, than to risk living our lives in a moral or material complacency that has never felt any need for faith or forgiveness, any need for redemption or relief.
A life without problems or limitations or challenges – life without “opposition in all things,” (2 Nephi 2:11) as Lehi phrased it – would be, paradoxically but in very fact, be less rewarding and ennobling than one which confronts, even frequently confronts, difficulty and disappointment and sorrow. — Elder Jeffrey Holland, Ensign, November 1996
Nor are the days of our greatest sorrows and our deepest sufferings all behind us. They too lie ahead. We shall yet face greater perils, we shall yet be tested with more severe trials, and we shall yet weep more tears of sorrow than we have ever known before. . . .
The way ahead is dark and dreary and dreadful. There will yet be martyrs; the doors in Carthage shall again enclose the innocent. We have not been promised that the trials and evils of the world will entirely pass us by.
If we, as a people, keep the commandments of God; if we take the side of the Church on all issues, both religious and political; if we take the Holy Spirit for our guide; if we give heed to the words of the apostles and prophets who minister among us — then, from an eternal standpoint, all things will work together for our good.
Our view of the future shall be undimmed, and whether in life or in death, we shall see our blessed Lord return to reign on earth. We shall see the New Jerusalem coming down from God in heaven to join with the Holy City we have built. We shall mingle with those of Enoch’s city while together we worship and serve the Lord forever. (Elder Bruce R. McConkie, General Conference, Ensign, May 1980, pp. 71, 73.) — Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual, p. 78
The Saints should always remember that God sees not as man sees; that he does not willingly afflict his children, and that if he requires them to endure present privation and trial, it is that they may escape greater tribulations which would otherwise inevitably overtake them. If He deprives them of any present blessing, it is that he may bestow upon them greater and more glorious ones by and by. — President George Q. Cannon, Millennial Star, 3 October 1863, p. 634; Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual, pp. 119-120
The testing processes of mortality are for all men, saints and sinners alike. Sometimes the tests and trials of those who have received the gospel far exceed any imposed upon worldly people. Abraham was called upon to sacrifice his only son. Lehi and his family left their lands and wealth to live in a wilderness. Saints in all ages have been commanded to lay all that they have upon the altar, sometimes even their very lives.
As to the individual trials and problems that befall any of us, all we need say is that in the wisdom of Him who knows all things, and who does all things well, all of us are given the particular and specific tests that we need in our personal situations. It is to us, His saints, that the Lord speaks when He says: “I will prove you in all things, whether you will abide in my covenant, even unto death, that you may be found worthy.
“For if ye will not abide in my covenant ye are not worthy of me.” (D&C 98:14-15)
But sometimes the Lord’s people are hounded and persecuted. Sometimes He deliberately lets His faithful saints linger and suffer, in both body and spirit, to prove . . . that they may be found worthy of eternal life. If such be the lot of any of us, so be it.
But come what may, anything that befalls us here in mortality is but for a small moment, and if we are true and faithful God will eventually exalt us on high. All our losses and sufferings will be made up to us in the resurrection. — Elder Bruce R. McConkie, Ensign, November 1976, pp. 106, 108; Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual, p. 120
If the Saints could realize things as they are when they are called to pass through trials, and to suffer what they call sacrifices, they would acknowledge them to be the greatest blessings that could be bestowed upon them. (Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 345.) — Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual, p. 120
Even as adversities inflict mortal hardships, they can also be the means of leading men and women to eternal blessings. . . . Our adversities can be the means of obtaining blessings unobtainable without them. . . .
“It is not on the pinnacle of success and ease where men and women grow most. It is often down in the valley of heartache and disappointment and reverses where men and women grow into strong characters” (in Conference Report, Stockholm Sweden Area Conference, 1974, 70).
“Every reversal can be turned to our benefit and blessing and can make us stronger, more courageous, more godlike” (in Conference Report, Philippine Islands Area Conference, 1975, 11). . . .
The courageous faith and action of one person who excels in coping with adversity can be a great blessing to others who are strengthened by the example. .
“. . . No pain suffered by man or woman upon the earth will be without its compensating effects if it be suffered in resignation and if it be met with patience” (Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball , 167-68).
“Behold, I have refined thee, . . I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction” (Isa. 48:10; see also 1 Ne. 20:10). — Elder Dallin H. Oaks, “Adversity,” Ensign, July 1998, pp. 7-12
One of the imperative requirements of life is to be able to make choices. In order to do so, one must know how to look at things and oneself. One must also learn that to live means being able to cope with difficulties; problems are a normal part of life, and the great thing is to avoid being flattened by them.
The battle for self-mastery may leave a person a bit bruised and battered, but always a better man or woman. Self-mastery is a rigorous process at best; too many of us want it to be effortless and painless.
Some spurn effort and substitute an alibi. We hear the plea, “I was denied the advantages others had in their youth.” And then we remember the caption that Webster, the cartoonist, placed under a sketch of Abraham Lincoln’s log cabin: “Ill-housed, ill-fed, ill-clothed.”
Others say, “I am physically limited.” History is replete with people possessing physical limitations. . . .
Today’s world moves at an increasingly rapid pace. Scientific achievements are fantastic, advances in medicine are phenomenal, and the probings of the inner secrets of earth and the outer limits of space leave one amazed and in awe.
In our science-oriented age we conquer space, but cannot control self; hence, we forfeit peace. . . .
God gave man life and with it the power to think and reason and decide and love. With such power given to you and to me, mastery of self becomes a necessity if we are to have the abundant life. — President Thomas S. Monson, “In Quest of the Abundant Life,” Ensign, March 1988, pp. 4-5
Some have trials to pass through, while still others have allotments they are to live with. . . . Thus, developing contentment within certain of our existing constraints and opportunities is one of our challenges. — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “Content with the Things Allotted Unto Us,” Ensign, May 2000, p. 72
Life’s necessary defining moments come within our allotments, and we make “on the record” choices within these allotments. Our responses are what matter. Sufficient unto each life are the tests thereof! (See Matt. 6:34). — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “Content with the Things Allotted unto Us,” Ensign, May 2000
For the faithful, our finest hours are sometimes during or just following our darkest hours. — Elder Neal Maxwell, Ensign, May 1984, p. 22
Since the Most Innocent suffered the most, our own cries of “Why?” cannot match His. But we can utter the same, submissive word, “nevertheless. . .” (Matt. 26:39). — Elder Neal Maxwell, Ensign, November 1995, p. 24
Acknowledging God’s hand includes, in the words of the Prophet Joseph, trusting that God has made “ample provision” beforehand to achieve all His purposes, including his purposes in our lives (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 220). Sometimes He clearly directs; other times it seems He merely permits some things to happen. Therefore, we will not always understand the role of God’s hand, but we know enough of his heart and mind to be submissive. Thus when we are perplexed and stressed, explanatory help is not always immediately forthcoming, but compensatory help will be. Thus our process of cognition gives way to our personal submission, as we experience those moments when we learn to “be still, and know that I am God” (Ps. 46:10). — Elder Neal Maxwell, Ensign, November 1995, p. 24
One cannot look at suffering, regardless of its causes or origins, without feeling pain and compassion. I can understand why someone who lacks an eternal perspective might see the horrifying news footage of starving children and man’s inhumanity to man and shake a fist at the heavens and cry, “If there is a God, how could he allow such things to happen?”
The answer is not easy, but it isn’t that complicated, either. God has put his plan in motion. It proceeds through natural laws that are, in fact, God’s laws. Since they are his, he is bound by them, as are we. I recognize for purposes we mortals may not understand, the Lord can control the elements. For the most part, however, he does not cause but he allows nature to run its course. In this imperfect world, bad things sometimes happen. The earth’s rocky underpinnings occasionally shift and move, resulting in earthquakes. Certain weather patterns cause hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, and drought.
Much adversity is man-made. Men’s hearts turn cold, and the spirit of Satan controls their actions. In foreseeing the day of suffering in our time, the Savior said, “The love of men shall wax cold, and iniquity shall abound” (D&C 45:27). Violence, immorality, and other evils run rampant on the earth. Much adversity has its origin in the principle of agency. — Elder M. Russell Ballard, Ensign, May 1995, p. 23
We knew before we were born that we were coming to the earth for bodies and experience and that we would have joys and sorrows, ease and pain, comforts and hardships, health and sickness, successes and disappointments, and we knew also that after a period of life we would die. We accepted all these eventualities with a glad heart, eager to accept both the favorable and unfavorable. We eagerly accepted the chance to come earthward even though it might be for only a day or a year. Perhaps we were not so much concerned whether we should die of disease, of accident, or of senility. We were willing to take life as it came and as we might organize and control it, and this without murmur, complaint, or unreasonable demands. (Spencer W. Kimball, Faith Precedes the Miracle, p. 106) — Book of Mormon Student Manual, p. 22
I have seen the remorse and despair in the lives of men who, in the hour of trial, have cursed God and died spiritually. And I have seen people rise to great heights from what seemed to be unbearable burdens. (Marion G. Romney, Conf. Report, Oct. 1969, pp. 59-60) — Book of Mormon Student Manual, p. 23
We will pass through tests not devised by human hands. — President Harold B. Lee, “Let Us Be As One!” Ensign, May 1950
It was the divine plan from the beginning that man should be placed on the earth and be subject to mortal conditions and pass through a probationary state as explained in the Book of Mormon where he and his posterity would be subject to all mortal conditions. It was part of the divine plan that man should have this period of mortality where he would be shut out of the presence of God and be subject to all the vicissitudes of mortality, the temptations and trials of the flesh, thus gaining experience and being placed in a position of trial, temptation, and be purified by passing through the trials and tribulations of the flesh, or mortality, as Paul has described it. This life is a very brief part of our existence, but is the most critical, for it is in mortality where we are tried and figuratively placed in the fire and tested, proved to see what kind of material we are made of, whether we will be worthy of an exaltation in the kingdom of God or be assigned to some other kingdom (Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions, 4:81-82). — Book of Mormon Student Manual, p. 24
In 1886 Elder Lorenzo Snow of the Quorum of the Twelve said: “You and I cannot be made perfect except through suffering; Jesus could not. In His prayer and agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, He foreshadowed the purifying process necessary . . . to secure the glory of a celestial kingdom” (in Journal of Discourses, 26:367).
We all face monumental periods in our lives when we turn to the Lord and pour out our souls, for the pain is too great for us to stand alone. Sharing our burdens with our Savior is part of the process of perfection. — Elaine Jack, “Never Take No Cutoffs,” Ensign, August 1994, p. 68
No one wants adversity. Trials, disappointments, sadness, and heartache come to us from two basically different sources. Those who transgress the laws of God will always have those challenges. The other reason for adversity is to accomplish the Lord’s own purposes in our life that we may receive the refinement that comes from testing. It is vitally important for each of us to identify from which of these two sources come our trials and challenges, for the corrective action is very different.
Just when all seems to be going right, challenges often come in multiple doses applied simultaneously. When those trials are not consequences of your disobedience, they are evidence that the Lord feels you are prepared to grow more (see Prov. 3:11-12). He therefore gives you experiences that stimulate growth, understanding, and compassion which polish you for your everlasting benefit. — Elder Richard G. Scott, Ensign, November 1995, p. 16
We must be more concerned about what we do with what happens to us than we are with what happens to us. — Elder Marvin J. Ashton, “Who’s Losing?” Ensign, Nov. 1974, p. 41
It is not the conditions people are in that produce happiness but how they respond to those conditions. — Book of Mormon Student Manual, p. 15
All the easy things in the church have been done. From now on it is high adventure. — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “Grounded, Rooted, Established, and Settled,” BYU Devotional, September 15, 1981
Help from the Lord always follows eternal law. . . . It is important to understand that His healing can mean being cured, or having your burdens eased, or even coming to realize that it is worth it to endure to the end patiently, for God needs brave sons and daughters who are willing to be polished when in His wisdom that is His will. . . . He wants you to learn how to be cured when that is His will and how to obtain strength to live with your challenge when He intends it to be an instrument for growth. . . .
Don’t look for a life virtually free from discomfort, pain, pressure, challenge, or grief, for those are the tools a loving Father uses to stimulate our personal growth and understanding. . . .
Healing can occur in the act, yet more often it occurs over a period of time determined by the faith and obedience of the individual and the will of the Lord. I feel the pace is generally set by the individual and not by the Lord. (Italics added.) — Elder Richard G. Scott, Ensign, May 1994, pp. 7-8
Challenge comes as testing from a wise, knowing Father to give experience, that we may be seasoned, mature, and grow in understanding and application of His truths. When you are worthy, a challenge becomes a contribution to growth, not a barrier to it. Yet, no matter what the source of difficulty and no matter how you begin to obtain relief – through a qualified professional therapist, doctor, priesthood leader, friend, concerned parent, or loved one – no matter how you begin, those solutions will never provide a complete answer. The final healing comes through faith in Jesus Christ and His teachings, with a broken heart and a contrite spirit and obedience to His commandments. That is why human reaction to challenge in life that engenders hatred, despondency, distrust, anger, or revenge must be supplanted by the tender mercies of a loving Father in Heaven and His Beloved Son. When anguish comes from evil acts of others, there should be punishment and corrective action taken, but the offended is not the one to initiate that action. Leave it to others who have that responsibility. Learn to forgive; though terribly hard, it will release you and open the way to a newness of life. Time devoted by one injured to ensure the offender is punished is time wasted in the healing process. (Italics added.) — Elder Richard G. Scott, Ensign, May 1994, p. 9
We see such a limited part of the eternal plan He has fashioned for each one of us. Trust Him, even when in eternal perspective it temporarily hurts very much. . . . The path you are to walk through life may be very different from others. You may not always know why He does what He does, but you can know that He is perfectly just and perfectly merciful. He would have you suffer no consequence, no challenge, endure no burden that is superfluous to your good. — Elder Richard G. Scott, Ensign, November 1991, p. 86
Those years of the past, that we often think to be wasted, are often rich in many lessons, some of them very hard-earned lessons, which have meaning when the light of inspiration shines upon them. — Elder Boyd K. Packer, General Conference, April 1975
Sometimes we spend so much time trying to determine what we did wrong in the past to deserve the unpleasant happenings of the moment, we fail to resolve the challenges of the present. — Elder Marvin J. Ashton, Ensign, November 1984, p. 20
When Joseph Smith was in prison, he pled with the Lord, “O God, where art thou? . . . How long shall thy hand be stayed. . . .” (D&C 121:1-3)
Relief and release were not imminent, but an eternal principle was being stressed. The answer came:
“My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; and then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.” (Vs. 7-8)
God was there, and He heard. But His purposes and timetables were, and are, eternal. Often we mortals misunderstand; instead of answers there are sometimes delays, tests, and a trying by fire. — Elder Marvin J. Ashton, “Know He Is There,” Ensign, Feb. 1994, p. 50
When, for the moment, we ourselves are not being stretched on a particular cross, we ought to be at the foot of someone else’s – full of empathy and proffering spiritual refreshment. On the straight, narrow path, which leads to our little Calvarys, one does not hear a serious traveler exclaiming, “Look, no hands!” (See 1 Cor. 10:13) — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, Ensign, May 1990, p. 34
I have never learned anything from success. Success is whipped cream. I have always grown from my problems and challenges, from the things that don’t work out. — Actress Carol Burnett, 1993
If I had a formula for bypassing trouble, I would not pass it round. Trouble creates a capacity to handle it. I don’t embrace trouble; that’s as bad as treating it as an enemy. But I do say meet it as a friend, for you’ll see a lot of it and had better be on speaking terms with it. — Oliver Wendell Holmes
If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere. — Frank A. Clark
Adversity is like a strong wind. It tears away from us all but the things that cannot be torn, so that we see ourselves as we really are. — Arthur Golden
The problem is not that there are problems. The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem. — Theodore Rubin
Sleep, riches, and health to be truly enjoyed must be interrupted. — Johann Paul
Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors. — African Proverb
Adversity is the first path to truth. — Lord Byron
Sometimes I think my life would make a great TV movie. It even has the part where they say, “Stand by. We are experiencing temporary difficulties.” — Robert Brault
In connection with the 10-year observance of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on America, President Thomas S. Monson was among 10 opinion leaders invited by The Washington Post to address a topic for publication in the newspaper’s Sept. 8 online blog “On Faith: A Conversation on Religion and Politics.” Heading the blog were these questions: “What have we learned about religion in the past 10 years? What was the spiritual impact of 9/11?” . . .
If there is a spiritual lesson to be learned from our experience of that fateful day, it may be that we owe to God the same faithfulness that He gives to us. We should strive for steadiness, and for a commitment to God that does not ebb and flow with the years or the crises of our lives. It should not require tragedy for us to remember Him, and we should not be compelled to humility before giving Him our faith and trust. We too should be with Him in every season.
The way to be with God in every season is to strive to be near Him every week and each day. We truly “need Him every hour,” not just in hours of devastation. We must speak to Him, listen to Him, and serve Him. If we wish to serve Him, we should serve our fellow men. We will mourn the lives we lose, but we should also fix the lives that can be mended and heal the hearts that may yet be healed.
It is constancy that God would have from us. Tragedies are not merely opportunities to give Him a fleeting thought, or for momentary insight to His plan for our happiness. Destruction allows us to rebuild our lives in the way He teaches us, and to become something different than we were. We can make Him the center of our thoughts and His Son, Jesus Christ, the pattern for our behavior. We may not only find faith in God in our sorrow. We may also become faithful to Him in times of calm. — “President Monson responds to Washington Post’s invitation,” Church News, Sept. 17, 2011, p. 3
My heart reaches out to all who are unfortunate, who have various problems, who are bowed down with grief, who just seem to have so many difficulties. You just have to make the best of it. You do the very best you can with what you have, and leave the rest to the Lord. That’s really all you can do. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, “An optimist at 95,” Church News, June 25, 2005, p. 3
When you face adversity, you can be led to ask many questions. Some serve a useful purpose; others do not. To ask, Why does this have to happen to me? Why do I have to suffer this, now? What have I done to cause this? will lead you into blind alleys. It really does no good to ask questions that reflect opposition to the will of God. Rather ask, What am I to do? What am I to learn from this experience? What am I to change? Whom am I to help? How can I remember my many blessings in times of trial? Willing sacrifice of deeply held personal desires in favor of the will of God is very hard to do. Yet, when you pray with real conviction, “Please let me know Thy will” and “May Thy will be done,” you are in the strongest position to receive the maximum help from your loving Father. — Elder Richard G. Scott, “Trust in the Lord,” Ensign, November 1995, p. 17
Remember that every David has a Goliath to defeat, and every Goliath can be defeated. He may not be a bully who fights with fists or sword or gun. He may not even be flesh and blood. He may not be nine feet tall; he may not be armor-protected, but every boy has his Goliaths. And every boy has his sling, and every boy has access to the brook with its smooth stones.
You will meet Goliaths who threaten you. Whether your Goliath is a town bully or is the temptation to steal or to destroy or the temptation to rob or the desire to curse and swear; if your Goliath is the desire to wantonly destroy or the temptation to lust and to sin, or the urge to avoid activity, whatever is your Goliath, he can be slain. But remember, to be the victor, one must follow the path that David followed:
“David behaved himself wisely in all his ways; and the Lord was with him.” (1 Sam. 18:14) — President Spencer W. Kimball, “The Davids and the Goliaths,” Ensign, Nov. 1974, p. 82
In a general sense, our burdens come from three sources. Some burdens are the natural product of the conditions of the world in which we live. Illness, physical disability, hurricanes, and earthquakes come from time to time through no fault of our own. We can prepare for these risks and sometimes we can predict them, but in the natural pattern of life we will all confront some of these challenges.
Other burdens are imposed on us by the misconduct of others. Abuse and addictions can make home anything but a heaven on earth for innocent family members. Sin, incorrect traditions, repression, and crime scatter burdened victims along the pathways of life. Even less-serious misdeeds such as gossip and unkindness can cause others genuine suffering.
Our own mistakes and shortcomings produce many of our problems and can place heavy burdens on our own shoulders. The most onerous burden we impose upon ourselves is the burden of sin. We have all known the remorse and pain which inevitably follow our failure to keep the commandments.
No matter the burdens we face in life as a consequence of natural conditions, the misconduct of others, or our own mistakes and shortcomings, we are all children of a loving Heavenly Father, who sent us to earth as part of His eternal plan for our growth and progress. Our unique individual experiences can help us prepare to return to Him. The adversity and afflictions that are ours, however difficult to bear, last, from heaven’s perspective, for “but a small moment; and then, if [we] endure it well, God shall exalt [us] on high.” (D&C 121:7–8) We must do everything we can to bear our burdens “well” for however long our “small moment” carrying them lasts. — Elder L. Whitney Clayton, “That Your Burdens May Be Light,” General Conference, October 2009
We sometimes limit what God can make of us because we don’t want to experience the bad with the good. . . .
. . . only after experiencing the challenges of life that we will be prepared to enjoy the summit. — Adam C. Olson, “Making Mountains,” Ensign, January 2010, p. 49
One’s life . . . cannot be both faith-filled and stress-free. . . . Therefore, how can you and I really expect to glide naively through life, as if to say, “Lord, give me experience, but not grief, not sorrow, not pain, not opposition, not betrayal, and certainly not to be forsaken. Keep from me, Lord, all those experiences which made Thee what Thou art! Then let me come and dwell with Thee and fully share Thy joy!” . . . .
Real faith . . . is required to endure this necessary but painful developmental process. — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “Lest Ye Be Wearied and Faint in Your Minds,” Ensign, May 1991, pp. 88, 90
We live in a day when the adversary stresses on every hand the philosophy of instant gratification. We seem to demand instant everything, including instant solutions to our problems. . . .
It was meant to be that life would be a challenge. To suffer some anxiety, some depression, some disappointment, even some failure is normal.
Teach our members that if they have a good, miserable day once in a while, or several in a row, to stand steady and face them. Things will straighten out.
There is great purpose in our struggle in life. — President Boyd K. Packer, “Solving Emotional Problems in the Lord’s Way,” Ensign, January 2010, pp. 50-51; from April 1978 General Conference address
Isn’t that what we all desire: to be the heroes and heroines of our own stories; to triumph over adversity; to experience life in all its beauty; and, in the end, to live happily ever after? For a moment, think back about your favorite fairy tale. In that story the main character may be a princess or a peasant; she might be a mermaid or a milkmaid, a ruler or a servant. You will find one thing all have in common: they must overcome adversity. . . .
Cinderella has to endure her wicked stepmother and evil stepsisters. She is compelled to suffer long hours of servitude and ridicule. In “Beauty and the Beast,” Belle becomes a captive to a frightful-looking beast in order to save her father. She sacrifices her home and family, all she holds dear, to spend several months in the beast’s castle. In each of these stories, Cinderella and Belle . . . have to experience sadness and trial before they can reach their “happily ever after.”
Think about it. Has there ever been a person who did not have to go through his or her own dark valley of temptation, trial, and sorrow? . . . Sandwiched between their “once upon a time” and “happily ever after,” they all had to experience great adversity. Why must all experience sadness and tragedy? Why could we not simply live in bliss and peace, each day filled with wonder, joy, and love? . . .
The scriptures tell us there must be opposition in all things, for without it we could not discern the sweet from the bitter. . . . In stories, as in life, adversity teaches us things we cannot learn otherwise. Adversity helps to develop a depth of character that comes in no other way.
Our loving Heavenly Father has set us in a world filled with challenges and trials so that we, through opposition, can learn wisdom, become stronger, and experience joy.
Everywhere you look today, you will find promises of happiness. Ads in magazines promise total bliss if you will only buy a certain outfit, shampoo, or makeup. In a world where evil is portrayed as good and good as evil, sometimes it is difficult to know the truth. In some ways it is almost like Little Red Riding Hood’s dilemma: when you are not quite sure what you are seeing, is it a beloved grandmother or is it a dangerous wolf? . . .
I understand that, at times, some may wonder why they attend Church meetings or why it is so important to read the scriptures regularly or pray to our Heavenly Father daily. Here is my answer: You do these things because they are part of God’s path for you. And that path will take you to your “happily ever after” destination. . . . “Happily ever after” is not something found only in fairy tales. You can have it! It is available for you! But you must follow your Heavenly Father’s map. . . . — President Deiter Uchtdorf, 2010 Young Women’s Meeting
Neal A. Maxwell, then Commissioner of Church Education, commented: In Proverbs 15:31–32 we read: “The disciple of Christ needs to expect the ‘reproof of life’ – and suffering – for suffering is that sweat that comes from working out our salvation. Suffering is on the agenda for each of us.” — Freedom: a “Hard Doctrine,” BYU Speeches of the Year, 12 Apr. 1972, p. 4; Old Testament Student Manual, 1 Kings – Malachi, p. 16
We, too, are faced with powerful, destructive forces unleashed by the adversary. Waves of sin, wickedness, immorality, degradation, tyranny, deceitfulness, conspiracy, and dishonesty threaten all of us. They come with great power and speed and will destroy us if we are not watchful.
But a warning is sounded for us. It behooves us to be alert and to listen and flee from the evil for our eternal lives. Without help we cannot stand against it. We must flee to high ground or cling fast to that which can keep us from being swept away. That to which we must cling for safety is the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is our protection from whatever force the evil one can muster. An inspired Book of Mormon prophet counseled his people: “Remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo” (Hel. 5:12).
Because many individuals do not fully use the capacity that is in them does nothing to negate the truth that they have the power to become Christlike. It is the man and woman who use the power who prove its existence; neglect cannot prove its absence.
Working toward perfection is not a one-time decision but a process to be pursued throughout one’s lifetime. — President Spencer W. Kimball, “Hold Fast to the Iron Rod,” Ensign, November 1978
“The daily newspaper screamed the headlines: ‘Plane Crash Kills 43. No Survivors of Mountain Tragedy,’ and thousands of voices joined in a chorus: ‘Why did the Lord let this terrible thing happen?’
“Two automobiles crashed when one went through a red light, and six people were killed. Why would God not prevent this?
“Why should the young mother die of cancer and leave her eight children motherless? Why did not the Lord heal her?
“A little child was drowned; another was run over. Why?
“A man died one day suddenly of a coronary occlusion as he climbed a stairway. His body was found slumped on the floor. His wife cried out in agony, ‘Why? Why would the Lord do this to me? Could he not have considered my three little children who still need a father?’
“A young man died in the mission field and people critically questioned: ‘Why did not the Lord protect this youth while he was doing proselyting work?’” (Spencer W. Kimball, Faith Precedes the Miracle, p. 95)
Why do the righteous, those who love and serve God, suffer? In Job 1:8 the Lord called Job a “perfect and an upright man.” Why then did the Lord permit Satan to afflict His righteous servant?
Who is responsible for man’s troubles? Was it the Lord who directed the plane into the mountainside? Did God cause the highway collision? Was it He who prompted the young child to toddle into the canal or the man to suffer the heart attack? Responding to these questions, President Kimball said:
“Answer, if you can. I cannot, for though I know God has a major role in our lives, I do not know how much he causes to happen and how much he merely permits. Whatever the answer to this question, there is another I feel sure about.
“Could the Lord have prevented these tragedies? The answer is, Yes. The Lord is omnipotent, with all power to control our lives, save us pain, prevent all accidents, drive all planes and cars, feed us, protect us, save us from labor, effort, sickness, even from death, if he will. But he will not.” (Faith Precedes the Miracle, p. 96) — Old Testament Student Manual, 1 Kings – Malachi, p. 23
Many years ago, I observed a heartbreak – which became a tragedy. A young couple was nearing the delivery of their first child. Their lives were filled with the anticipation and excitement of this monumental experience. During the delivery, complications arose and the baby died. Heartbreak turned to grief, grief turned to anger, anger turned to blame, and blame turned to revenge toward the doctor, whom they held fully responsible. Parents and other family members became heavily involved, together seeking to ruin the reputation and the career of the physician. As weeks and then months of acrimony consumed the family, their bitterness was extended to the Lord. “How could He allow this horrible thing to occur?” They rejected the repeated efforts of Church leaders and members to spiritually and emotionally comfort them and, in time, disassociated themselves from the Church. Four generations of the family have now been affected. Where once there were faith and devotion to the Lord and His Church, there has been no spiritual activity by any family member for decades.
In the most difficult circumstances of life, there is often only one source of peace. The Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ, extends His grace with the invitation “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). He further promises, “My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you” (John 14:27). — Elder Donald L. Hallstrom, “Turn to the Lord,” Ensign, May 2010, p. 78
As I have labored among the brethren here and have studied the history of past dispensations, I have become aware that the Lord has given tests all down through time as to this matter of loyalty to the leadership of the Church. I go back into the scriptures and follow along in such stories as David’s loyalty when the king was trying to take his life. He wouldn’t defile the anointed of the Lord even when he could have taken his life. I have listened to the classic stories in this dispensation about how Brigham Young was tested, how Heber C. Kimball was tested, John Taylor and Willard Richards in Carthage Jail, Zion’s Camp that received a great test, and from that number were chosen the first General Authorities in this dispensation. There were others who didn’t pass the test of loyalty, and they fell from their places.
I have been in a position since I came into the Council of the Twelve to observe some things among my brethren, and I want to say to you: Every man my junior in the Council of the Twelve, I have seen submitted as though by Providence, to these same tests of loyalty, and I wondered sometimes whether they were going to pass the tests. The reason they are here today is because they did, and our Father has honored them. . . .
And so God has honored them, and it is my conviction that every man who will be called to a high place in this Church will have to pass these tests not devised by human hands, by which our Father numbers them as a united group of leaders willing to follow the prophets of the Living God and be loyal and true as witnesses and exemplars of the truths they teach. — President Harold B. Lee in Conference Report, April 1950, p. 101, italics added; The Life and Teachings of Jesus and His Apostles, p. 30
Does this mean that there will be tests, trials, and temptations in your future? Yes! But do not fear. What was the result of overcoming the trials and temptations for the Savior and for the Prophet? Can you see that not only did they prove loyal to their stewardship but also they grew in spiritual power, light, and closeness to God? Can you see that as you become committed to the kingdom, you will have the opportunity to grow also, into a brilliant, scintillating child of God? Further, do you understand that through your covenant you will be supported by the Spirit in your trials? Look at the reassurance Alma gives in Alma 36:3–5, 27.
Do not look for temptation and trials, for they will come on their own, but determine to resist and overcome them as they do, that you may receive of the joy of the Lord. — The Life and Teachings of Jesus and His Apostles, p. 30
As I look to the future – as I look at your future – I pray that you will step forward and assume your responsibility of preserving the noble heritage of the past. I pray that in a future day you will be known as “the Greatest Generation.” Your war is different. I am fully aware that your challenge will be much greater than ours. We knew our enemy on the battlefield. They were shooting at us. The enemy today is more sinister. He does not always confront us in head-on battle. Instead, he hides in almost every device known to man. — Elder L. Tom Perry, CES Fireside at BYU, March 6, 2011
Christ’s enabling power helps us feel happiness and cheer amid mortal gloom and doom. Misfortune and hardship lose their tragedy when viewed through the lens of the Atonement. The process could be explained this way: The more we know the Savior, the longer our view becomes. The more we see His truths, the more we feel His joy. — Camille Fronk Olson, “Be of Good Cheer,” Ensign, July 2011, p. 57
First is the false assumption that, if we are good enough, we can avoid having bad things happen to us and those we love. If we can just keep all of the commandments, pay an honest tithing, and have daily prayer and scripture study, we can assure ourselves of His protection from heartache, accident, or tragedy. But trials will surely come, including when we are trying to do everything right.
If we believe that God will shield us from tribulation because of our obedience and then adversity strikes, we may be tempted to accuse God of not hearing our prayers or, worse, of not honoring His promises. Obedience to God is not insurance against pain and sadness. Challenges have always been included in God’s great plan to test our faith and to help us grow in humility and compassion.
The Apostle Paul acknowledged, “There was given to me a thorn in the flesh, . . . to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure” (2 Corinthians 12:7). Part of Christ’s mission is to heal broken hearts. He came to wipe away our tears, not to ensure that we would never weep (see Revelation 7:17). He clearly promised, “In the world ye shall have tribulation” (John 16:33). — Camille Fronk Olson, “Be of Good Cheer,” Ensign, July 2011, p. 58
I have pondered about the purpose of pain. None of us is immune from experiencing pain. I have seen people cope with it very differently. Some turn away from God in anger, and others allow their suffering to bring them closer to God.
Like you, I have experienced pain myself. Pain is a gauge of the healing process. It often teaches us patience. Perhaps that is why we use the term patient in referring to the sick.
Elder Orson F. Whitney wrote: “No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude, and humility. . . . It is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation, that we gain the education that we come here to acquire.” (Orson F. Whitney, in Spencer W. Kimball, Faith Precedes the Miracle (1972), 98.)
Similarly, Elder Robert D. Hales has said: “Pain brings you to a humility that allows you to ponder. It is an experience I am grateful to have endured. . . .
“I learned that the physical pain and the healing of the body after major surgery are remarkably similar to the spiritual pain and the healing of the soul in the process of repentance.” (Robert D. Hales, “Healing Soul and Body,” Ensign, Nov. 1998, 14)
Much of our suffering is not necessarily our fault. Unexpected events, contradicting or disappointing circumstances, interrupting illness, and even death surround us and penetrate our mortal experience. Additionally, we may suffer afflictions because of the actions of others. (See Alma 31:31, 33.) Lehi noted that Jacob had “suffered . . . much sorrow, because of the rudeness of [his] brethren.” (Opposition is part of Heavenly Father’s plan of happiness. We all encounter enough to bring us to an awareness of our Father’s love and of our need for the Savior’s help.
The Savior is not a silent observer. He Himself knows personally and infinitely the pain we face. “He suffereth the pains of all men, yea, the pains of every living creature, both men, women, and children.” (2 Nephi 9:21)
“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16) — Elder Kent F. Richards “The Atonement Covers All Pain,” Ensign, May 2011, p. 15
We don’t always know the details of our future. We do not know what lies ahead. We live in a time of uncertainty. We are surrounded by challenges on all sides. Occasionally discouragement may sneak into our day; frustration may invite itself into our thinking; doubt might enter about the value of our work. In these dark moments Satan whispers in our ears that we will never be able to succeed, that the price isn’t worth the effort, and that our small part will never make a difference. He, the father of all lies, will try to prevent us from seeing the end from the beginning. — Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “See the End from the Beginning,” Ensign, May 2006, p. 43
. . . His Son, Jesus Christ, is our Savior and Redeemer, whose Atonement not only provides for salvation and exaltation but also will compensate for all the unfairness of life.
From the limited perspective of those who do not have knowledge, understanding, or faith in the Father’s plan – who look at the world only through the lens of mortality with its wars, violence, disease, and evil – this life can seem depressing, chaotic, unfair, and meaningless. Church leaders have compared this perspective with someone walking into the middle of a three-act play. Those without knowledge of the Father’s plan do not understand what happened in the first act, or the premortal existence, and the purposes established there; nor do they understand the clarification and resolution that come in the third act, which is the glorious fulfillment of the Father’s plan.[Footnote: See Boyd K. Packer, “The Play and the Plan,” Church Educational System fireside for young adults, May 7, 1995, 3: “In mortality, we are like one who enters a theater just as the curtain goes up on the second act. We have missed Act 1. . . . ‘And they all lived happily ever after’ is never written into the second act. That line belongs in the third act when the mysteries are solved and everything is put right.” See also Neal A. Maxwell, All These Things Shall Give Thee Experience, 1979, 37: “God . . . sees the beginning from the end. . . . The arithmetic . . . is something we mortals cannot comprehend. We cannot do the sums because we do not have all the numbers. We are locked in the dimension of time and are contained within the tight perspectives of this second estate.”] — Elder Quentin L. Cook, “The Songs They Could Not Sing,” Ensign, November 2011, p. 104
There are many kinds of challenges. Some give us necessary experiences. Adverse results in this mortal life are not evidence of lack of faith or of an imperfection in our Father in Heaven’s overall plan. The refiner’s fire is real, and qualities of character and righteousness that are forged in the furnace of affliction perfect and purify us and prepare us to meet God.
When the Prophet Joseph Smith was a prisoner in Liberty Jail, the Lord declared to him that multiple calamities can befall mankind. The Savior stated in part, “If thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; . . . and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; . . . these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.” (D&C 122:7) The Savior concluded His instruction: “Thy days are known, and thy years shall not be numbered less; therefore, fear not . . , for God shall be with you forever and ever.” (D&C 122:9) — Elder Quentin L. Cook, “The Songs They Could Not Sing,” Ensign, November 2011, p. 106
It is natural for parents with handicapped children to ask themselves, ‘What did we do wrong?’ The idea that all suffering is somehow the direct result of sin has been taught since ancient times. It is false doctrine. That notion was even accepted by some of the early disciples until the Lord corrected them. (See John 9:1-3)
Some handicaps may result from carelessness or abuse, and some through addiction of parents. But most of them do not. Afflictions come to the innocent.
The very purpose for which the world was created and man introduced to live upon it, requires that the laws of nature operate in cold disregard for human feelings. We must work out our salvation without expecting the laws of nature to be exempted. — Elder Boyd K. Packer, April 1991 General Conference
Most of us think that the price of discipleship is too costly and too burdensome. For many it involves the giving up of too much. But the cross is not as heavy as it appears to be because we acquire through obedience a much greater strength to carry it:
“Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
“For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:28–30). — President James E. Faust, Ensign, April, 1999
Today other biographies of faith are being written – Saints who, like Job, suffer physical pain, emotional sorrow, and even disloyalty from friends – yet remain faithful; Saints who, like Jacob, see sons and daughters not so valiant as they should be, but who bless them for their potential; Saints who, like Paul, endure great ridicule and endure to the end; Saints who, like Nephi, must separate themselves from family because of their commitment to the gospel. There are those who know pain and sorrow because of loss of loved ones; who know spiritual sorrow because children go astray; who experience loss of health, financial reverses, and emotional distress, and yet, like Job, resolve, “When he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold” (Job 23:10).
We recently celebrated the birthday of President Spencer W. Kimball. Most of us are familiar with the fact that great adversity has been his companion for a great portion of his eighty-five years. He spoke from experience when he wrote these words: “Being human, we would expel from our lives physical pain and mental anguish and assure ourselves of continual ease and comfort, but if we were to close the doors upon sorrow and distress, we might be excluding our greatest friends and benefactors. Suffering can make saints of people as they learn patience, long-suffering, and self-mastery” (Faith Precedes the Miracle, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1972, p. 98). — President Howard W. Hunter, “God Will Have a Tried People,” Ensign, May 1980, p. 24
Medical research describes addiction as “a disease of the brain.” This is true, but I believe that once Satan has someone in his grasp, it also becomes a disease of the spirit. But no matter what addictive cycle one is caught in, there is always hope. The prophet Lehi taught his sons this eternal truth: “Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil” (2 Nephi 2:27).
If anyone who is addicted has a desire to overcome, then there is a way to spiritual freedom – a way to escape from bondage – a way that is proven. It begins with prayer – sincere, fervent, and constant communication with the Creator of our spirits and bodies, our Heavenly Father. It is the same principle in breaking a bad habit or repenting from sin of any kind. The formula for having our heart, our body, our mind, and our spirit transformed is found in the scriptures.
The prophet Mormon counseled us: “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love . . . ; that ye may become the sons of God; . . . that we may be purified even as he is pure” (Moroni 7:48). — Elder M. Russell Ballard, Conference Report, Oct. 2010
What a great strength it would be to all of us in times of desperation and wonderment to humbly approach his throne with “Please hear my prayers. Answer them in thy great wisdom for my best good. But please give me the constant reassurance that thou art there and that peace, contentment, and the courage to continue are mine because I have faith and can come to thee who has promised not to forsake us.” — Elder Marvin J. Ashton, BYU Devotional, 10 November 1992
I want to impress upon your hearts . . . that you can make no sacrifice but what sooner or later the reward will come to you, either in time or in eternity, and almost without exception when we make any sacrifices in the line of duty in performing those things that are pleasing in the sight of God, we get our reward during our lives. — Teachings of the Prophets: Heber J. Grant
Sometime in the eternities to come, we will see that our trials were calculated to cause us to turn to our Heavenly Father for strength and support. Any affliction or suffering we are called upon to bear may be directed to give us experience, refinement, and perfection. — Elder Delbert L. Stapley, “The Blessings of Righteous Obedience,” Ensign, Nov. 1977
At times we may be tempted to think the Savior is oblivious to our trials. In fact, the reverse is true; it is we who need to be awakened in our hearts to His teachings. Use your ingenuity, your strength, your might to resolve your challenges. Do all you can do and then leave the rest to the Lord. — Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, “Finding a Safe Harbor,” Ensign, May 2000, p. 59
No matter how difficult the trail, and regardless of how heavy our load, we can take comfort in knowing that others before us have borne life’s most grievous trials and tragedies by looking to heaven for peace, comfort, and hopeful assurance. We can know as they knew that God is our Father, that He cares about us individually and collectively, and that as long as we continue to exercise our faith and trust in Him there is nothing to fear in the journey. — Elder M. Russell Ballard, “You Have Nothing to Fear from the Journey,” Ensign, May 1997, p. 59
We declare eagerly and unequivocally that there is again a living prophet on the earth speaking in the name of the Lord. And how we need such guidance! Our times are turbulent and difficult. We see wars internationally and distress domestically. Neighbors all around us face personal heartaches and family sorrows. Legions know fear and troubles of a hundred kinds. This reminds us that when those mists of darkness enveloped the travelers in Lehi’s vision of the tree of life, it enveloped all of the participants – the righteous as well as the unrighteous, the young along with the elderly, the new convert and seasoned member alike. In that allegory all face opposition and travail, and only the rod of iron – the declared word of God – can bring them safely through. We all need that rod. We all need that word. No one is safe without it, for in its absence any can “[fall] away into forbidden paths and [be] lost,” as the record says. How grateful we are to have heard God’s voice and felt the strength of that iron rod in this conference these past two days. — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “Prophets in the Land Again,” Ensign, November 2006; also Holland, Broken Things to Mend
I testify that as the forces of evil increase under Lucifer’s leadership and as the forces of good increase under the leadership of Jesus Christ, there will be growing battles between the two until the final confrontation. As the issues become clearer and more obvious, all mankind will eventually be required to align themselves either for the kingdom of God or for the kingdom of the devil. As these conflicts rage, either secretly or openly, the righteous will be tested. God’s wrath will soon shake the nations of the earth and will be poured out on the wicked without measure. (See JS-H 1:45; D&C 1:9.) But God will provide strength for the righteous and the means of escape; and eventually and finally truth will triumph. (See 1 Ne. 22:15-23.) — President Ezra Taft Benson, “I Testify,” Ensign, November 1988, p. 86
Challenges, difficulties, questions, doubts – these are part of our mortality. But we are not alone. As disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, we have enormous spiritual reservoirs of light and truth available to us. Fear and faith cannot coexist in our hearts at the same time. In our days of difficulty, we choose the road of faith. Jesus said, “Be not afraid, only believe” (Mark 5:36). — Elder Neil L. Anderson, Conference Report, November 2008
We should not be discouraged or depressed by our shortcomings. No one is without weakness. As part of the divine plan, we are tested to see whether we master weakness or let weakness master us. Proper diagnosis is essential to proper treatment. The Lord gave us this remarkable assurance: “Because thou hast seen thy weakness thou shalt be made strong” (Ether 12:37). But wishing for strength won’t make us strong. It takes faith and work to shore up a weakened cord of integrity. — Elder Russell M. Nelson, “Integrity of Heart,” Ensign, August 1995, p. 19
When the challenges of mortality come, and they come for all of us, it may seem hard to have faith and hard to believe. At these times only faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His Atonement can bring us peace, hope, and understanding. Only faith that He suffered for our sakes will give us the strength to endure to the end. When we gain this faith, we experience a mighty change of heart, and like Enos, we become stronger and begin to feel a desire for the welfare of our brothers and sisters. We pray for them, that they too will be lifted and strengthened through faith on the Atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ. — Elder Robert D Hales, “Finding Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ,” Ensign, November 2004, p. 70
Life will have its storms. We can and must have confidence. God our Heavenly Father has given us the right to know the truth. He has shown that the way to receive that truth is simple, so simple that a child can follow it. Once it is followed, more light comes from God to enlighten the understanding of His faithful spirit child. That light will become brighter even as the world darkens. The light that comes to us with truth will be brighter than the darkness that comes from sin and error around us. A foundation built on truth and illuminated by the light of God will free us from the fear that we might be overcome. — Elder Henry B. Eyring, “A Life Founded in Light and Truth,” Ensign, July 2001, p. 6
Some might ask when faced with such suffering, how could Almighty God let this happen? And then that seemingly inevitable question, why did this happen to me? Why must we experience disease and events that disable or call precious family members home early or extend their years in pain? Why the heartaches? At these moments we can turn to the great plan of happiness authored by our Heavenly Father. That plan, when presented in the pre-earth life, prompted us all to shout for joy. Put simply, this life is training for eternal exaltation, and that process means tests and trials. It has always been so, and no one is spared. — Elder Ronald A. Rasband, Ensign, April 2012
What a great strength it would be to all of us in times of desperation and wonderment to humbly approach His throne with, “Please hear my prayers. Answer them in Thy great wisdom for my best good. But please give me the constant reassurance that Thou art there and that peace, contentment, and the courage to continue are mine because I have faith and can come to Thee who hast promised not to forsake us.” — Elder Marvin J. Ashton, Ensign, February 1994, p. 50
In the many trials of life, when we feel abandoned and when sorrow, sin, disappointment, failure, and weakness make us less than we should ever be, there can come the healing salve of the unreserved love in the grace of God. It is a love that lifts and blesses. It is a love that sustains a new beginning on a higher level and thereby continues from grace to grace. — Elder James E. Faust, “A Personal Relationship with the Savior,” Ensign, November 1976, p. 59
Christ on the cross gave out the cry “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” That cry on the cross is an indication that the very best of our Father’s children found the trials so real, the tests so exquisite and so severe, that he cried out – not in doubt of his Father’s reality, but wondering “why” at that moment of agony – for Jesus felt so alone. James Talmage advises us that in ways you and I cannot understand, God somehow withdrew his immediate presence from the Son so that Jesus Christ’s triumph might be truly complete.
From Gethsemane and Calvary there are many lessons we need to apply to our own lives. We, too, at times may wonder if we have been forgotten and forsaken. Hopefully, we will do as the Master did and acknowledge that God is still there and never doubt that sublime reality – even though we may wonder and might desire to avoid some of life’s experiences. We may at times, if we are not careful, try to pray away pain or what seems like an impending tragedy, but which is, in reality, an opportunity. We must do as Jesus did in that respect – also preface our prayers by saying, “If it be possible,” let the trial pass from us – by saying, “Nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt,” and bowing in a sense of serenity to our Father in heaven’s wisdom, because at times God will not be able to let us pass by a trial or a challenge. If we were allowed to bypass certain trials, everything that had gone on up to that moment in our lives would be wiped out. It is because he loves us that at times he will not intercede as we may wish him to. That, too, we learn from Gethsemane and from Calvary.
It is interesting to me, brothers and sisters, to note that among the qualities of a saint is the capacity to develop patience and to cope with the things that life inflicts upon us. That capacity brings together two prime attributes – patience and endurance. These are qualities, in the process of giving service to mankind that most people reject or undervalue. Most people would gladly serve mankind if somehow they could get it over with once, preferably with applause and recognition. But, for the sake of righteousness, to endure, to be patient in the midst of affliction, in the midst of being misunderstood, and in the midst of suffering – that is sainthood!
I am struck quite forcibly by the idea that no man has yet become President of the Church of him who suffered so much who has not himself undergone some special challenges previous to that moment. The challenges vary from President to President, but the ways in which these men have coped with these challenges are strikingly similar.
If we use Jesus as a model in the midst of the suffering about which we’re speaking, then it is also noteworthy that even in the midst of his exquisite agony he managed to have compassion for those nearby who were then suffering much, though much less than he – those on the adjoining crosses or about him below the cross. How marvelous it is when we see people who are not so swallowed up in their own suffering that they cannot still manage sympathy, even empathy, for those who suffer far, far less. How many of us here may have undergone the embarrassment of being comforted by those who had more reason to be comforted than we? Yet we recognize in that act of theirs a saintliness to which we would so gladly aspire. — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “But For a Small Moment,” BYU Fireside, September 1, 1974
Now, my beloved brethren and sisters, let us read the Book of Mormon and be convinced that Jesus is the Christ. Let us continually reread the Book of Mormon so that we might more fully come to Christ, be committed to Him, centered in Him, and consumed in Him.
We are meeting the adversary every day. The challenges of this era will rival any of the past, and these challenges will increase both spiritually and temporally. We must be close to Christ, we must daily take His name upon us, always remember Him, and keep His commandments. — President Ezra Taft Benson, General Conference, October 1987
None of us will escape tragedy and suffering. Each of us will probably react differently. However, if we can recall the Lord’s promise, “for I the Lord am with you,” we will be able to face our problems with dignity and courage. We will find the strength to be of good cheer instead of becoming resentful, critical, or defeated. We will be able to meet life’s unpleasant happenings with clear vision, strength, and power. — Elder Marvin J. Ashton, “Be of Good Cheer,” Ensign, May 1986, p. 66
We have been tried to some extent, but not to the extent which we probably will be; there are many things in which we will be greatly tried before we get through. Every Latter-day Saint who gains a celestial glory will be tried to the very uttermost. If there is a point in our character that is weak and tender, you may depend upon it that the Lord will reach after that, and we will be tried at that spot, for the Lord will test us to the utmost before we can get through and receive that glory and exaltation which He has in store for us as a people. When we think about the character of the exaltation promised unto us, we can understand why this should be the case. What are we striving for? What are we aiming to obtain? Our constant prayer to God is that we may be considered worthy to receive celestial glory. That is the prayer of every one who belongs to the Church. Every man and every woman who prays unto the Father, who is in the habit of doing so, expresses that desire in his or her prayer – that we may be counted worthy to receive celestial glory and exaltation in the presence of God and the Lamb. What a great thing to ask! — President George Q. Cannon, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 22, October 31, 1880, pp. 123-24
As Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught: “We live to die, and we die to live again. From an eternal perspective, the only death that is truly premature is the death of one who is not prepared to meet God.” (Russell M. Nelson, “Face the Future with Faith,” Ensign, May 2011, 34) An eternal perspective is part of the peace the gospel can give us.
The Lord knows us. The Lord loves us. And the Lord wants to help us. Calamities will come, but we don’t have to fear them. If we are willing to be guided and ask for His direction, the Lord through the Holy Ghost will help us prepare for, endure, and recover from any natural disaster. — Elder Stanley G. Ellis, “Natural Disasters, We Don’t Have to be Afraid,” Ensign, August 2012, p. 25
I ask, is there a reason for men and women being exposed more constantly and more powerfully, to the power of the enemy, by having visions than by not having them? There is and it is simply this – God never bestows upon his people, or upon an individual, superior blessings without a severe trial to prove them, to prove that individual, or that people, to see whether they will keep their covenants with him, and keep in remembrance what he has shown them. Then, the greater the vision, the greater the display of the power of the enemy. — Brigham Young, Chapter XXIX – Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 519, 3:205-206
Our responses will inevitably shape our souls and ultimately determine our status in eternity. Because opposition is divinely decreed for the purpose of helping us to grow, we have the assurance of God that in the long view of eternity it will not be allowed to overcome us if we persevere in faith. We will prevail. Like the mortal life of which they are a part, adversities are temporary. What is permanent is what we become by the way we react to them. — Elder Dallin H. Oaks, “Adversity,” Ensign, July 1998, p. 7
Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled: Consider, for example, the Savior’s benediction upon his disciples even as he moved toward the pain and agony of Gethsemane and Calvary. On the very night of the greatest suffering the world will ever know, he said, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: . . . Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).
That may be one of the Savior’s commandments that is, even in the hearts of otherwise faithful Latter-day Saints, almost universally disobeyed; and yet I wonder whether our resistance to this invitation could be any more grievous to the Lord’s merciful heart.
I can tell you this as a parent. As concerned as I would be if one of my children were seriously troubled or unhappy or disobedient, nevertheless I would be infinitely more devastated if I felt that at such a time that child could not trust me to help, or should feel his or her interest were unimportant to me or unsafe in my care.
In that same spirit I am convinced that none of us can appreciate how deeply it wounds the loving heart of the Savior when he finds his people do not feel confident in his care or secure in his hands or trust in his commandments. — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “Come and See,” New Era, December 1997
Spiritual submissiveness is so much more than bended knee or bowed head. Alas, insofar as we “mind the things of the flesh” (Rom. 8:5), we simply cannot have the “mind of Christ.” (1 Cor. 2:16.)
Jesus laid down this sobering requirement: “Except ye . . . become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 18:3.)
One of Jesus’ prophets delineated – with submissiveness thrice stipulated – how a disciple can become “as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.” (Mosiah 3:19.)
Three other clusters of scriptures stress these towering qualities. (See Alma 7:23; Alma 13:28; D&C 121:41–42.) Stunningly parallel, they form an almost seamless litany of attributes to be developed, with submissiveness at their catalytic center. This repeated clustering is too striking to be random.
A superficial view of this life, therefore, will not do, lest we mistakenly speak of this mortal experience only as coming here to get a body, as if we were merely picking up a suit at the cleaners. Or, lest we casually recite how we have come here to be proved, as if a few brisk push-ups and deep knee bends would do. — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, General Conference, April 1985
Rather than simply passing through trials, we must allow trials to pass through us in ways that sanctify us. — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “Enduring Well,” Ensign, April 1997
There are three parts to the plan. You are in the second or the middle part, the one in which you will be tested by temptation, by trials, perhaps by tragedy. . .
Remember this! The line “And they all lived happily ever after” is never written into the second act [of a play]. That line belongs in the third act, when the mysteries are solved and everything is put right. . . .
Until you have a broad perspective of the eternal nature of [the plan], you won’t make much sense out of the inequities in life. Some are born with so little and others with so much. Some are born in poverty, with handicaps, with pain, with suffering. Some experience premature death, even innocent children. There are the brutal, unforgiving forces of nature and the brutality of man to man. We have seen a lot of that recently.
Do not suppose that God willfully causes that which, for His own purposes, he permits. When you know the plan and the purpose of it all, even these things will manifest a loving Father in Heaven. — President Boyd K. Packer, “The Play and the Plan,” Satellite Broadcast, May 7, 1995
The injured should do what they can to work through their trials, and the Savior will “succor his people according to their infirmities.” He will help us carry our burdens. Some injuries are so hurtful and deep that they cannot be healed without help from a higher power and hope for perfect justice and restitution in the next life. Since the Savior has suffered anything and everything that we could ever feel or experience, He can help the weak to become stronger. — Elder James E. Faust, “The Atonement: Our Greatest Hope,” Liahona, Jan 2002, pp. 19-22
Suffering can take us one of two ways. It can be a strengthening and purifying experience combined with faith, or it can be a destructive force in our lives if we do not have the faith in the Lord’s atoning sacrifice. The purpose of suffering, however, is to build and strengthen us. We learn obedience by the things we suffer. We should be humbled and drawn to the Lord, as in the case of the prodigal son who appreciated his home only after going into the world and experiencing sorrow when he shut out his loved ones. — Elder Robert D. Hales, “Your Sorrow Shall Be Turned to Joy,” Ensign, Nov. 1983, p. 65
We declare eagerly and unequivocally that there is again a living prophet on the earth speaking in the name of the Lord. And how we need such guidance! Our times are turbulent and difficult. We see wars internationally and distress domestically. Neighbors all around us face personal heartaches and family sorrows. Legions know fear and troubles of a hundred kinds. This reminds us that when those mists of darkness enveloped the travelers in Lehi’s vision of the tree of life, it enveloped all of the participants – the righteous as well as the unrighteous, the young along with the elderly, the new convert and seasoned member alike. In that allegory all face opposition and travail, and only the rod of iron – the declared word of God – can bring them safely through. We all need that rod. We all need that word. No one is safe without it, for in its absence any can “[fall] away into forbidden paths and [be] lost,” as the record says. How grateful we are to have heard God’s voice and felt the strength of that iron rod in this conference these past two days. — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “Prophets in the Land Again,” Ensign, November 2006
There is an interesting story in the history of the Church. It concerns a man who was great and then fell because he became somewhat arrogant. Concerning him, President Wilford Woodruff said, “I have seen Oliver Cowdery when it seemed as though the earth trembled under his feet. I never heard a man bear a stronger testimony than he did when under the influence of the Spirit. But the moment he left the kingdom of God, that moment his power fell like lightning from heaven. He was shorn of his strength like Samson in the lap of Delilah. He lost the power and the testimony which he had enjoyed, and he never recovered it again in its fullness while in the flesh, although he died in the Church.” (As quoted by Stanley R. Gunn, Oliver Cowdery: Second Elder and Scribe, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1962, p. 73.)
As the years pass, each of us faces challenges within ourselves, generally in areas where we need development and refinement. Questions may arise in our minds concerning the Church, its history, its doctrine, its practices. I want to give you my testimony concerning this work. I have been heavily involved in it for more than a half a century. I have worked with the presidents of the Church from President Heber J. Grant onward. I have known in a very personal way President Grant, President George Albert Smith, President David O. McKay, President Joseph Fielding Smith, President Harold B. Lee, and President Spencer W. Kimball. I have known the counselors of all of these men, and I have known the Council of the Twelve during the years of the administrations of these Presidents. All of these men have been human. They have had human traits and perhaps some human weaknesses.
But over and above all of that, there has been in the life of every one of them an overpowering manifestation of the inspiration of God. Those who have been Presidents have been prophets in a very real way. I have intimately witnessed the spirit of revelation upon them. Each man came to the Presidency after many years of experience as a member of the Council of the Twelve and in other capacities. The Lord refined and polished each one, let him know discouragement and failure, let him experience illness and in some cases deep sorrow. All of this became part of a great refining process, and the effect of that process became beautifully evident in their lives. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, “Strengthening Each Other,” Ensign, February 1985, p. 5
Another fundamental scripture describes Jesus’ having trodden the winepress of the “fierceness of the wrath of Almighty God” (D&C 88:106; see also D&C 76:107; 133:50). Others can and should encourage, commend, pray, and comfort, but the lifting and carrying of our individual crosses remains ours to do. Given the “fierceness” Christ endured for us, we cannot expect a discipleship of unruffled easiness. As we seek forgiveness, for example, repentance can be a rough-hewn regimen to bear. By the way, let us not, as some do, mistake the chips we have placed on our own shoulders for crosses!
Uniquely, atoning Jesus also “descended below all things, in that he comprehended all things” (D&C 88:6; see also D&C 122:8). How deep that descent into despair and abysmal agony must have been! He did it to rescue us and in order to comprehend human suffering. Therefore, let us not resent those tutoring experiences which can develop our own empathy further (see Alma 7:11–12). A slothful heart will not do, and neither will a resentful heart. So being admitted fully to “the fellowship of his sufferings” requires the full dues of discipleship (Philip. 3:10; see also 1 Cor. 1:9).
Moreover, Jesus not only took upon Him our sins to atone for them, but also our sicknesses and aching griefs (see Alma 7:11–12; Matt. 8:17). Hence, He knows personally all that we pass through and how to extend His perfect mercy – as well as how to succor us. His agony was all the more astonishing in that He trod “the wine-press alone” (D&C 133:50). — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, General Conference, April 2001
During a perilous period of war, an exchange of letters occurred between Moroni, the captain of the Nephite armies, and Pahoran, the chief judge and governor of the land. Moroni, whose army was suffering because of inadequate support from the government, wrote to Pahoran “by the way of condemnation” (Alma 60:2) and harshly accused him of thoughtlessness, slothfulness, and neglect. Pahoran might easily have resented Moroni and his message, but he chose not to take offense. Pahoran responded compassionately and described a rebellion against the government about which Moroni was not aware. And then he responded, “Behold, I say unto you, Moroni, that I do not joy in your great afflictions, yea, it grieves my soul. . . . And now, in your epistle you have censured me, but it mattereth not; I am not angry, but do rejoice in the greatness of your heart” (Alma 61:2, 9).
One of the greatest indicators of our own spiritual maturity is revealed in how we respond to the weaknesses, the inexperience, and the potentially offensive actions of others. A thing, an event, or an expression may be offensive, but you and I can choose not to be offended – and to say with Pahoran, “it mattereth not.” — Elder David A. Bednar, “And Nothing Shall Offend Them,” Ensign, November 2006
I know that each one of you faces overwhelming challenges. Sometimes they are so concentrated, so unrelenting, that you may feel they are beyond your capacity to control.
Don’t face the world alone. “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” (Prov. 3:5)
In many ways, the world is like a jungle, with dangers that can harm or mutilate your body, enslave or destroy your mind, or decimate your morality.
It was intended that life be a challenge, not so that you would fail, but that you might succeed through overcoming. You face on every hand difficult but vitally important decisions. There is an array of temptations, destructive influences, and camouflaged dangers, the like of which no previous generation has faced. I am persuaded that today no one, no matter how gifted, strong, or intelligent, will avoid serious problems without seeking the help of the Lord. I repeat: Don’t face the world alone. Trust in the Lord. — Elder Richard G. Scott, “Trust in the Lord,” Ensign, May 1989
Certainly clumsy, embarrassing, unprincipled, and mean spirited things do occur in our interactions with other people that would allow us to take offense. However, it ultimately is impossible for another person to offend you or to offend me. Indeed, believing that another person offended us is fundamentally false. To be offended is a choice we make; it is not a condition inflicted or imposed upon us by someone or something else. — Elder David A. Bednar, “And Nothing Shall Offend Them,” Ensign, Nov. 2006, p. 90
My purpose today is to assure you that our Heavenly Father and the Savior live and that They love all humanity. The very opportunity for us to face adversity and affliction is part of the evidence of Their infinite love. God gave us the gift of living in mortality so that we could be prepared to receive the greatest of all the gifts of God, which is eternal life. Then our spirits will be changed. We will become able to want what God wants, to think as He thinks, and thus be prepared for the trust of an endless posterity to teach and to lead through tests to be raised up to qualify to live forever in eternal life.
It is clear that for us to have that gift and to be given that trust, we must be transformed through making righteous choices where that is hard to do. We are prepared for so great a trust by passing through trying and testing experiences in mortality. That education can come only as we are subject to trials while serving God and others for Him. — President Henry B. Eyring, “Adversity,” Ensign, May 2009
Every one of us, in one way or another, great or small, dramatic or incidental, is going to spend a little time in Liberty Jail – spiritually speaking. We will face things we do not want to face for reasons that may not have been our fault. Indeed, we may face difficult circumstances for reasons that were absolutely right and proper, reasons that came because we were trying to keep the commandments of the Lord. We may face persecution; we may endure heartache and separation from loved ones; we may be hungry and cold and forlorn. Yes, before our lives are over we may all be given a little taste of what the prophets faced often in their lives. But the lessons of the winter of 1838-39 teach us that every experience can become a redemptive experience if we remain bonded to our Father in Heaven through that difficulty. These difficult lessons teach us that man’s extremity is God’s opportunity, and if we will be humble and faithful, if we will be believing and not curse God for our problems, He can turn the unfair and inhumane and debilitating prisons of our lives into temples – or at least into a circumstance that can bring comfort and revelation, divine companionship and peace. — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “Lessons from Liberty Jail,” CES Fireside, September 7, 2008
Greatness is best measured by how well an individual responds to the happenings in life that appear to be totally unfair, unreasonable, and undeserved. — Elder Marvin J. Ashton, Ensign, November 1984, p. 22
This earth is not our home. We are away at school, trying to master the lessons of “the great plan of happiness” so we can return home and know what it means to be there. Over and over the Lord tells us why the plan is worth our sacrifice – and His. Eve called it “the joy of our redemption.” Jacob called it “that happiness which is prepared for the saints.” Of necessity, the plan is full of thorns and tears – His and ours. But because He and we are so totally in this together, our being “at one” with Him in overcoming all opposition will itself bring us “incomprehensible joy.” — Elder Bruce C. Hafen, “The Atonement: All For All,” Ensign, May 2004
But how can we fortify ourselves against the irony in our lives and cope better when it comes? By being more like Jesus, such as by loving more. “And the world, because of their iniquity, shall judge him to be a thing of naught; wherefore they scourge him, and he suffereth it; and they smite him, and he suffereth it. Yea, they spit upon him, and he suffereth it, [Why?] because of his loving kindness and his long-suffering towards the children of men.” (1 Ne. 19:9.)
There are other significant keys for coping. “And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” (Luke 9:23.) Wise self-denial shrinks our sense of entitlement.
Another cardinal key is to “live in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings which [God] doth bestow upon you.” (Alma 34:38.)
Life’s comparatively few ironies are much more than offset by heaven’s many mercies! We cannot count all our blessings every day, but we can carry over the reassuring bottom line from the last counting.
Another vital way of coping was exemplified by Jesus. Though He suffered all manner of temptations (see Alma 7:11), yet He “gave no heed unto them” (D&C 20:22). Unlike some of us, He did not fantasize, reconsider, or replay temptations. How is it that you and I do not see that while initially we are stronger and the temptations weaker, dalliance turns things upside down? — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “Irony: The Crust on the Bread of Adversity,” Ensign, May 1989, p. 62
When we take Jesus’ yoke upon us, this admits us eventually to what Paul called the “fellowship of [Christ’s] sufferings” (Philip. 3:10). Whether illness or aloneness, injustice or rejection, etc., our comparatively small-scale sufferings, if we are meek, will sink into the very marrow of the soul. We then better appreciate not only Jesus’ sufferings for us, but also His matchless character, moving us to greater adoration and even emulation.
Alma revealed that Jesus knows how to succor us in the midst of our griefs and sicknesses precisely because Jesus has already borne our griefs and sicknesses (see Alma 7:1112). He knows them firsthand; thus His empathy is earned. Of course, we do not comprehend it fully any more than we understand how He bore all mortal sins, but His Atonement remains the rescuing and reassuring reality.
No wonder, of all the things for which we might praise Jesus when He comes again in majesty and power, we will praise Him for His “loving kindness” and His “goodness”; moreover, we will go on praising Him for ever and ever! (See D&C 133:52; see also Mosiah 4:6, 11; Alma 7:23). We will never need to be coaxed. — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, General Conference, April 1997
My dear brothers and sisters, when pain, tests, and trials come in life, draw near to the Savior. “Wait upon the Lord, . . . look for him” (Isa. 8:17; 2 Ne. 18:17). “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (Isa. 40:31). Healing comes in the Lord’s time and the Lord’s way; be patient.
Our Savior waits for us to come to Him through our scripture study, pondering, and prayer to our Heavenly Father. Great blessings and lessons come from overcoming adversity. As we are strengthened and healed, we can then lift and strengthen others with our faith. May we be instruments in the Lord’s hands in blessing the lives of those in pain. I give you my testimony that God lives and that Jesus is the Christ and that He waits for us to come to Him to give us counsel and compassionate caring. — Elder Robert D. Hales, “Healing Soul and Body,” Ensign, November 1998, p. 14
There is a divine purpose in the adversities we encounter every day. They prepare, they purge, they purify, and thus they bless. — Elder James E. Faust, “The Refiner’s Fire,” Ensign, May 1979, p. 53
It is a blessing for some to be given minds and talents equal to fifteen loaves and ten fishes. They have so very much that they can contribute, but some become less than they might. They do not reach their potential of service, perhaps because they take so much pride in what they think they know and what they have. They seem unwilling or unable to yield “to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, . . . and [become] as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon [them], even as a child doth submit to his father” (Mosiah 3:19). — Elder James E. Faust, “Five Loaves and Two Fishes,” Ensign, May 1994, p. 4
Challenge comes as testing from a wise, knowing Father to give experience, that we may be seasoned, mature, and grow in understanding and application of His truths. When you are worthy, a challenge becomes a contribution to growth, not a barrier to it. Yet no matter what the source of difficulty and no matter how you begin to obtain relief – through a qualified professional therapist, doctor, priesthood leader, friend, concerned parent, or loved one – no matter how you begin, those solutions will never provide a complete answer.
The final healing comes through faith in Jesus Christ and His teachings, with a broken heart and a contrite spirit and obedience to His commandments. That is why human reaction to challenge in life that engenders hatred, despondency, distrust, anger, or revenge must be supplanted by the tender mercies of a loving Father in Heaven and His Beloved Son. — Elder Richard G. Scott, “To Be Healed,” Ensign, May 1994, p. 7
I do not minimize how hard some of these events can be. When the lesson you are to learn is very important, trials can extend over a long period of time, but they should not be allowed to become the confining focus of everything you do. Your life can and should be wondrously rewarding. It is your understanding and application of the laws of God that will give your life glorious purpose as you ascend and conquer the difficulties of life. That perspective keeps challenges confined to their proper place – stepping-stones to further growth and attainment. — Elder Richard G. Scott, “The Atonement Can Secure Your Peace and Happiness,” Ensign, November 2006
The Savior had just drunk from a very bitter cup. President James E. Faust described how we can follow His example: “Many members, in drinking of the bitter cup that has come to them, wrongfully think that this cup passes by others. In His first words to the people of the Western continent, Jesus of Nazareth poignantly spoke of the bitter cup the Father had given Him (see 3 Ne. 11:11). Every soul has some bitterness to swallow. Parents having a child who loses his way come to know a sorrow that defies description. A woman whose husband is cruel or insensitive can have her heart broken every day. Members who do not marry may suffer sorrow and disappointment. Having drunk the bitter cup, however, there comes a time when one must accept the situation as it is and reach upward and outward.” (Boyd K. Packer, “‘From Such Turn Away,’” 35)
We live in a day when the adversary stresses on every hand the philosophy of instant gratification. We seem to demand instant everything, including instant solutions to our problems. We are indoctrinated that somehow we should always be instantly emotionally comfortable. When that is not so, some become anxious and all too frequently seek relief from counseling, from analysis, and even from medication. It was meant to be that life would be a challenge. To suffer some anxiety, some depression, some disappointment, even some failure is normal. Teach our members that if they have a good, miserable day once in a while, or several in a row, to stand steady and face them. Things will straighten out. There is great purpose in our struggle in life. — Elder Boyd K. Packer, “Solving Emotional Problems in the Lord’s Own Way,” Ensign, May 1978, p. 91
On that cold February day when the frozen ground was broken to start the work on the Salt Lake Temple, Brigham Young spoke with characteristically poignant humor as he told the recent converts attending the ground dedication to not be discouraged because they had not had all the privileges that many of the older members had had, of being robbed, and driven and mobbed and plundered of everything they had on earth, for he would promise all who would remain faithful, that they . . . should be proved in all things. — Elder Jeffrey R. and Patricia T. Holland, “However Long and Hard the Road,” BYU Devotional, 18 January 1983
What a great strength it would be to all of us in times of desperation and wonderment to humbly approach His throne with, “Please hear my prayers. Answer them in Thy great wisdom for my best good. But please give me the constant reassurance that Thou art there and that peace, contentment, and the courage to continue are mine because I have faith and can come to Thee who hast promised not to forsake us. — Elder Marvin J. Ashton, Ensign, February 1994, p. 50
In the pain, the agony, and the heroic endeavors of life, we pass through the refiner’s fire, and the insignificant and the unimportant in our lives can melt away like dross and make our faith bright, intact, and strong. This change comes about through a refining process which often seems cruel and hard. In this way the soul can become like soft clay in the hands of the Master. — Elder James E. Faust, Ensign, May 1979, p. 53
Many of our challenges are different from those faced by former pioneers but perhaps just as dangerous and surely as significant to our own salvation and the salvation of those who follow us. For example, as for life-threatening obstacles, the wolves that prowled around pioneer settlements were no more dangerous to their children than the drug dealers or pornographers who threaten our children. Similarly, the early pioneers’ physical hunger posed no greater threat to their well-being than the spiritual hunger experienced by many in our day.
The children of earlier pioneers were required to do incredibly hard physical work to survive their environment. That was no greater challenge than many of our young people now face from the absence of hard work, which results in spiritually corrosive challenges to discipline, responsibility, and self-worth. Jesus taught: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matt. 10:28).
The foremost quality of our pioneers was faith. With faith in God, they did what every pioneer does – they stepped forward into the unknown: a new religion, a new land, a new way of doing things. With faith in their leaders and in one another, they stood fast against formidable opposition. When their leader said, “This is the right place,” they trusted, and they stayed. When other leaders said, “Do it this way,” they followed in faith. . . .
We praise what the pioneers’ unselfishness and sacrifice have done for us, but that is not enough. We should also assure that these same qualities are guiding principles for each of us as we have opportunities to sacrifice for our nations, our families, our quorums, our members, and our Church. This is especially important in societies that have exalted personal interest and individual rights to the point where these values seem to erase the principles of individual responsibility and sacrifice. — Elder Dallin H. Oaks, “Following the Pioneers,” Ensign, November 1997, p. 72
This Man of Galilee knew little but misunderstanding and ingratitude and criticism and abuse; but he never complained, and at the end of the day he was as sweet as at dawn. Long before he came somebody had said that when the supreme man arrived he would submit to tribulation without complaining. As men looked upon this Man of Galilee they were reminded of the great line of the prophet, “As a lamb before the shearer is dumb, so he opened not his mouth.”
Brethren and sisters, what is the attitude, the spirit of the vilifier, as compared with the spirit of the Christ, the spirit of the leaders of the Church, the spirit of every true Latter-day Saint? It is better to suffer wrong than to do wrong, and if we as Latter-day Saints will but hold to the truth as it has been revealed all will eventually be well. — President David O. McKay, Conference Reports, October 1931, p. 13
I know brothers and sisters, that we will have our souls tested before we reach these glories of the future, but if we have them in view and live righteously, we shall thereby be sustained for the trials we must endure. Paul said it was the glory set before Jesus for which he endured the cross, and President Young said it was the vision of Zion as it shall be which sustained the Saints as they pulled their covered wagons from ruts and mud holes and trudged across the plains. Therefore, with hope in the future, let us lift up our hearts and rejoice, and with strength and courage let us gird up our loins and take upon us the whole armor of righteousness, that we may be able to withstand these evil days, that having done all, we may be able to stand. — President Marion G. Romney, General Conference, April 1950
Each of us who have made covenants with God face challenges unique to us. But each of us share some common assurances. Our Heavenly Father knows us and our circumstances and even what faces us in the future. His beloved son Jesus Christ, our Savior, has suffered and paid for our sins and those of all the people we will ever meet. He has perfect understanding of the feelings, the suffering, the trials, and the needs of every individual. Because of that, a way will be prepared for us to keep our covenants, however difficult that may now appear, if we go forward in faith. — President Henry B. Eyring, Conference Report, October 1996
Should our lives be extended to a thousand years, still we may live and learn. Every vicissitude we pass through is necessary for experience and example, and for preparation to enjoy that reward which is for the faithful. –– Brigham Young, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young , 262
There is an important concept here: patience is not passive resignation, nor is it failing to act because of our fears. Patience means active waiting and enduring. It means staying with something and doing all that we can – working, hoping, and exercising faith; bearing hardships with fortitude, even when the desires of our hearts are delayed. Patience is not simply enduring; it is enduring well! — President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Conference Report, April 2010
From my own experience with life’s hardships I have learned that faith in God develops a personal love for Him which is reciprocated through his blessings to us in times of need. To all who are meeting new or challenging times, I say: Do not fear the challenges of life, but approach them patiently, with faith in God. He will reward your faith with power not only to endure, but also to overcome hardships, disappointments, trials, and struggles of daily living. Through diligently striving to live the law of God and with faith in Him, we will not be diverted from our eternal course either by the ways or the praise of the world. — Elder Rex D. Pinegar, “Faith – The Force of Life,” Ensign, November 1982
Our personal journey through life provides us with many special experiences that become building blocks of faith and testimony. These experiences come to us in vastly different ways and at unpredictable times. They can be powerful spiritual events or small enlightening moments. Some experiences will come as serious challenges and heavy trials that test our ability to cope with them. No matter what the experience may be, each gives us a chance for personal growth, greater wisdom, and, in many cases, service to others with more empathy and love. As the Lord stated to the Prophet Joseph Smith in a reassuring way during one of his most significant trials at Liberty Jail, “All these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good” (D&C 122:7). — Elder Ronald L. Rasband, “Special Experiences,” General Conference, April 2008
It is through faith that the Lord performs his wonders among his people; and in enduring that trial of their faith he gives a blessing; and often the Lord shapes trials in a manner different from our expectations. We, in our limited capacity may mark out in our minds a programme; and when he moves upon the checker-board, he does not move the men we have in our minds, but he shapes and moves in another way; and we should be satisfied with the result. He will get the game, and in the end will move into the king row and be able to move both ways. — Elder Erastus Snow, Journal of Discourses, 26 vols., 5:301
Problems are to the mind what exercise is to the muscles, they toughen and make strong. — Norman Vincent Peale
Burdens provide opportunities to practice virtues that contribute to eventual perfection. They invite us to yield “to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and [put] off the natural man and [become] a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and [become] as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon [us], even as a child doth submit to his father.” Thus burdens become blessings, though often such blessings are well disguised and may require time, effort, and faith to accept and understand. — Elder L. Whitney Clayton, “That Your Burdens May Be Light,” Ensign, November 2009
A teacher of mine used to say, “Expecting life to treat you well because you are a good person is like expecting an angry bull not to charge because you are a vegetarian.” — Rabbi Harold Kushner
At times we may despair that our burdens are too great. When it seems that a tempest is raging in our lives, we may feel abandoned and cry out like the disciples in the storm, “Master, carest thou not that we perish?” (Mark 4:38). At such times we should remember His reply: “Why are ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith?” (v. 40).
The healing power of the Lord Jesus Christ – whether it removes our burdens or strengthens us to endure and live with them like the Apostle Paul – is available for every affliction in mortality. — Elder Dallin H. Oaks, “He Heals the Heavy Laden,” Ensign, November 2006, p. 8
Learning to endure times of disappointment, suffering, and sorrow is part of our on-the-job training. These experiences, while often difficult to bear at the time, are precisely the kinds of experiences that stretch our understanding, build our character, and increase our compassion for others. — Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin,”Come What May, and Love It,” Ensign, Nov. 2008, p. 27
Our strength and our peace and our happiness are in the Lord. In this world of trial and affliction, we have need of the comforting and qualifying assurances that come with faith in God and repentance and service to his cause. If we will acknowledge him, be thankful, serve him, love his children, and accept the responsibilities of being truly Christian, we will be happy, notwithstanding problems or troubles. — Elder Marion D. Hanks, “Joy Through Christ,” General Conference, April 1972
The challenges you face, the growth experiences you encounter, are intended to be temporary scenes played out on the stage of a life of continuing peace and happiness. Sadness, heartache, and disappointment are events in life. It is not intended that they be the substance of life. I do not minimize how hard some of these events can be. When the lesson you are to learn is very important, trials can extend over a long period of time, but they should not be allowed to become the confining focus of everything you do. Your life can and should be wondrously rewarding. It is your understanding and application of the laws of God that will give your life glorious purpose as you ascend and conquer the difficulties of life. That perspective keeps challenges confined to their proper place – stepping-stones to further growth and attainment. — Elder Richard G. Scott, “The Atonement Can Secure Your Peace and Happiness,” Ensign, November 2006, p. 41
I have learned now that while those who speak about one’s miseries usually hurt, those who keep silence hurt more. — C. S. Lewis
There are many things that seem to us trials and difficulties, that perplex, annoy, and harass our spirits; yet these very things, as one justly observed, are blessings in disguise, so many helps to us to develop our weaknesses and infirmities, and lead us to put our trust in God, and rely upon Him to give us a knowledge of ourselves, of our neighbors, and of the work of God; they have a tendency to develop principles of worth to our minds, and thus they serve as schoolmasters, helps, and instructors, and are to us as many blessings in disguise. In fact all things that we have to do with in the world, whether they are adversity or prosperity, whether they relate to ourselves or to others, if rightly appreciated and understood, may teach us a lesson that will be to our joy, probably not only in time, but in all eternity. — President John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, vol. 1, p. 366
On a few occasions, I told the Lord that I had surely learned the lessons to be taught and that it wouldn’t be necessary for me to endure any more suffering. Such entreaties seemed to be of no avail, for it was made clear to me that this purifying process of testing was to be endured in the Lord’s time and in the Lord’s own way. It is one thing to teach, “Thy will be done” (Matt. 26:42). It is another to live it. I also learned that I would not be left alone to meet these trials and tribulations but that guardian angels would attend me. There were some that were near angels in the form of doctors, nurses, and most of all my sweet companion, Mary. And on occasion, when the Lord so desired, I was to be comforted with visitations of heavenly hosts that brought comfort and eternal reassurances in my time of need. — Elder Robert D. Hales, “The Covenant of Baptism: To Be in the Kingdom and of the Kingdom,” Ensign, November 2000, p. 6
What better example do we have of temperance than our Savior, Jesus Christ? When our hearts are stirred to anger by disputation and contention, the Savior taught that we should “repent, and become as a little child.” We should be reconciled with our brother and come to the Savior with full purpose of heart. When others are unkind, Jesus taught that “my kindness shall not depart from thee.” When we are confronted with affliction, He said: “Be patient in afflictions, revile not against those that revile. Govern your house in meekness, and be steadfast.” When we are oppressed, we can be comforted in knowing “he was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth.” “Surely he has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows.” — Elder Kent D. Watson, “Being Temperate in All Things,” Ensign, November 2009, pp. 38-39
I saw an interesting cartoon not too long ago that bears on this point of marshmallow men. It showed two multicolored desert lizards conversing. One said to the other, “Of course you’re going through an identity crisis. You’re a chameleon.”
Of course the world is going through an identity crisis. Of course it’s adrift: it’s got no anchor. It does not have core principles upon which to decide all other things. I am grateful that our beliefs are related to the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I am grateful that God has told us that we must be ready for the trials that life will bring our way. — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “But For a Small Moment,” BYU Fireside, September 1, 1974
Certain forms of suffering, endured well, can actually be ennobling. Annie Swetchine said, “Those who have suffered much are like those who know many languages; they have learned to understand and be understood by all” (quoted in Neal A. Maxwell, We Will Prove Them Herewith , 123). — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “Enduring Well,” Ensign, April 1997
Edith Hamilton observed: “When love meets no return the result is suffering, and the greater the love the greater the suffering. There can be no greater suffering than to love purely and perfectly one who is bent upon evil and self-destruction. That was what God endured at the hands of men” (Spokesman for God, , 112). — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “Enduring Well,” Ensign, April 1997
If we constantly focus only on the stones in our mortal path, we will almost surely miss the beautiful flower or cool stream provided by the loving Father who outlined our journey. Each day can bring more joy than sorrow when our mortal and spiritual eyes are open to God’s goodness. Joy in the gospel is not something that begins only in the next life. It is our privilege now, this very day. We must never allow our burdens to obscure our blessings. There will always be more blessings than burdens – even if some days it doesn’t seem so. Jesus said, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” Enjoy those blessings right now. They are yours and always will be. — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “What I Wish Every New Member Knew – and Every Longtime Member Remembered,” Ensign, October 2006, pp. 10-16
In our moments of pain and trial, I guess we would shudder to think it could be worse, but without the atonement it not only could be worse, it would be worse. — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “Lessons from Liberty Jail,” CES Fireside, September 7, 2008
To you who think you are lost or without hope, or who think you have done too much that was too wrong for too long, to every one of you who worry that you are stranded somewhere on the wintry plains of life and have wrecked your handcart in the process, we call out “Jehovah’s unrelenting refrain, “My hand is stretched out still” (Isaiah 5:25: 9:17,21). “. . . His mercy endureth forever, and His hand is stretched out still. His is the pure love of Christ, the charity that never faileth, that compassion which endures even when all other strength disappears.” — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “Prophets in the Land Again,” Ensign, November 2006
In a world of unrest and fear, political turmoil and moral drift, I testify that Jesus is the Christ – that He is the living Bread and living Water – still, yet, and always the great Shield of safety in our lives. — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “Prophets, Seers, and Revelators,” Ensign, November 2004
When we give thanks in all things, we see hardships and adversities in the context of the purpose of life. . . . We are meant to learn and grow through opposition, through meeting our challenges, and through teaching others to do the same . . . the Lord will not only consecrate our afflictions for our gain, but He will use them to bless the lives of countless others. — Elder Dallin H. Oaks, “Give Thanks in All Things,” Ensign, May 2003, p. 95
It is not, never has been, and never will be the design and purpose of the Lord – however much we seek him in prayer – to answer all our problems and concerns without struggle and effort on our part. This mortality is a probationary estate. In it we have our agency. We are being tested to see how we will respond in various situations; how we will decide issues; what course we will pursue while we are here walking, not by sight, but by faith. Hence, we are to solve our own problems and then to counsel with the Lord in prayer and receive a spiritual confirmation that our decisions are correct. — Elder Bruce R. McConkie, “Why the Lord Ordained Prayer,” Ensign, January 1976, p. 11; TLDP: 488
I rejoice in afflictions, for they are necessary to humble and prove us, that we may comprehend ourselves, become acquainted with our weakness and infirmities; and I rejoice when I triumph over them, because God answers my prayers, therefore I feel to rejoice all the day long. — Elder John Taylor, in Tabernacle, report on mission to Europe, August 22, 1852; Journal of Discourses 1:17; TLDP:5
Heavenly help may not be obvious. We may not immediately see or know that some other burdens that would have come our way have been lifted, diverted from our door.
The Lord assures: “Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you that mine eyes are upon you. I am in your midst and ye cannot see me” (D&C 38:7). — Elder David S. Baxter, “Leaving Adversity Behind,” Ensign, December 2012
These fiery trials are designed to make you stronger, but they have the potential to diminish or even destroy your trust in the Son of God and to weaken your resolve to keep your promises to Him. These trials are often camouflaged, making them difficult to identify. They take root in our weaknesses, our vulnerabilities, our sensitivities, or in those things that matter most to us. A real but manageable test for one can be a fiery trial for another.
How do you remain “steadfast and immovable” (Alma 1:25) during a trial of faith? You immerse yourself in the very things that helped build your core of faith: you exercise faith in Christ, you pray, you ponder the scriptures, you repent, you keep the commandments, and you serve others.
When faced with a trial of faith – whatever you do, you don’t step away from the Church! Distancing yourself from the kingdom of God during a trial of faith is like leaving the safety of a secure storm cellar just as the tornado comes into view.
The Apostle Paul said, “Ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God.” (Ephesians 2:19) It is within the sanctuary of the Church that we protect our faith. Meeting together with others who believe, we pray and find answers to our prayers; we worship through music, share testimony of the Savior, serve one another, and feel the Spirit of the Lord. We partake of the sacrament, receive the blessings of the priesthood, and attend the temple. The Lord declared, “In the ordinances . . . , the power of godliness is manifest.” (D&C 84:20) When you are faced with a test of faith, stay within the safety and security of the household of God. There is always a place for you here. No trial is so large we can’t overcome it together. (See Mosiah 18:8–10.) — Elder Neil L. Andersen, “Trial of Your Faith,” Ensign, November 2012
President George Q. Cannon said: “No matter how serious the trial, how deep the distress, how great the affliction, [God] will never desert us. He never has, and He never will. He cannot do it. It is not His character. He is an unchangeable being; the same yesterday, the same today, and He will be the same throughout the eternal ages to come. We have found that God. We have made Him our friend, by obeying His Gospel; and He will stand by us. We may pass through the fiery furnace; we may pass through deep waters; but we shall not be consumed nor overwhelmed. We shall emerge from all these trials and difficulties the better and purer for them, if we only trust in our God and keep His commandments” (“Remarks,” Deseret Evening News, Mar. 7, 1891, 4) — Elder Neil L. Andersen, “Trial of Your Faith,” Ensign, November 2012, footnote 28
Life is wonderful, even in the hard times, and there is happiness, joy, and peace at stops all along the way, and endless portions of them at the end of the road. . . .
Please remember this one thing. If our lives and our faith are centered upon Jesus Christ and his restored gospel, nothing can ever go permanently wrong. On the other hand, if our lives are not centered on the Savior and his teachings, no other success can ever be permanently right.
I commend to you the revelations of God as the standard by which we must live our lives and by which we must measure every decision and every deed. Accordingly, when you have worries and challenges, face them by turning to the scriptures and the prophets. — President Howard W. Hunter, “Fear Not, Little Flock,” BYU Devotional, March 14, 1989
If we have to pass through affliction, all right. By and bye, when we come to gaze on the fitness of things that are now obscure to us, we shall find that God, although he has moved in a mysterious way to accomplish his purposes on the earth and his purposes relative to us as individuals and as families, all things are governed by that wisdom which flows from God and all things are right and calculated to promote every person’s eternal welfare before God. — Teachings of Presidents of the Church: John Taylor, p. 207
This being the beginning of a new year, my heart is filled with gratitude go God that he has preserved my life, and the lives of my family, while another year has passed away. We have been sustained and upheld in the midst of a wicked and perverse generation, although exposed to all the afflictions, temptations, and misery that are incident to human life; for this I feel to humble myself in dust and ashes, as it were, before the Lord. — History of the Church, 2:352
Some challenges in life will not be resolved here on earth. Paul pled thrice that “a thorn in the flesh” be removed. The Lord simply answered, “My grace is sufficient for thee” (2 Corinthians 12:7, 9). . . . He gave Paul strength to compensate so he could live a most meaningful life. He wants you to learn how to be cured when that is His will and how to obtain strength to live with your challenge when He intends it to be an instrument for growth. In either case the Redeemer will support you. — Elder Richard G. Scott, “To Be Healed,” Ensign, May 1994, p. 7
“Why did this happen to me?” Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Presidency of the Seventy answered this question in his April 2012 general conference talk, “Special Lessons”:
“This life is training for eternal exaltation, and that process means tests and trials. It has always been so, and no one is spared.
“Trusting in God’s will is central to our mortality. With faith in Him, we draw upon the power of Christ’s Atonement at those times when questions abound and answers are few. . . .
“Though we will face trials, adversities, disabilities, heartaches, and all manner of afflictions, our caring, loving Savior will always be there for us. He has promised:
“‘I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. . . .
“‘My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid’ (John 14:18, 27).” — Michele Reyes, “Whole Enough,” Ensign, January 2013, p. 15
If it were not for the assurance that I have that the Lord is near to us, guiding, directing, the burden would be almost beyond my strength, but because I know that He is there, and that He can be appealed to, and if we have ears to hear attuned to Him, we will never be left alone. — “President Harold B. Lee’s Closing Remarks,” Ensign, January 1974, p. 129
I testify that as the forces of evil increase under Lucifer’s leadership and as the forces of good increase under the leadership of Jesus Christ, there will be growing battles between the two until the final confrontation. As the issues become clearer and more obvious, all mankind will eventually be required to align themselves either for the kingdom of God or for the kingdom of the devil. As these conflicts rage, either secretly or openly, the righteous will be tested. God’s wrath will soon shake the nations of the earth and will be poured out on the wicked without measure. . . . But God will provide strength for the righteous and the means of escape; and eventually and finally truth will triumph. — President Ezra T. Benson, “I Testify,” Ensign, November 1988, p. 87
Convincing evidence of the truth of this saying of the Master– that people suffering tribulation in this world could at the same time find peace in him [John 16:33] – has come out of the most severe experiences.
I suppose that the last few days of the Prophet’s life were crowded with about as much tribulation as any human being could endure. He was hounded by traitors, impeached by misguided and false-accusing associates, called to account, promised protection, and then abandoned by his government. That all the while he knew he was approaching martyrdom is clear from the record. On the evening of Saturday, June 22, he wrote in his journal: “I told Stephen Markham that if I and Hyrum were ever taken again we should be massacred, or I was not a prophet of God.”
On Sunday, the 23rd, he said to his brother Hyrum, “If you go back, I will go with you, but we shall be butchered.”
Monday, the 24th, on leaving Nauvoo, he paused when they got to the temple, and looked with admiration first on that, and then on the city, and remarked, “This is the loveliest place and the best people under the heavens; little do they know the trials that await them.”
In this setting knowing that his own life would be taken from him by force and violence and viewing the trials and suffering which would be visited upon his beloved followers, he said to the company who were with him, “I am going like a lamb to the slaughter, but I am calm as a summer’s morning.”
This is a classic example of a person having at the same time tribulation in this world and peace in Christ. Many others, both in ancient and in modern times, have had similar experiences. — President Marion G. Romney,”Fruits of the Gospel,” General Conference, 1 October 1949
As we pursue our journeys, let us ever bear in mind that in train travel and in life, there are stations, there are departures, calls, schedules, and opportunities for being side-tracked and diverted. Wise is the individual who follows in His, the Savior’s, paths. Safety and joy belong to those who will come and follow him. I bear witness to you today that God is eternal. We are eternal, and God never intended for us to travel alone. — Elder Marvin J. Ashton, “What Is Your Destination?” Ensign, July 1972, p. 62
I am here tonight to tell you that Despair, Doom, and Discouragement are not an acceptable view of life for a Latter-day Saint. However high on the charts they are on the hit parade of contemporary news, we must not walk on our lower lip every time a few difficult moments happen to confront us. . . . I want you to know that there have always been some difficulties in mortal life and there always will be. But knowing what we know, and living as we are supposed to live, there really is no place, no excuse, for pessimism and despair. — President Howard W. Hunter, “An Anchor to the Souls of Men,” BYU Devotional, 7 February 1993
Don’t say, “No one understands me; I can’t sort it out, or get the help I need.” Those comments are self-defeating. No one can help you without faith and effort on your part. Your personal growth requires that. Don’t look for a life virtually free from discomfort, pain, pressure, challenge, or grief, for those are the tools a loving Father uses to stimulate our personal growth and understanding. As the scriptures repeatedly affirm, you will be helped as you exercise faith in Jesus Christ (see Enos 1:15-18). That faith is demonstrated by a willingness to trust His promises given through His prophets and in His scriptures, which contain His own words. You may not fully understand how to do this yet, but trust that He will help you use your agency to open the doors for His healing to occur. Faith in Christ means we trust Him; we trust His teachings. That leads to hope, and hope brings charity, the pure love of Christ – that peaceful feeling that comes when we sense His concern, His love, and His capacity to cure us or to ease our burdens with His healing power. — Elder Richard G. Scott, “To Be Healed,” New Era, April 2002, p. 7
None of us will escape tragedy and suffering. Each of us will probably react differently. However, if we can recall the Lord’s promise, “for I the Lord am with you,” we will be able to face our problems with dignity and courage. We will find the strength to be of good cheer instead of becoming resentful, critical, or defeated. We will be able to meet life’s unpleasant happenings with clear vision, strength, and power. . . .
What a joy it is to see someone of good cheer, who, when others because of an unpleasant happening or development live in angry silence or vocal disgust, meets the situation with cheerful endurance and good spirit. — Elder Marvin J. Ashton, Ensign, May 1986, p. 66
You can have sacred, revelatory, profoundly instructive experience with the Lord in any situation you are in. Indeed, let me say that even a little stronger: You can have sacred, revelatory, profoundly instructive experience with the Lord in the most miserable experiences of your life – in the worst settings, while enduring the most painful injustices, when facing the most insurmountable odds and opposition you have ever faced. — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “Lessons from Liberty Jail,” CES Fireside, BYU, September 7, 2008
Where is there cause to mourn? Where is there cause for the Saints to wear long faces? Where is there cause for weeping or repining? There is none; but it is life or death that is set before us; principalities and powers are ours if we continue faithful; sorrow and banishment if we disregard the gospel.
What can we wish for more than is comprehended in our religion? If we will stand firm upon the rock and will follow the Spirit that has been placed in our bosoms, we shall act right in the way of our duties, we shall act right to those who are placed over us, we shall act right whether in the light or in the dark.
Where is the man that will turn aside and throw away those prospects that are embraced in the gospel which we have received? In it there is satisfaction, there is a joy, there is stability, there is something upon which to rest our feet, there is a sure foundation to build upon and upon which to yield that which is required of us. (Deseret News, Oct. 21, 1857, 259)
Let us never allow our prospects to become dimmed; let them be fresh before us by day and by night, and I will assure you that if we will do this our growth from day to day and from year to year will be marvelous. (In Conference Report, Apr. 1899, 2)
We are all aiming for celestial glory, and the grandeur of the prospects before us cannot be expressed in human language. If you will continue faithful to the work in which you are engaged, you will attain unto this glory, and rejoice evermore in the presence of God and the Lamb. This is worth striving for; it is worth sacrificing for, and blessed is the man or the woman who is faithful unto the obtaining of it. (In “Pres. Snow to Relief Societies,” Deseret Evening News, July 9, 1901, 1) — Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Lorenzo Snow, Chapter 5, p. 90
Let us not presume that because the way is at times difficult and challenging, our Heavenly Father is not mindful of us. He is rubbing off our rough edges and sensitizing us for our great responsibilities ahead. May His blessings be upon us spiritually, that we may have a sweet companionship with the Holy Ghost, and that our footsteps might be guided along paths of truth and righteousness. And may each of us follow the Lord’s comforting counsel: “Be patient in afflictions, for thou shalt have many; but endure them, for, lo, I am with thee, even unto the end of thy days.” (D&C 24:8) — President James E. Faust, “The Blessings of Adversity,” Ensign, Feb. 1998, p. 7
Through tears and trials, through fears and sorrows, through the heartache and loneliness of losing loved ones, there is assurance that life is everlasting. Our Lord and Savior is the living witness that such is so. His words in holy writ are sufficient: “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). I testify to this truth. — President Thomas S. Monson, “Peace, Be Still,” Ensign, March 2003, p.
The Savior can wipe away our tears of regret and remove the burden of our sins. His Atonement allows us to leave the past behind and move forward with clean hands, a pure heart, and a determination to do better and especially to become better. — President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, 2nd Counselor in the First Presidency, “Of Regrets and Resolutions,” Ensign, Nov. 2012, 24
The original definition of the word resilience had to do with a material’s ability to resume its shape or position after being bent, stretched, or compressed. Today we commonly use the word to describe our ability to bounce back from adversity.
We know two things about adversity and resilience: First, there is “an opposition in all things” (2 Nephi 2:11). Second, obtaining anything of great worth often requires great sacrifice.
As children become resilient, they understand and accept these two facts. They see life as challenging and ever changing, but they believe they can cope with those challenges and changes. They view mistakes and weaknesses as opportunities to learn, and they accept that losing may precede winning.
As children develop resilience, they believe they can influence and even control outcomes in their lives through effort, imagination, knowledge, and skill. With this attitude, they focus on what they can do rather than on what is outside their control. — Lyle J. Burrup, LDS Family Services, “Raising Resilient Children,” Ensign, March 2013, p. 13
With the Psalmist we will be able to say, “In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me” (Psalm 56:11). Has not the Lord promised, “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33)? . . .
The Prophet Joseph Smith understood this when he said, “Let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed” (D&C 123:17). The promise to those who submit to God is that His arm, His power, will be revealed in their lives. — Elder D. Todd Christofferson, “You Are Free,” Ensign, March 2013, p. 41
There are clearly special cases of individuals in mortality who have special limitations in life, which conditions we mortals cannot now fully fathom. For all we now know, the seeming limitations may have been an agreed-upon spur to achievement – a “thorn in the flesh.” Like him who was blind from birth, some come to bring glory to God (John 9:1–3). We must be exceedingly careful about imputing either wrong causes or wrong rewards to all in such circumstances. They are in the Lord’s hands, and he loves them perfectly. Indeed, some of those who have required much waiting upon in this life may be waited upon again by the rest of us in the next world – but for the highest of reasons. — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “Meeting the Challenges of Today,” BYU Devotional, October 10, 1978
Trouble itself can be your way to strengthen and finally gain unshakable faith. — President Henry B. Eyring, General Conference, April 2012
We should not need a hurricane or other crisis to remind us of what matters most. . . . What matters most is what lasts longest. — Elder M. Russell Ballard, General Conference, October 2005
Like the intense fire that transforms iron into steel, as we remain faithful during the fiery trial of our faith, we are spiritually refined and strengthened. — Elder Neil L. Andersen, General Conference, October 2012
None of us will escape tragedy and suffering. Each of us will probably react differently. However, if we can recall the Lord’s promise, “for I the Lord am with you,” we will be able to face our problems with dignity and courage. We will find the strength to be of good cheer instead of becoming resentful, critical, or defeated. We will be able to meet life’s unpleasant happenings with clear vision, strength, and power. . . .
What a joy it is to see someone of good cheer, who, when others because of an unpleasant happening or development live in angry silence or vocal disgust, meets the situation with cheerful endurance and good spirits. — Elder Marvin J. Ashton, Conference Report, April 1986, 84–85; or Ensign, May 1986, 66
With the decline of religion in our society, many people have come to feel that they are sufficient unto themselves and have no need of a higher power. Wrong. A loss of religious faith implies a loss of faith in anyone greater than oneself. . . .
“It can at times be easy to fall into the erroneous thinking that we ourselves are capable of handling anything that comes our way, that we have all the answers, and that there is no need for assistance from a higher power. When we realize, as one person put it, that ‘we are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience,’ we come to understand where our main emphasis should be and on whom we are reliant” — President Thomas S. Monson, “Be a Light to the World,” BYU Devotional, November 1, 2011
It is impossible for us to work out our salvation and accomplish the purposes of God without trials or without sacrifices. (Millennial Star, Apr. 18, 1887, 245) — “Faithfulness in Times of Trial,” Teachings of Presidents of the Church – Lorenzo Snow, Chapter 7
Trials and tribulations have been the experience of the Latter-day Saints. God so designed that it should be. I daresay that in the [premortal] spirit world, when it was proposed to us to come into this probation, and pass through the experience that we are now receiving, it was not altogether pleasant and agreeable; the prospects were not so delightful in all respects as might have been desired. Yet there is no doubt that we saw and understood clearly there that, in order to accomplish our exaltation and glory, this was a necessary experience; and however disagreeable it might have appeared to us, we were willing to conform to the will of God, and consequently we are here. (Deseret Weekly, Nov. 4, 1893, 609) — “Faithfulness in Times of Trial,” Teachings of Presidents of the Church – Lorenzo Snow, Chapter 7
God is at the helm. Never doubt it. When we are confronted with opposition, He will open the way when there appears to be no way. Our individual efforts may be humble and appear somewhat insignificant. But the accumulated good works of all, laboring together with a common purpose, will bring to pass great and wondrous accomplishments. The world will be a better place for our united service. Our people will be a happy people, a blessed people, a people whose shepherd is our Lord, leading us through pastures green and peaceful, if we will walk after His pattern and in His light. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, “God is at the Helm,” General Conference, April 1994
Events and circumstances in the last days make it imperative for us as members of the Church to become more grounded, rooted, established, and settled (see Col. 1:23; Col. 2:7; 2 Pet. 1:12). Jesus said to His disciples, “settle this in your hearts, that ye will do the things which I shall teach, and command you” (JST Luke 14:28). If not so settled, the turbulence will be severe. If settled, we will not be “tossed to and fro,” whether by rumors, false doctrines, or by the behavioral and intellectual fashions of the world. Nor will we get caught up in the “talk show” mentality, spending our time like ancient Athenians “in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing” (Acts 17:21). Why be concerned with the passing preferences of the world anyway? “For the fashion of this world passeth away” (1 Cor. 7:31). . . .
Some Church members, alas, are neither reconciled to the will of God nor are they sufficiently settled as to their covenants. . . .
Some give of their time yet withhold themselves, being present without giving of their presence and going through the superficial motions of membership instead of the deep emotions of consecrated discipleship.
Some try to get by with knowing only the headlines of the gospel, not really talking much of Christ or rejoicing in Christ and esteeming lightly His books of scripture which contain and explain His covenants (see 2 Ne. 25:26).
Some are so proud they never learn of obedience and spiritual submissiveness. They will have very arthritic knees on the day when every knee shall bend. There will be no gallery then to play to; all will be participants!
Maintaining Church membership on our own terms, therefore, is not true discipleship.
Real disciples absorb the fiery darts of the adversary by holding aloft the quenching shield of faith with one hand, while holding to the iron rod with the other (see Eph. 6:16; 1 Ne. 15:24; D&C 27:17). There should be no mistaking; it will take both hands! — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “Overcome … Even As I Also Overcame,” Ensign, May 1987, p. 70
Many Latter-day Saints know the Church is true but have unhealthy feelings about their own inadequacies, real or imagined. The scriptures inform us that we all have weaknesses and that there is a place for them in our spiritual progress: “If men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them” (Ether 12:27).
Too often we wallow in our weaknesses so much that we do not allow “weak things” to “become strong.” Our condition is frequently misdiagnosed as humility, when in reality it is a lack of confidence.
What is the difference between the two?
To be humble is to recognize our utter dependence upon the Lord. We are conscious of our strengths, but we do not exalt ourselves and become prideful, for we know that all good things ultimately come from God. We are conscious of our weaknesses, but we know the Lord can use those very weaknesses to bless our lives and that through Him, as we learn from the book of Ether, our weaknesses can become strengths.
To lack confidence is to have feelings of low self-worth. We are preoccupied with our weaknesses, and we lack faith in the Lord’s ability to use those weaknesses for our good. We do not understand our inestimable worth in the eyes of God, nor do we appreciate our divine potential. Ironically, both pride and a lack of self-confidence cause us to focus excessively on ourselves and to deny the power of God in our lives. — Glenn L. Pace, “Confidence and Self-Worth,” Ensign, January 2005, pp. 32-35
I delight in the Lord’s mercies and miracles. I know that His tender mercies and His miracles, large and small, are real. They come in His way and on His timetable. Sometimes it is not until we have reached our extremity. Jesus’s disciples on the Sea of Galilee had to toil in rowing against a contrary wind all through the night before Jesus finally came to their aid. He did not come until the “fourth watch,” meaning near dawn. Yet He did come. (See Mark 6:45–51.) My testimony is that miracles do come, though sometimes not until the fourth watch. — Susan W. Tanner, Young Women General President, Conference Report, April 2008[The Lord] commands. And to those who obey Him, whether they be wise or simple, He will reveal Himself in the toils, the conflicts, the sufferings which they shall pass through in His fellowship, and . . . they shall learn in their own experience Who He is. — President Thomas S. Monson, Ensign, January 2003, p. 7
Often the deep valleys of our present will be understood only by looking back on them from the mountains of our future experience. Often we can’t see the Lord’s hand in our lives until long after trials have passed. Often the most difficult times of our lives are essential building blocks that form the foundation of our character and pave the way to future opportunity, understanding, and happiness. — President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Conference Report, October 2010
We believe that these severe, natural calamities are visited upon men by the Lord for the good of his children, to quicken their devotion to others, and to bring out their better natures, that they may love and serve him. We believe, further, that they are the heralds and tokens of his final judgment, and the schoolmasters to teach the people to prepare themselves by righteous living for the coming of the Savior to reign upon the earth, when every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ. — Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith, p. 393
Earth life includes tests, trials, and tribulations, and some of the trials we face in life can be excruciating. Whether it be illness, betrayal, temptations, loss of a loved one, natural disasters, or some other ordeal, affliction is part of our mortal experience. Many have wondered why we must face difficult challenges. We know that one reason is to provide a trial of our faith to see if we will do all the Lord has commanded. Fortunately this earth life is the perfect setting to face – and pass – these tests. — Elder Paul V. Johnson, “More Than Conquerors through Him That Loved Us,” April 2011 General Conference
Life has its share of some fear and some failure. Sometimes things fall short, don’t quite measure up. Sometimes in both personal and public life, we are seemingly left without strength to go on. Sometimes people fail us, or economies and circumstance fail us, and life with its hardship and heartache can leave us feeling very alone.
But when such difficult moments come to us, I testify that there is one thing which will never, ever fail us. One thing alone will stand the test of all time, of all tribulation, all trouble, and all transgression. One thing only never faileth – and that is the pure love of Christ. — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “He Loved Them unto the End,” Ensign, November 1989
Much is being said of deep crime which darkens heaven’s windows. We shudder at immoralities which terrify us. We nearly panic at the divorce frequency and broken homes and delinquent children about us. But perhaps sometimes we should stop to reflect that all are not criminals, all are not bad, and all are not rebellious. . . . The gospel of Jesus Christ teaches men to live righteously, to make the family supreme, the home inviolate. It moves the characters of its adherents toward faultlessness. It is the true way. If lived rightly it will ennoble men toward Godhood. — President Spencer W. Kimball, “Glimpses of Heaven,” Ensign, December 1971
The second example is from the life of Willard Bean, a remarkable man who became known as the “fighting parson.” In the spring of 1915, Willard and his new bride, Rebecca, were called by President Joseph F. Smith to serve a mission for “five years or longer” in Palmyra, New York. (Vicki Bean Topliff, Willard Bean, “The Fighting Parson,” Huntington Beach, California, 1981, p. 87. For the account of their life in Palmyra, see pp. 86–131.) Their task was to occupy the recently acquired Joseph Smith home and farm and to reestablish the Church in the hostile environment which still existed at the time in Palmyra.
The Beans were rebuffed on every front as they settled into the Smith home. The townspeople would not speak to them or wait on them in their stores. Passersby would pause in front of the home and shout obscenities. Their children were assigned to sit in the back corners of the schoolroom and were shunned by the other children in class.
Willard, who was an accomplished athlete and had been a prize-winning boxer, decided to improve public relations by putting on a boxing exhibition in Palmyra. A ring was set up in an old opera house, and the “fighting parson” challenged all comers to a boxing match.
When the night of the exhibition arrived, the toughest men in Palmyra sat in the first few rows. One by one they entered the ring, only to be carried out again in a matter of seconds! This continued until the seventh challenger was similarly disposed.
Brother Bean’s fighting abilities were more spontaneously employed on another occasion as he walked along the unfriendly streets of Palmyra. A man watering his front lawn one afternoon suddenly turned the hose on Willard and taunted: “I understand you people believe in baptism by immersion.” The spry, athletic Willard reportedly vaulted over the fence separating them and replied, “Yes, and we also believe in the laying on of hands!” (Willard Bean, “The Fighting Parson,” p. 14.)
Although Brother Bean’s methods were a little unorthodox and definitely not compatible with the current approved missionary program of the Church, they were nonetheless effective. The people of Palmyra began begrudgingly to yield and to accept the Beans as the good people they were. In time, they were invited to participate in local churches and to join the civic organizations of the day. They established a branch of the Church and helped acquire the Hill Cumorah and the Martin Harris and Peter Whitmer farms. The “five years or longer” mission to which the prophet had called them stretched to nearly twenty-five years before it concluded. During that time, the attitude of the people of Palmyra had changed from hostility toward the Beans to toleration, then admiration, and finally to love. The power of good lives is truly great. — Elder Marlin K. Jensen, “The Power of a Good Life,” General Conference, April 1994
Men have to suffer that they may come upon Mount Zion and be exalted above the heavens. — Joseph Smith, History of the Church, 5:556
The call to serve has ever characterized the work of the Lord. It rarely comes at a convenient time. It brings humility, it provokes prayer, it inspires commitment. The call came – to Kirtland. Revelations followed. The call came – to Missouri. Persecution prevailed. The call came – to Nauvoo. Prophets died. The call came – to the basin of the Great Salt Lake. Hardship beckoned.
That long journey, made under such difficult circumstances, was a trial of faith. But faith forged in the furnace of trials and tears is marked by trust and testimony. Only God can count the sacrifice; only God can measure the sorrow; only God can know the hearts of those who serve Him – then and now. — President Thomas S. Monson, “Tears, Trials, Trust, Testimony,” Ensign, May 1987
It is well that we remember that the trials, difficulties, and experiences of life all have purpose. There came to me on the occasion of a year in my life to be remembered when the lovely sisters of our Relief Society wrote this as a prayer in my behalf. It was entitled ‘May You Have’:
Enough happiness to keep you sweet,
Enough trials to keep you strong,
Enough sorrow to keep you human,
Enough hope to keep you happy,
Enough failure to keep you humble,
Enough success to keep you eager,
Enough wealth to meet your needs,
Enough enthusiasm to look forward,
Enough friends to give you comfort,
Enough faith to banish depression,
Enough determination to make each day better than yesterday.
This is my prayer for the faithful Saints in every land and throughout the world as we look forward to the future with courage and with fortitude. — President Harold B. Lee, “Your Light to Be a Standard unto the Nations,” Ensign, August 1973
God, doubtless, could avert war, prevent crime, destroy poverty, chase away darkness, overcome error, and make all things bright, beautiful and joyful. But this would involve the destruction of a vital and fundamental attribute in man-the right of agency. It is for the benefit of His sons and daughters that they become acquainted with evil as well as good, with darkness as well as light, with error as well as truth, and with the results of the infraction of eternal laws.
Therefore he has permitted the evils which have been brought about by the acts of His creatures, but will control their ultimate results for His own glory and the progress and exaltation of His sons and daughters, when they have learned obedience by the things they suffer. The contrasts experienced in this world of mingled sorrow and joy are educational in their nature, and will be the means of raising humanity to a full appreciation of all that is right and true and good. — Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith, p. 286
Our all-wise Heavenly Father knew that for His children to grow into the beings they were designed to become, they would need to experience seasons of adversity during their sojourn in mortality. The Book of Mormon prophet Lehi said that without opposition, “righteousness could not be brought to pass” (2 Nephi 2:11). Indeed, it is life’s bitterness that allows us to recognize, contrast, and appreciate its sweetness (see D&C 29:39; Moses 6:55).
President Brigham Young put it this way: “All intelligent beings who are crowned with crowns of glory, immortality, and eternal lives must pass through every ordeal appointed for intelligent beings to pass through, to gain their glory and exaltation. Every calamity that can come upon mortal beings will be suffered . . . to prepare them to enjoy the presence of the Lord. . . . Every trial and experience you have passed through is necessary for your salvation.” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young, 1977, pp. 261-62)
The question is not whether we will experience seasons of adversity but how we will weather the storms. — President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Saints for All Seasons,” Ensign, Sept. 2013, p. 4
Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men. — President John F. Kennedy