23 October 2013

Wonderful Wednesdays: Trials

There is a lot of joy in life. Finding it and living joyfully is a talent that some people have. But it is one that all can learn. On the other hand, life is hard; cripplingly hard for some. I marvel at the horrible circumstances that many children in this life are born to. And yet there are some who find it in themselves to rise above their circumstances and become more than many would have believed possible. The fact is, I believe that everyone has the potential to overcome their circumstances or at the very least improve upon them. The doctrine of the LDS church teaches that we are all of us 'gods in embryo' - children of a divine Heavenly Father, with the potential to become as He is. And what is He? He is love, He is perfection, He is the creator of the heavens and the earth . . . and much, much more. And we could potentially be like Him.

Trials are given to us as a means to facilitate our becoming more like God. When we have experienced hard things, we develop more love and empathy for others who experience similarly hard things. We can also develop a greater relationship with Jesus Christ since He has already suffered everything that we'll ever suffer in this life. And without a relationship and reliance on the Savior we cannot become like God, since we cannot be perfect without Him and we will not live with God (and therefore, continue to become as God is) without perfection.

So when I hear of people claiming that life shouldn't be 'hard' or that we somehow need to make life 'fair' for everyone I generally will reject their ideas because that doesn't align with what I believe to be true at all. 2 Nephi 2:11 states, "For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things." It is true that a negative outlook can make life harder than the Lord actually intends for us, but that is something that is in our control. The Lord allows hard things that are beyond our control to happen in our lives for our benefit.

Joseph Smith, the prophet of the restoration of God's church on earth was allowed to endure awful things even though he was doing as the Lord asked him to. So did most of the early members of the church. In Doctrine and Covenants 128:24 it says, "For he (referring to the lord) is like a refiners fire, and like fuller’s soap; and he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver . . . Let us, therefore, as a church and a people, and as Latter-day Saints, offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness . . ."

One of the times that Joseph Smith was falsely accused and subsequently imprisoned the Lord told him, ". . . 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 . . . " D&C 121:7-8. Those words are meant for us as well. As we do our best to remain faithful under difficult circumstances, we allow the Lord to purify and refine us in order to make us fit for His kingdom. Trials that come to us are beyond our control, but we are not without help; the Lord will help us as long as we remain true to Him. Trials are really just blessings in disguise . . . think of them as 'blessings of the trial variety'. :)

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