Archive for the ‘adversity’ Tag

That Your Burdens May Be Light

Reading: “That Your Burdens May Be Light,” Elder L. Whitney Clayton of the Presidency of the Seventy, Saturday Morning Session, October 2009 General Conference

One of the purposes of life is for us to experience pain and suffering.  This does not mean that life should be miserable – but it does mean that there will be many times where we feel weighed down by heavy burdens.  In this talk Elder Clayton encourages us to endure our burdens and to seek the help of the Savior as we do so.  He says,

Through it all, the Savior offers us sustaining strength and support, and in His own time and way, He offers deliverance.

Elder Clayton then shared the story of the people of Alma the Younger who were taken as slaves by the Lamanites.  As they sought the Savior’s help their burdens were not taken away (at least at first) but they were given the strength they needed to endure.

Sometimes I wonder why I must struggle with the same problems over time. Although it seems like it would be so easy for them to just go away, they often do not.  As I continue to seek the help of the Lord, though, I am often greatly blessed with wisdom and strength that I may not have gained otherwise.  This talk helped me be more accepting of my burdens and helped me to recognize more the hand of the Lord helping me lift up those burdens.

How has God helped you with your burdens in the past? What helped you carry on while enduring trials that don’t go away as quickly as you would like?

Giving One’s Life For the Gospel

Reading: Alma 14

In the gospel we are taught to trust in the Lord and we will be provided for.  However, what the Lord has in mind for us and what we think we should receive are often very different. Sometimes we are asked to give up everything, including our lives, for God.

Today I read about the women and children burned in the fire by the people of Ammonihah because they would not deny the gospel.  It made me think more deeply about what it means to find peace in the gospel.  God had the power to stop the murders, but did not.  Alma explains:

But Alma said unto him: The Spirit constraineth me that I must not stretch forth mine hand; for behold the Lord receiveth them up unto himself, in glory; and he doth suffer that they may do this thing, or that the people may do this thing unto them, according to the hardness of their hearts, that the judgments which he shall exercise upon them in his wrath may be just; and the blood of the innocent shall stand as a witness against them, yea, and cry mightily against them at the last day.

God allowed this to continue for two reasons: First, the people who were burned would be rewarded with great blessings in the next life. Second, the people causing the murders could only be held accountable for murder if they actually committed the murder.  For example, you can’t punish someone for looking like they might break into your house – they have to actually commit the crime to receive the punishment. God was allowing the wicked people of Ammonihah to bring upon themselves their own condemnation.

This is still a hard thing to swallow – that God would allow good people to suffer.  Yet, good people suffer all the time in varying degrees.  In the scriptures we learn that in life we must “taste the bitter so that we may know the sweet” – that part of the purpose of life is to learn what pain and wickedness is like so that we can learn to value goodness and righteousness.  Part of that is also being ready to give up what we have for something greater, whether it is as small as giving up some of your own time to serve someone else, or whether it is as big as giving up your life as testimony of the gospel.

Today I am going to watch for times when I feel like God should bless me with something, whether it is more time, more cooperative children, or great insight, and instead thank the Lord for all that I am blessed with.

Do you know good people who have suffered bad things, yet remained with strong testimonies? How did they keep their faith?

Sunday Will Come

Reading: “Sunday Will Come,” Mormon Messages Channel, YouTube.com, shown below

All of us go through hard time in our lives.  Yet we can all look forward in faith to a time when things will be better, and we will have peace.

As I watched this video featuring Elder Wirthlin I felt that he was someone who knew about hard times.  While I really don’t know much about his personal life, you can see the effects of age as he speaks.  When he says, “Someday we will be free from pain,” you get the sense that here is a man who knows what pain is.  He has found peace through the gospel of Jesus Christ, so it helps me to believe that I also can find peace.

Today I am going to take a few minutes a few times throughout the day to think about the Savior and the promises he has made to his faithful servants.

What peace have you found in your life through the gospel?

A Story Of Faith

Reading: Conversations Podcast, Episode 3, Interview with Herbert Klopfer

I have been very much enjoying the new podcasts available through the Mormon Channel. The podcasts go into greater depth than a simple rebroadcast of a previous talk.  One podcast I especially enjoy is Conversations, where people with a special perspective or interesting story are interviewed about their lives.

One interview I particularly enjoyed was the story of Herbert Klopfer.  Herbert Klopfer lived in West Germany first through World War II and then through the communist occupation.  Herbert Klopfer’s father was the mission president for the area before he was recruited into the German army and died on the Russian front.  Klopfer’s mother raised him and his siblings alone.

Practicing the Mormon religion under Communist control was a tricky and often dangerous endeavour.  While still a teenager, Klopfer’s mother risked a daring escape from West Germany.  Klopfer continued to serve the church in Europe until he eventually moved to the United States.  He became very involved in a musical capacity and wrote the hymn “Home Can Be a Heaven on Earth” which is in the current hymn book.

All of this is just a summary from my memory of listening almost a week ago, so I encourage you to listen to the whole story by clicking the reading link above.

Listening to Herbert Klopfer’s story helped me to see how blessed I am, but also showed me how we can continue to live the gospel even while there are incredible forces fighting against us.  I hope that I can continue to have faith like Herbert Klopfer even while my own society become more and more opposed to religion.

Today I am going to thank Heavenly Father for the privelege to live in a country where, at least for now, I am free to practice my religion without interference from the government.

Is there anyone who stands as an example to you of faith?  What about their story makes it special to you?

Good Cheer in Hard Times

Reading: “Be of Good Cheer,” President Thomas S. Monson, April 2009 General Conference, Sunday Morning Session

In this talk President Monson shares three stories of people who suffered incredible hardship.  One story was of a family who lost a child while crossing the ocean to join the Saints in Nauvoo.  Another story was of a man who lost his sight and sought a blessing, but also saying that whether or not he received his sight back he was still grateful.  The last story was of a woman forced to walk from her home in East Prussia to West Germany and who buried each of her four children along the way.

All of these stories President Monson shared do not have a traditional happy ending.  We don’t know if the man ever received his sight back.  We don’t know what happened to the woman after she arrived in West Germany.  Instead each story ends with the person or family being of good cheer despite their hardship because of their faith in God.

When I first heard this talk I was deeply touched and realized on a deeper level that the most important things in life are our families and the gospel.  Sometimes I get discouraged too easily because I am focused on fleeting things that don’t matter so much, like possessions, comfort, or pride.  I can learn from these stories to focus on the important things and to trust in God more readily.

Today I am going to watch what disappoints me or stresses me and see if maybe I can be more focused on family and the gospel in those areas.

When you read or heard these stories, what did it bring to your mind?  Have you ever felt joy through the gospel at a time when you would have expected to be sad?

The Savior Suffered For Us

Reading: “None Were With Him,” Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, April 2009 General Conference, Saturday Morning Session

At a time when many are feeling lonely and downtrodden, Elder Holland encourages us to remember the suffering the Savior endured in order to atone for our sins.  The Savior suffered embarassment, loneliness, verbal attack, and great pain in his final days.  Having suffered great pain himself, the Savior is perfectly able to help us through our times of loneliness and sorrow.  Elder Holland says,

Brothers and sisters, one of the great consolations of this Easter season is that because Jesus walked such a long, lonely path utterly alone, we do not have to do so. His solitary journey brought great company for our little version of that path—the merciful care of our Father in Heaven, the unfailing companionship of this Beloved Son, the consummate gift of the Holy Ghost, angels in heaven, family members on both sides of the veil, prophets and apostles, teachers, leaders, friends. All of these and more have been given as companions for our mortal journey because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the Restoration of His gospel. Trumpeted from the summit of Calvary is the truth that we will never be left alone nor unaided, even if sometimes we may feel that we are. Truly the Redeemer of us all said, “I will not leave you comfortless. [My Father and] I will come to you [and abide with you].”

When I feel lonely or downtrodden I am comforted to know that Savior knows my pain and will help me through it.  Many times I have prayed for and received help, guidance, and comfort in times of great sorrow or pain.  The Savior is the light in our lives that can get us through any trial.

Today I am going to take some time to think about how knowing the Savior suffered so greatly for us affects me and write about it in my journal.

What does it mean to you that the Savior has suffered all things?  Have you ever had a hard time that this knowledge helped you endure?

His Arm is Sufficient

Reading: “His Arm is Sufficient,” Sister Barbara Thompson, Second Counselor in the Relief Society Presidency, April 2009 General Conference, Sunday Morning Session

Last September in the General Relief Society meeting Sister Beck gave three things to help us in our quest for eternal life.  Those three things were:

  1. Increase in faith an personal righteousness
  2. Strengthen families and homes
  3. Serve the Lord and his children

Sister Thompson here encourages us to continue to strive to do these three things.  As part of her encouragement she shares the following verse from The Time is Far Spent:

Be fixed in your purpose for Satan will try you. / The weight of your calling he perfectly knows. / Your path may be thorny but Jesus is nigh you. / His arm is sufficient tho demons oppose. / His arm is sufficient tho demons oppose.

These are certainly three things that I strive to do each day.  Yet, sometimes I get discouraged when things don’t go just right. It is comforting to know that the Savior is always there to help me.  Although the Savior cannot make our choices or learn our lessons for us, he is there to help every step of the way.

Today I am going to pray to see how God is helping me.

How are you striving to follow Sister Beck’s counsel?  How have you received help to follow the counsel when your own resources were not enough?

A Time For Faith

Reading: “Be Your Best Self,” President Thomas S. Monson, April 2009 General Conference, Priesthood Session

In times of trouble many of us may start to fear the future.  After all, we believe that terrible things will happen before the second coming of Christ.  It is easy to forget that often troubles can also bring great blessings, and that we are also looking forward to an end of suffering in this earth life.  President Monson encourages us to choose faith over fear in this talk:

This is not a time for fear, brethren, but rather a time for faith—a time for each of us who holds the priesthood to be his best self.

President Monson then lists three simple ways for us to become that best version of ourselves.  These include:

  • Study dilligently
  • Pray fervently
  • Live righteously

President Monson’s advice was part of a main theme of the last conference, as far as I can tell.  Rather than become fearful and depressed about the troubles we face, we should use these times as a motivator to increase our faith an righteousness.  With faith we can face any trouble knowing that God is with us.

When bad things happen sometimes I especially feel the pain of my own weaknesses and shortcoming and rush into a flurry to fix my problems before they balloon out of control.  However, an attitude of faith for me means having faith that God will help me through my problems, that I can repent, and that I don’t have to fix everything right this second.  Sometimes having faith means believing that I am a daughter of God, and as such I have the potential to, over time, become like Him, even though right now that seems nearly impossible.

Today I am going to pray “fervently” for greater faith to see me through the current times of trouble in the world.

How does faith see you through times of trouble?  What exactly do you have faith in that helps you?  How can you increase your faith?  Of President Monson’s suggestions for self-improvement, what area do you need most to improve in?

Faith Through Adversity

Reading: “Faith In Adversity,” Elder Rafael E. Pino Of the Seventy, April 2009 General Conference, Saturday Afternoon Session

In the current times of difficulty we have a rock hard foundation on which to stand.  Although we will still experience tragedies, the power and knowledge of the gospel can help us weather any storm.  In his talk Elder Pino shares several stories that illustrate this truth.

One story that stood out to me most of all was the story of a family who lost their little girl.  He shared the following story, written by the girl’s father:

As soon as we arrived at one of the beautiful Venezuelan beaches, our children begged us to let them go out and play in a small river near the beach. We allowed them to go. Then we started to get some things out of the car. Two minutes later we noticed that our children were starting to get too far from the shore.

As we went toward them to bring them closer, we noticed that our three-year-old daughter was not with the other children. We looked for her desperately, only to find her floating near the place where the other children were. We quickly pulled her out of the water. Some people came to try to help save her, but nothing could be done. Our youngest daughter had drowned.

The moments that followed were extremely difficult, filled with anguish and pain for the loss of our youngest daughter. That feeling soon turned into an almost unbearable torment. However, in the midst of the confusion and uncertainty, the thought that our children had been born under the covenant came to our minds, and through that covenant, our daughter belongs to us for eternity.

What a blessing it is to belong to the Church of Jesus Christ and to have received the ordinances of His holy temple! We now feel that we are much more committed to be faithful to the Lord and endure to the end because we want to be worthy of the blessings that the temple provides in order to see our daughter again. At times we mourn, but ‘we do not mourn as those without hope.’

I cannot imagine how hard it would be to lose my daughter or my husband.  In fact, when I was first married, I was often scared that something would happen to my husband because I feared how hard it would be to lose him.  However, as my faith has grown, I have grown less fearful.  Although I know that such a loss would be incredibly difficult, I also have faith that we will be together forever and that God will help me through my grief.

Today I am going to go on a walk up by the temple and think about what the temple means, and how grateful I am for those blessings.

Have you experienced tragedy?  How does your faith in the gospel help you deal with tragedies that have happened or tragedies that may someday happen?

Give Even When Your Need Is Great

Reading: “Adversity,” President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the General Presidency, April 2009 General Conference, Saturday Morning Session

In the current hard times faced by many people across the world, it may be hard to think of giving.  After all, if you are suffering yourself then it seems as if you shouldn’t be required to also help others since you don’t have much to give.  In this talk, however, Elder Eyring encourages us to do just that:

That may seem much to ask of people in such great need themselves. But I know one young man who was inspired to do that very thing early in his marriage. He and his wife were barely getting by on a tiny budget. But he saw another couple even poorer than they were. To the surprise of his wife, he gave help to them from their scanty finances. A promised blessing of peace came while they were still in their poverty. The blessing of prosperity beyond their fondest dreams came later. And the pattern of seeing someone in need, someone with less or in pain, has never ceased.

Today when I was running errands a woman came to me and asked for cash to buy some gas to get home.  I hardly ever carry any cash with me, so while I would have been more than happy to give her some cash I didn’t have any.  After she left, as I was preparing to drive away, the thought came that I could offer to drive with her to the gas station and buy gas for her (she had said she only had just enough gas to get to the gas station).  However, I also thought of how my own husband was waiting for me to get home so I could let him into our apartment (his keys were locked inside) and how my one year old was very hungry and very tired, our errand having run long past lunch time and nap time.  In the end I decided to go ahead and go home, reasoning that surely she would find someone else who could help her.  As I read this talk I realized that I missed out on the opportunity to do real service for someone.  I now wish I would have chosen to offer my time, rather than running on my way.

Today I am going to pray for help recognizing need around me, and for help to have the courage and correct attitude to offer that help where I can.

Have you ever seen someone help others, even though their own suffering was great? How do you balance your own needs with your desire to help others?