Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Heavenly Father, Are you really there?

The biggest thing on my mind at this time is that many people who are close to me are facing several tough challenges in their lives. Some are dealing with death by tragedy, serious health issues, financial difficulty, family discord, and some are even dealing with several of these trials all at once.

I am at a loss at what to say or do. I certainly pray for each of them and keep them in my heart and thoughts but am left pondering the statement that really bad things happen to really good people.

It’s very easy during times of heartache and struggle to question where God is and how he could possible let these things happen, but I believe that question is answered by President Spencer W. Kimball in his book,
Faith Proceeds the Miracle

“Is there not wisdom in his giving us trials that we might rise above them, responsibilities that we might achieve, work to harden our muscles, sorrows to try our souls? Are we not exposed to temptations to test our strength, sickness that we might learn patience, death that we might be immortalized and glorified?
If all the sick for whom we pray were healed, if all the righteous were protected and the wicked destroyed, the whole program of the Father would be annulled and the basic principle of the gospel, free agency, would be ended. No man would have to live by faith. If joy and peace and rewards were instantaneously given the doer of good, there could be no evil–all would do good but 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, only satanic controls. Should all prayers be immediately answered according to our selfish desires and our limited understanding, then there would be little or no suffering, sorrow, disappointment, or even death, and if these were not, there would also be no joy, success, resurrection, nor eternal life and godhood.”

It may not make the trial easier, but it helps to keep a clear perspective on what it’s all about.

“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 . . . and it is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation, that we gain the education that we come here to acquire and which will make us more like our Father and Mother in heaven. . . .” (Orson F. Whitney as cited in Spencer W. Kimball, Faith Proceeds the Miracle, [1972], 99).

When others are suffering and struggling this is an opportunity for us to look for ways to be of service, to show that we care and that we love them. It’s not always an easy thing to do. But with prayerful consideration I believe any act of kindness would be appreciated.
People just need to know they are loved, that other’s care, and that they are not alone.

I know that people have come through for me at various times of struggle and trial. It’s at those times that I know my Father in Heaven is aware of me and my needs. It is through those people that he and blesses my life.

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