We’re promised many blessings when we join the church. Sometimes we expect that to mean that all our problems will go away if we are living properly. The scriptures show us this isn’t true. Even the Savior faced trials in His lifetime, not due to anything He did wrong, but because of the choices of others.
Some of our trials will be caused by others. Everyone has agency, the right to choose how to live. We can choose how to live, but we can’t choose the consequences of our actions or who will be hurt by them. As a result, good people sometimes suffer because of choices made by another. A parent will grieve over the choices of her child, just as Alma did for his son and Lehi did for his two oldest children. People sometimes die too soon, as did Joseph Smith, because others chose to kill him.
If you’re a parent, you know there are times when you have to stand back and watch as your children make mistakes, or even just fall off the bicycle they’re learning to ride. It isn’t cruelty or neglect. It’s just what a parent must do so that our children will learn and grow up. Heavenly Father knows this, too, and so, while He watches over us lovingly, and is there to help when we ask and when it’s appropriate, sometimes things just happen.
It can be hard to see Heavenly Father’s hand in our lives when things are going wrong. However, now that you have the Holy Ghost and know how to pray, you can ask Him to show you how He is helping. You can learn to sit quietly and feel His presence in our hardest moments.
God never promised us a trial-free life if we accepted the gospel. He did, however, promise to help us through the trials that must come into every life. These trials are necessary for us to complete our mission here on earth. James E. Faust, who was the first counselor to President Gordon B. Hinckley until his recent death, said, “Here, then, is a great truth. In the pain, the agony, and the heroic endeavors of life, we pass through a 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. In this way the divine image can be mirrored from the soul. It is part of the purging toll exacted of some to become acquainted with God. In the agonies of life, we seem to listen better to the faint, godly whisperings of the Divine Shepherd.” (James E. Faust, “Refined in Our Trials,” Ensign, Feb 2006, 2–7)
Be grateful that you still have trials. Some of your trials ended when you joined the church. Sometimes new trials began at the same time, perhaps through the reactions of others to your conversion. What you were given at baptism was not an easy life, but a surefire way to receive comfort and guidance, and a promise that it’s all worth it in the end.
Terrie Lynn Bittner
The late Terrie Lynn Bittner—beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and friend—was the author of two homeschooling books and numerous articles, including several that appeared in Latter-day Saint magazines. She became a member of the Church at the age of 17 and began sharing her faith online in 1992.