Adversity comes in many shapes and sizes. It happens to everybody, even members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons). It happens to the best of us and the rest of us. We come from all walks of life, and experience all kinds of adversity. Recognizing adversity from an eternal perspective, a perspective often seen through the eyes of Mormons, can often provide hope even during the darkest hours. Adversity can come at you in the form of events, circumstances, through the actions of other people, or misguided intentions of those closest to you, even yourself. It comes because it is supposed to, and it comes daily.
For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. (2 Nephi 2:11)
When you fully accept that adversity is simply a part of the story of life, you immediately have the ability to overcome even the toughest of obstacles. Whether you choose to exercise that ability is up to you. Friedrich Nietzsche, a famous German philosopher once wrote, “That which does not kill us, makes us stronger.” So, through living in and with adversity, we become stronger with time, and can grow leaps and bounds spiritually. Even when that adversity seems almost unbearable, and casts looming dark shadows in our lives, “…all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.” (D & C 122:7)
Being a convert to the Church has taught me to recognize that though adversity wears many faces, it is not without purpose. Since I became Mormon, I have learned to seek out the blessings to be found from adversity and to quit feeling sorry for myself. In my life before I joined the Church, it was very easy to do just that, and my life at the time did feel almost unbearable. I was periodically depressed and became self destructive. In retrospect, it was because of bad choices. It was only through learning about the Plan of Salvation from my husband and the missionaries in my area that I began to feel hope.
What gave me hope the most was learning that I had a purpose, and a choice, to fulfill that purpose. Although I couldn’t always choose or control the circumstances surrounding the various adversities in my life, I could most definitely choose how I reacted to them and whether I wanted to see them for what they were…really difficult lessons.
Our Heavenly Father wants us to learn these lessons and never gives us more than what we have the ability to handle. Moreover, He wants us to know with calm assurance that we are not alone in our education.
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)
Our Heavenly Father has given us a light to guide us through the hours of darkness through the teachings found in the scriptures. He has helped us to ease our suffering through the atoning sacrifice of His only begotten son, Jesus Christ. Though we might not always see clearly the purpose at that moment of every adversity we face, or are not able to recognize the reason why it had to happen the way that it did, there is a singular purpose for experiencing adversity. It is the desire of our Heavenly Father for us to return to Him after this life. He has challenged us to choose for ourselves which path to follow in our mortality. If we choose to overcome and endure adversity righteously throughout our lives, help others to do the same, and choose to learn the lessons He has provided for us, we will be rewarded with the blessings of immortality. It was promised to us,
And, if you keep my commandments and endure to the end you shall have eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God. (D&C 14:7)