I think it is safe to say that we, (me included) live in a bubble. Most Christians including members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) and other religious people do. The bubble I’m referring to is the life we have built for ourselves: those who we associate with in our neighborhood, church and school who have a standard of living in speech, dress or thought. Many of us live in a bubble. We live with pleasant family members, we work around pleasant Christian standard people and our neighbors for the most part have the pleasant Christian ethic standard so sometimes we don’t see a lot of opposition in our life through those avenues.
But we do experience opposition in other ways in our life. We still have tragedy and difficulties visit us inside the bubble as this is what we have come to earth to experience. We know what it takes to be true to our faith and we know that the adversary is trying to get us not to be true but if we continue to consciously make an effort and keep those forces outside of our own little world, we can be successful.
In March I was pushed out of this bubble by taking on employment where the only standard kept was to fill the orders of their merchandise to be shipped off on time. There are three hundred people who work for this company and I don’t know of many who have any standard of righteous living. This is unfortunate as the bad examples of the other employees seem to invite the same kind of behavior: bad language, insensitivity of taking care of merchandise, smoking, over drinking alcohol and other bad habits which make work more tiresome.
Each day as I arrived at work there were some incredibly difficult experiences as in how to overcome people in management who were not kind. They were not bad people but just confused and sucked into the world around them. The job I did wasn’t that difficult but to work 8 to 10 hours of hearing what I heard was a challenge. I sang hymns to myself most of the time so I could keep thoughts protected and I tried my hardest to set a good example and I don’t know that anyone really cared. I missed my bubble.
From April 1979 LDS Church General Conference, James Faust talked about our difficult trials as a “Refiner’s Fire”:
“Into every life there come the painful, despairing days of adversity and buffeting. There seems to be a full measure of anguish, sorrow, and often heartbreak for everyone, including those who earnestly seek to do right and be faithful. The thorns that prick, that stick in the flesh, that hurt, often change lives which seem robbed of significance and hope. This change comes about through a refining process which often seems cruel and hard.
In this way the soul can become like soft clay in the hands of the Master in building lives of faith, usefulness, beauty, and strength. For some, the refiner’s fire causes a loss of belief and faith in God, but those with eternal perspective understand that such refining is part of the perfection process.”
Other comforting words come from Orson F. Whitney’s writing (another LDS Church leader in 1906) which has been hanging on my bathroom mirror since my first husband passed away:
“No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education, 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 character, purifies our hearts, expands our souls and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called the children of God”.
We can go to the Lord to help us. We can give him our sorrows and our difficulties. As Elder Bednar talked about recently at a LDS Church stake conference adult session, he said: “to us in modern times the Sacrament table is like the staff that Moses (from the Old Testament) held up for the Children of Israel to see so they would not be hurt by the serpents. It is so easy for us to come to church each week and just feel the Spirit and the comfort of the Lord and take the Sacrament.
It’ll all work out
What I have learned from these 4 months through my employment was that it wasn’t just enough to keep myself protected by the armor of God but to have a good attitude while in the midst of the opposition. Here are three ways we can take the experience of our trials and learn how we can be better.
- Having a good attitude is better than being whiny when we are experiencing our difficulties.
- We are under covenant to help one another through times of hard ship.
- Continue to keep our standard of the Gospel of Jesus Christ even during times of opposition.
Opposition does permit us to grow toward what our Heavenly Father would have us become, because he wants us to become His good children: faithful, kind, charitable, and compassionate. By experiencing these difficulties we can develop a strong relationship with our Heavenly Father and grow to be strong people who set righteous examples for others around us.
Valerie Steimle has been writing as a family advocate for over 25 years. As a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, she promotes Christian living in her writings and is the mother of nine children and grandmother to twelve. Mrs. Steimle authored six books and is a contributing writer to several online websites. To her, time is the most precious commodity we have and knows we should spend it wisely. To read more of Valerie's work, visit her at her website, The Blessings of Family Life.