Why is it that no matter what you do, no matter what painstaking efforts you make to keep it all together…. the laundry will be finished and you will inevitably have only one sock to every pair you washed? Does the dryer eat a sock as payment for its hard work? Or are you simply cursed with bad luck?
It is easy to sometimes ask why, despite our best efforts, do things simply not come out right?
Does this mean that God punishes His children, even when they are trying their hardest to follow Him? Or turns His back on them for a time so that they can learn?
Neither of these things are true, of course. God does not punish us when we are trying to become better, and He never turns his back on us, He does, however, want to give us opportunities to learn since that is the purpose of our existence — but He will never leave us alone or unaided. God is a merciful God who “delights to own and bless us.”
In a talk by President Dallin H. Oaks entitled “Adversity,” he poses a question:
“Adversity will be a constant or occasional companion for each of us throughout our lives. We cannot avoid it. The only question is how we will react to it. Will our adversities be stumbling blocks or stepping stones?”
How will we react to occasions in life that do not turn out the way we planned? We have all had days, months, or even years that disappoint, annoy, and sometimes even bring our world crashing down. In these moments, we then have the opportunity, as with everything in life, to choose. We choose how we respond to problems, adversities, and everyday life disappointments. Will we grow or will we become lost?
“The Lord uses adversities to send messages to his children… They can turn men’s hearts to God… Even as adversities inflict mortal hardships, they can also be the means of leading men and women to eternal blessings.
We came to mortal life to encounter resistance. It was part of the plan for our eternal progress. Without temptation, sickness, pain, and sorrow, there could be no goodness, virtue, appreciation for well-being, or joy” (Dallin H. Oaks, “Adversity,” Ensign, July 1998).
One of my favorite psalms is found in Psalms 136:1 which reads,
“O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.”
God is a God of mercy. He helps us to become who we need to become through everyday experiences — the good along with the bad. We may occasionally endure moments of frustration like losing a sock to the dryer monster, and then sometimes we will traverse through some of life’s most excruciating experiences. But in every trial, every frustration, every moment of pain and anxiety, we have a loving Father in Heaven who watches over us, sends His tender mercies, and will, in the end, heal every wound and reward every faithful disciple beyond their capacity to understand.
Janette Beverley is a lover of life, family, music, and the gospel of Jesus Christ. She has a bachelor's degree in psychology with an emphasis in marriage and family therapy, and has five amazing children and one equally amazing husband. Janette is excited to be writing for LDS Blogs and sharing her love and passion for finding the miraculous among the mundane, the awe-inspiring among the obvious, and the uplifting among the underestimated. To read more of her work, you can visit Janette's personal blog here.