Here’s to being tested! Sometimes I’ve found myself running laps on particular life lessons. I think I’ve learned the lesson, yet later find myself in the middle of what seems to be the same lesson, different trial. Other times, I feel like I’ve learned the lesson, but the trial still hasn’t subsided.
Do you ever find yourself in similar situations?
Tested to the Very Uttermost
Two quotes from John Taylor have offered me insight into those unexpected, and generally unwelcome, scenarios.
“If any man or woman expects to enter into the celestial kingdom of our God without being tested to the very uttermost, they have not understood the gospel. If there is a weak spot in our nature, or if there is a fiber that can be made to quiver or to shrink, we may rest assured that it will be tested” (The Kingdom of God or Nothing, pg. 345).
“We are all aiming at celestial glory. Don’t you know we are? We are talking about it, and we talk about being kings and priests unto the Lord; we talk about being enthroned in the kingdoms of our God; we talk about being queens and priestesses; and we talk, when we get on our high-heeled shoes, about possessing thrones, principalities, powers, and dominions in the eternal worlds, when at the same time many of us do not know how to conduct ourselves any better than a donkey does. Notwithstanding our talk and our short comings, there is a reality in these things, and God is determined, if possible, to make something of us.
In order to do this, he has to try us and prove us, to manifest principles unto us, to develop the evils that are within ourselves, and to show us, by placing us in various positions and subjecting us to various trials, what we are,—to show us our weaknesses and follies, in order that we may be made to lean and depend upon him alone. He will try men and prove them, to see if their hearts are pure; for he designs to take a course with us that will bring out the evil; and he will touch them in that part that will develop it, for he knows what part to touch in order to make us develop that which is in us” (Journal of Discourses, 6:166).
So many times I thought the lesson was an individual lesson on patience or endurance or compassion. Here, President Taylor taught that the lesson was to rely upon Him alone!
…relying alone upon the merits of Christ, who was the author and the finisher of their faith.
Being able to discern the truths of a divine lesson and to truly rely upon the merits of Christ requires discernment through the Holy Ghost.
Template for Receiving the Holy Ghost While You’re Being Tested
In “Unleashing the Dormant Spirit,” F. Enzio Busche shared his family’s template for passing through life and its ensuing trials with the Holy Ghost. Some of these are struggles in an of themselves for me. But I see their value as principles to strengthen weaknesses and follies.
- Embrace this day with an enthusiastic welcome, no matter how it looks. The covenant with God to which you are true enables you to become enlightened by him, and nothing is impossible for you.
- When you are physically sick, tired, or in despair, steer your thoughts away from yourself and direct them, in gratitude and love, toward God.
- In your life there have to be challenges. They will either bring you closer to God and therefore make you stronger, or they can destroy you. But you make the decision of which road you take.
- First and foremost, you are a spirit child of God. If you neglect to feed your spirit, you will reap unhappiness. Don’t permit anything to detract you from this awareness.
- You cannot communicate with God unless you have first sacrificed your self-oriented natural man and have brought yourself into the lower levels of meekness, to become acceptable for the Light of Christ.
- Put all frustrations, hurt feelings, and grumblings into the perspective of your eternal hope. Light will flow into your soul.
- Pause to ponder the suffering Christ felt in the Garden of Gethsemane. In the awareness of the depth of gratitude for him, you appreciate every opportunity to show your love for him by diligently serving in his Church.
- God knows that you are not perfect. As you suffer about your imperfections, he will give you comfort and suggestions of where to improve.
- God knows better than you what you need. He always attempts to speak to you. Listen and follow the uncomfortable suggestions that he makes to us—everything will fall into its place.
- Avoid any fear like your worst enemy, but magnify your fear about the consequences of sin.
- When you cannot love someone, look into that person’s eyes long enough to find the hidden rudiments of the child of God in him.
- Never judge anyone. When you accept this, you will be freed. In the case of your own children or subordinates, where you have the responsibility to judge, help them to become their own judges.
- If someone hurts you so much that your feelings seem to choke you, forgive and you will be free again.
- Avoid at all cost any pessimistic, negative, or criticizing thoughts. If you cannot cut them out, they will do you harm. On the road toward salvation, let questions arise but never doubts. If something is wrong, God will give you clarity but never doubts.
- Avoid rush and haste and uncontrolled words. Divine light develops in places of peace and quiet. Be aware of that as you enter places of worship.
- Be not so much concerned about what you do, but do what you do with all your heart, might, and strength. In thoroughness is satisfaction.
- You want to be good and to do good. That is commendable. But the greatest achievement that can be reached in our lives is to be under the complete influence of the Holy Ghost. Then he will teach us what is really good and necessary to do.
- The pain of sacrifice lasts only one moment. It is the fear of the pain of sacrifice that makes you hesitate to do it.
- Be grateful for every opportunity to serve. It helps you more than those you serve.
- And finally, when you are compelled to give up something or when things that are dear to you are withdrawn from you, know that this is your lesson to be learned right now. But know also that, as you are learning this lesson God wants to give you something better.
[W]hen we are constantly aware of this fight [against the adversary’s deceptions] and we let the Light of Christ help us stand in our responsibilities, we may be able to stay on this narrow path where we will see, with clarity, that we are lost without the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ.
We are lost without the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ.
This gives new purpose in being tested——gratitude to God for testing every quivering fiber, striving for the companionship of the Holy Ghost (who not only teaches how to transcend the trial, but reveals Him who descended below all things with me in my trial), and my need for a Redeemer.
I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I have moved 64 times and have not tired of experiencing this beautiful earth! I love the people, languages, histories/anthropologies, & especially religious cultures of the world. My life long passion is the study & searching out of religious symbolism, specifically related to ancient & modern temples. My husband Anthony and I love our bulldog Stig, adventures, traveling, movies, motorcycling, and time with friends and family.