Have you ever asked why? Of course you have. All of us ask why from time to time. We wonder why someone we love must suffer, why calamities effect so many, taking their living, their health, even at times, their lives.
I’ve heard many people say that if God truly loved us, He wouldn’t allow bad things to happen to us. Sometimes, in my darkest hours, I’ve thought the same thing.
But God does love us and He has proven it by giving us life and best of all, by granting us freedom—the freedom to choose for ourselves what we will do with our lives.
This time on earth, our mortality, is our opportunity to fulfill our creation, to learn about Heavenly Father’s plan and to choose whether or not we will be obedient. Obedience to God’s plan, is essential to our happiness and our eternal progression.
The Book of Mormon prophet, King Benjamin, explained that, “the Lord God hath sent his holy prophets among all the children of men, to declare these things to every kindred, nation, and tongue, that thereby whosoever should believe [in] Christ, … the same might receive remission of their sins, and rejoice with exceedingly great joy” (Mosiah 3:13.)
He also taught his people: “Consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness” (Mosiah 2:41.)
God wants us to be happy. He has provided a road map that not only makes our final destination one of “never-ending happiness” but provides a journey that can be full of joy and happiness. But to decipher that road map, we must first study the doctrines of happiness—real happiness.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (or Mormons) teaches that critical to our knowledge of the plan of happiness is an understanding of the governing principle of agency. Mormons believe that God sent us to earth with the opportunity to choose for ourselves what we will believe, or whether or not to be obedient to God’s commands. In his talk “Answers to Life’s Questions,” M. Russell Ballard, a leader of the Mormon Church, wrote, “A person does not have to spend much time in the schoolroom of mortality to realize that Heavenly Father’s plan does not provide for blissful happiness at every step along our mortal journey. Life is filled with harsh realities that tug at the heart and tear away at the soul” (Ensign, May 1995, 22.)
Howard W. Hunter, then President of the Church, said:
“There is nothing sad or gloomy about a person who accepts the truths of the gospel and incorporates these principles in his daily living. God wants all of his children to be joyous and glad, and we can have this blessing if we are willing to keep his commandments and live by his word in all that we do” (in Conference Report, Sept./Oct. 1961, p. 108.)
When you come to understand our Heavenly Father’s plan, you will find many of life’s questions are answered in the gospel of Christ. The Apostle John said, “If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them” (John 13:17.)
I testify that God has provided us with all that we need to know about how to be happy in this life, despite the tragedies that abound. Search the scriptures and learn all you can about the great plan of happiness. I pray that as you come to understand these truths you will be compelled, as I was, to embrace them willingly. In doing so we will find an increase of happiness, a lasting happiness, and we will have peace. Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27.)
Such peace will breath contentment to our souls and we will find that we have chosen to be happy and we will be eternally blessed because of it.