I’ve put off writing this post for months. I probably wouldn’t be posting it today if I wasn’t due at a church meeting in 45 minutes and needed something I could write on fairly quickly.
I think I’ve put the idea off because, even though I’ve had tough times in my life, I know my life has been relatively easy. I’ve never gone to bed hungry unless I have chosen to do so, I’ve never had to beg on a street corner, I’ve never been held against my will at any time, and I have every reason to believe that tomorrow will be as good as (if not better than) today.
Even so, my life has had a few more bumps than a lot of my friends. I buried a child before I was 30. I was legally divorced before I was 31, but endured countless court battles, issues over (and with) children, unpaid child support, and other things that caused me distress for the next 10-15 years. I developed some self-defeating coping mechanisms to deal with life. I have felt completely alone and forgotten.
I’ve had to choose if I would remain faithful to the doctrines I have always said I believed, or if I would give up and quit. By the grace of the Savior, I held fast, and it has made all the difference in my life.
Because I held fast, I have learned a lot:
- God keeps his promises. In Malachi, we are promised that tithing will bring the blessings of heaven. I paid my tithing, even when I was worried that I would run out of money to pay the bills or put food on the table. I always had enough to take care of my needs. God’s promise has always held true in my life.
- Heavenly Father never gives up on us. I went through years of blaming God for my troubles, for not protecting me, and for not giving me better warnings so that I could avoid the heartache I was enduring at the time. I separated myself from God, but I was never pushed away. When I was ready to calm down and listen to the Spirit, there was always love and a needed lesson waiting for me.
- I was never asked to do more than I was able. I was pushed to the edge of what I thought I could endure, but I was always granted the ability to do what needed to be done. My world never came crashing down around me, and everything eventually turned out all right. Heavenly Father knew my heart, and He honored my desires, even when my ablities ran short.
- Faith is a power, and it can only grow when I take everything I know and put it into a calculated risk — like becoming a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints because it taught more of what I read in the Bible than any other church. Our faith becomes knowledge after we put it into action and find out that we did the right thing.
I’m sure there is a lot more that I could write about the topic, but this is enough for the week. I hope that, should you be enduring hearache, set backs, illness, or other trials, that you look to Heavenly Father and to His Son, Jesus Christ, and ask what you can learn from your experience. It won’t take the trial away, but having purpose makes it easier to endure.