We have been experiencing some unique and turbulent times over the past eight weeks with COVID-19 turning our lives upside down. A glimpse at the local or national news highlights not only the health pandemic but also the political divide, spiritual and temporal tumult of our day. We have many around us that are struggling with significant burdens that can be emotionally or physically difficult. These burdens can be quick or constant, light or heavy. No one is immune from the challenges of life, nor does personal righteousness remove us from experiencing difficulties that will stretch our character. Trials are an integral part of our experience here on earth.
President Eyring has suggested, “the very opportunity for us to face adversity is evidence of our Heavenly Father’s and Savior’s infinite love.” Our current trials help prepare us to meet our Heavenly Father, and in order to qualify for God’s greatest gift, exaltation, we must pass through this probationary state. Our Father in Heaven allows us to experience trials to prove whether we will be obedient to all things and to refine us to become better. Not only do we become refined, but through trials we come to know the Savior and our Heavenly Father better.
President Faust stated, “it is in the agonies of life that we tend to pay greater attention to the whisperings of the Spirit” which ultimately help us to know our Father in Heaven’s will and better understand his plan. When we face challenges in our lives, we can be comforted by the words of the Lord in Doctrine and Covenants 58:3-4 “Ye cannot behold with your natural eyes, for the present time, the design of your God concerning those things which shall come hereafter, and the glory which shall follow after much tribulation. For after much tribulation come the blessings. Wherefore the day cometh that ye shall be crowned with much glory; the hour is not yet, but is nigh at hand.”
I know that blessings come as we work to overcome our own trials. President Howard W. Hunter said “It is incumbent upon us to rejoice a little more and despair a little less, to give thanks for what we have and for the magnitude of God’s blessings. I promise you in the name of the Lord whose servant I am that God will always protect and care for his people…He will bless us as a people, he will bless us as individuals.”
The Lord desires that we respond to our challenges with increased dependence on Him, with increased learning, and with increased faith in the blessings that ultimately come from being tested in this life. It is my prayer that we can feel the Lord’s love as we work through our trials.