- Frequently, our first reaction to hard things is “Why me?” Asking why, however, never takes away the hard thing. The Lord requires that we overcome challenges, and He has indicated “that all these things shall give [us] experience, and shall be for [our] good.”
Hard things are required of us for two reasons. One is our own circumstances and the other is by use of agency.
- Sometimes the Lord asks us to do a hard thing, and sometimes our challenges are created by our own or others’ use of agency.
Some of the things he mentions that can be hard are things that most people have had to face sometime in their life.
- Everyone faces hard things: the death of a loved one, divorce, a wayward child, illness, trials of faith, a lost job, or any other difficulty.
Brother Brough says that he was touched by watching Elder Maxwell suffer with leukemia and the great message that Elder Maxwell learned from the Lord through this trial.
- I was forever changed upon hearing these words from Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve, spoken in the midst of his struggle with leukemia. He said, “I was doing some pensive pondering and these 13 instructive and reassuring words came into my mind: ‘I have given you leukemia that you might teach my people with authenticity.’” He then went on to express how this experience had blessed him with “perspective about the great realities of eternity. … Such glimpses of eternity can help us to travel the next 100 yards, which may be very difficult.”
He gives us two example of how we can face hard things with faith.
- We must face hard things, first, by forgiving others and, second, by giving ourselves to Heavenly Father.
He speaks about a man who had lost everything including his family home in a lawsuit years earlier. As life moved forward, this man that lost everything was eventually called to be a Stake President and felt impressed to call the lawyer that had filed this lawsuit to be one of his counselors. He said that through the Lord's atonement, they were able to forgive and move forward in service to the Lord.
GIVING OURSELVES TO HEAVENLY FATHER
He speaks about his daughter struggling with her new life as her father was called to be a mission president in Guatemala. At the conclusion of their mission, he asked his daughter if she would serve a mission and she said that she had already served for the three years of his mission. Some time later she gave her full time commitment to the Lord and served a mission of her own. He says he was grateful for her sacrifice at multiple times in her life.
He quotes President Nelson from a recent devotional asking the youth of the church to do hard things that separate them from the world.
- In President Russell M. Nelson’s worldwide devotional for youth, he requested some hard things of the youth. President Nelson said: “My fifth invitation is for you to stand out; be different from the world. … The Lord needs you to look like, sound like, act like, and dress like a true disciple of Jesus Christ.” That can be a hard thing, yet I know you can do it—with joy.
Finally, he gives us an example of people that were going through difficult times but found joy in life despite their trials and difficulties. We can learn from these examples that eventhough we have trials, we can still have joy in our lives.
- We can always rejoice when we keep the commandments. Remember that during the wars and challenges faced during the time of Captain Moroni, “there never was a happier time among the people of Nephi.” We can and should find joy when we face hard things.
In my life, there are trials and problems that come from all around. But I have learned what Alma taught us, that despite our trials, we can have joy if we are living the commandments of God. I am grateful that we have trials in our lives that always seem to come with an outpouring of the Spirit to help us through them. We don't get to pick our trials but I have learned that in those hardest times, we would be wise to look for blessings that the Lord is sending to us to strengthen and lift us during those hard times. I have seen in to my life, and I have seen it in others. The Lord doesn't allow us to go through adversity alone. He is there and part of our journey is to find Him when it seems so impossible that He is there.