- Do we trust His commandments to be for our good? His leaders, though imperfect, to lead us well? His promises to be sure? Do we trust that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ do know us and want to help us? Even in the midst of trials, challenges, and hard times, do we still trust Him?
He asks a great question that points out the way the Lord teaches us about trials. The Book of Mormon teaches us that we can sometimes learn more from our trials than our blessings.
- Why did it take two chapters for Nephi and his brothers to obtain the brass plates and only three verses to enlist Ishmael’s family to join them in the wilderness? (see 1 Nephi 3–4; 7:3–5). It seems the Lord wanted to strengthen Nephi through the struggle of obtaining the plates.
Doing hard things is not only part of our worldly life. The heavens sometime have hard choices to make as well. God and Jesus Christ are no strangers to making hard decisions.
- Members of the Godhead are no strangers to hard things. God the Father sacrificed His Only Begotten Son to the terrible suffering of the Atonement, including death by crucifixion. The scriptures say Jesus Christ learned “obedience by the things which he suffered.” He voluntarily suffered the agony of the Atonement. The Holy Ghost must be long-suffering to prompt, warn, and guide us, only to sometimes be ignored, misinterpreted, or forgotten.
Elder Ellis asks a series of questions that allow us to ponder where we are on the path of trusting the Lord.
- Do we have the faith to trust His promises regarding tithing that with 90 percent of our increase plus the Lord’s help, we are better off than with 100 percent on our own?
- Do we have sufficient faith to trust that He will visit us in our afflictions, that He will contend with those that contend with us, and that He will consecrate our afflictions for our gain?
- Will we exercise the faith necessary to keep His commandments so He can bless us both temporally and spiritually? And will we continue faithful to the end so that He can receive us into His presence?
Things that are hard are personal in nature. What one finds hard, another my find easy to handle. All of us must remember that we need to have faith and trust the Lord to handle our trials properly.
- Each of us may have a different opinion about what is hard. Some may consider it hard to pay tithing when finances are tight. Leaders sometimes find it difficult to expect the poor to pay tithing. It may be hard for some of us to go forward with faith to marry or to have a family. There are those who find it hard “to be content with [what] the Lord hath allotted unto [them].” It may be hard to be content with our current calling. Church discipline may seem very hard, but for some it marks the beginning of the true repentance process. Regardless of the issue, hard can be good for those who will move forward with faith and trust the Lord and His plan.
We all have hard things to do in life. I like how Elder Ellis points out that through the hard times, we are grow and learn from those experiences. It is through the hard times that we build character and find ourselves making choices to follow the Lord. The trust that we learn to have during hard times in our lives is sufficient to keep us on the right path. But it isn't easy and the trials we have are different for everyone. We have much to learn from our trials but we can be assured that the Lord wants to help us if we will trust in Him.