- Whenever tragedy occurs, we mourn and strive to bear one another’s burdens. We lament the things that will not be accomplished and the songs that will not be sung. Among the most frequently asked questions of Church leaders are, Why does a just God allow bad things to happen, especially to good people? Why are those who are righteous and in the Lord’s service not immune from such tragedies? While we do not know all the answers, we do know important principles that allow us to face tragedies with faith and confidence that there is a bright future planned for each of us. Some of the most important principles are:
- First, we have a Father in Heaven, who knows and loves us personally and understands our suffering perfectly.
- Second, His Son, Jesus Christ, is our Savior and Redeemer, whose Atonement not only provides for salvation and exaltation but also will compensate for all the unfairness of life.
- Third, the Father’s plan of happiness for His children includes not only a premortal and mortal life but also an eternal life as well, including a great and glorious reunion with those we have lost. All wrongs will be righted, and we will see with perfect clarity and faultless perspective and understanding.
When we do not have an eternal perspective, the tragedies in life are hard to understand.
- From the limited perspective of those who do not have knowledge, understanding, or faith in the Father’s plan—who look at the world only through the lens of mortality with its wars, violence, disease, and evil—this life can seem depressing, chaotic, unfair, and meaningless.
When we have an eternal perspective, we recognize that our journey started in the premortal life, continues through our earthly life, and exists with eternal life. This earthly experience is a small moment in a three part journey.
- Great blessings come to those who are faithful. We should be grateful for all the tender mercies that come into our lives. We are unaware of hosts of blessings that we receive from day to day. It is extremely important that we have a spirit of gratitude in our hearts. The scriptures are clear: those who are righteous, follow the Savior, and keep His commandments will prosper in the land. An essential element of prospering is having the Spirit in our lives.
Some challenges are the results of our actions while some happen to us. Whatever the issues in our life, the atonement can play a significant part in making things right. Although we will probably not be healed physically through the atonement, our spiritual lives can be healed here and throughout eternity.
- Some challenges come from disobedience to God’s laws. Health problems resulting from smoking, alcohol, and drug abuse are staggering. Incarceration in jails and prisons as a result of alcohol- and drug-related crime is also very high. The incidence of divorce because of infidelity is also significant. Many of these trials and tribulations could be avoided by obedience to God’s laws.
- Regardless of the trials we face in this life, the Savior’s Atonement provides lifeboats for everyone. For those who think the trials they face are unfair, the Atonement covers all of the unfairness of life.
Finally Elder Cook concludes by discussing that having an eternal perspective changes our view of some of the challenges and injustices that occur in life.
- When we look through the wide and clear lens of the gospel instead of the limited lens of mere mortal existence, we know of the great eternal reward promised by a loving Father in His plan.
I am so happy to look at the world through a different point of view than what exists here and now. Some of our greatest blessings were given to us before this life and we have in store for us many blessings after this life. While tragedy and heartache occur with very little understanding of why, we have the blessing of knowing that any injustices or missed opportunities are made up for through the atonement of Jesus Christ. If we keep the Savior in mind as we and others experience challenges in life, we will have a clearer and easier time experiencing the challenges of mortality.