Friday, March 13, 2009

Trials + Faith in Christ = Refinement

Dan and I had Stake Conference this past weekend. It was really inspiring and I have been pondering over many things this week, particularly what I can do to be a better person and grow spiritually. I will be gradually sharing thoughts I’ve had from conference here, including snippets of the talks {from my notes} that we were blessed to learn from.

The first one I would like to share has been my thoughts on afflictions, trials, hardship, whatever you choose to name it. A Brother Lewis gave his talk based on this topic. He asked us this simple question which has really had me thinking: “How do I deal with affliction in my life and does it bring me closer to my Savior?” This question really got me to thinking about trials. He said that our trials should be steps that take us closer to Christ, not the stumbling blocks that bring us down. This was so profound to me. I am not currently suffering from any major trials, just the little ones we are always going through, but I had never really thought about trials like that before. I’ve always known that trials are a way of life, kind of the reason for this life, so that we can learn and grow and become perfected in Christ. But trials are more than that. Trials are designed to bring us closer to Christ; they are designed to test our faith in Him and learn to trust in Him.

I know that for me, this is the lesson I keep having to learn over and over. I will think to myself, “I can do this. I know what I need to do,” but the honest truth is that most of the time I really don’t know what I need to do. I trick myself into believing that I can do something on my own. But that’s not what life is about. If we have a God in Heaven, and He loves us, and He’s blessed us with the gifts of prayer and the Holy Ghost, why in the world would He expect us to cover ground on our trials alone? I don’t believe that my Heavenly Father is a terrible, mean God; I believe that He is wise and compassionate and that He truly cares about me.

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin in his talk "Come what may, and Love it" from the October 2008 General Conference said, “. . . in spite of discouragement and adversity, those are happiest seem to have a way of learning from difficult times, becoming stronger, wiser, and happier as a result.” Isn’t that we all want? And, in a way, isn’t that what Brother Lewis is saying from above, that our trials should bring us closer to Christ? I know that I am happiest when I am close to God.

Another thing I’ve just recently really thought about is something a dear friend of mine mentioned in her blog. Amy talks about how our trials are tailored to fit us individually because something that may be really hard for me to deal with is probably not something that would be a big deal for you. I just love what she says and so {risking her fury with me for doing this without her permission} I’m going to share some of what she wrote:
“I guess we all have our own trials. I was reading in 1st Nephi, and I realized that everyone in Nephi's family has their own personal trials, along with generally being in the wilderness and such. Sariah has to deal with her sons not being with her, while they go into Jerusalem to get the plates from a man who's not known as the nicest guy. She's already sacrificed to go to the wilderness, and part of her thought [was] probably that at least she'd be able to be with her family. Lehi has to deal with his son being more humble than him, at a time when hunger had its own voice, and [with] the Lord speaking directly to his son instead of him. Sam and Joseph have to watch their brother Nephi being beaten up by Laman and Lemuel time and again.
”I don't think the Lord gives us more than we can handle on this earth, but I do think sometimes He puts us in the situations that are the hardest for us. I can remember thinking a few times, 'I'd almost rather have any other trial but this one' and wishing to trade lives with someone - but everyone has their own cross to bear.”
This is so profound to me! Thanks, Amy!

And now, this post has turned into an epistle, but I am really realizing that I don’t have to do anything by myself. God doesn’t expect me to and so I shouldn’t expect it of myself. And I’m discovering that when I turn my life over to God, He molds me into who I should be. He helps me walk my path, He makes me strong to carry my burdens, He opens my mind to learn what I need to learn, and suddenly, I can do it. No, He doesn’t take things away. He loves us too much. As Brother Lewis so adequately said at the end of his talk on Sunday, “He will help us through – not always out – of affliction if we exercise our faith in Christ.”

1 comment:

Wendy and Spencer said...


What a neat blog! Thanks for sharing such wonderful things!