The Blessings of Trials

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“Then how blessed, indeed, someone will exclaim, must they be who are born to riches, who were born to titles, to dukedoms, earldoms, and lordships! How faithful must they have been who inherit these privileges and blessings! Whose life is one continuous summer, whose existence is as a sea without a ripple! Nay, I pray you, take no such view of it as that. This class that I have described are not the most blessed among men.

“When you would point to those who are the favored sons of God, and who enjoy the best and highest privileges in this life, you must take into account the object for which man came here. That object is to gain an experience. Hence, those are the most blessed who live in the midst of conditions that give the widest experience. The favored sons of God are not those furthest removed from trial, from sorrow, from affliction. It is the fate, apparently, of those whom God most loves that they suffer most, that they might gain the experience for which men came into this world. It is not the smooth seas and the favorable winds that make your best seamen. It is experience in stormy weather; it is the ocean lashed into a fury by the winds, until the fretted waves roll mountain high and make the “laboring bark climb hills of sea and duck again and again, as low as hell is from heaven.” It is when the lightning splits the clouds, when the masts are splintered, when the ropes are tangled, and all is confusion, that the sailor learns to control his fear and stand unmoved and calm in the midst of the threatening difficulties about him. Those are the experiences that make good sailors. And so the sorrows, the afflictions, the trials, the poverty, the imprisonment, the mobbings, the hatred of mankind are experiences that furnish men an opportunity to prove whether or not the material is in them to outride the storms of life, prove their right and title to that exaltation and glory which God has in reserve for the faithful.

“I take it that the life of Jesus Christ and these His words to the Prophet demonstrate the truth for which I was contending, that not those furthest removed from trials and afflictions are most blessed; but those who are called to pass through the thickest of afflictions are the most blessed; for the Son of Man hath passed through them all. O ye who are bowed down with sorrow, ye who are tried with adversity, torn perhaps from comfort and affluence to be plunged into perplexities and perchance into poverty, lift up your heads, I beseech you, and rejoice, for these things shall but minister to your experience! Do not regard them as judgments of God; they are not so in every case, I am sure; but look upon them as giving you an opportunity to develop your own nobility of character; as giving you an opportunity to stand the test, and prove yourselves worthy of the glory God intends to bestow upon the faithful.” (B.H. Roberts, Priesthood and Trials, in What Is Man?, Deseret News, March 9, 1895)

Far too many people believe that the good life is one of ease and consumption. This belief is a distraction. Learning comes of the often painful experiences associated with growth. Strength comes with struggle and God intends us to be stronger than we understand.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, ye are little children, and ye have not as yet understood how great blessings the Father hath in his own hands and prepared for you; And ye cannot bear all things now; nevertheless, be of good cheer, for I will lead you along. The kingdom is yours and the blessings thereof are yours, and the riches of eternity are yours. (Doctrine and Covenants 78:17-18)