Trials of our Faith

Good afternoon Brothers and Sisters.  Dan and I moved into this ward on July 3rd of 2010.  I was raised in Salt Lake City, Utah, and Dan was raised in Northern Orange County, in La Palma, California.  We met in 1997 in the Laguna Niguel 2nd Singles Ward.  We were married in the San Diego temple on September 11, 1998.

I was asked to give a talk based on what Elder Alvarado said during the October 2019 General Conference, on “Trials of our Faith.”  I’m going to speak about trials, and having faith while going through trials, and patience.

Most of us know of trials, and are aware that we each have trials.  Some are prone to feel that their afflictions are punishment.  In his book entitled the Doctrine and Covenants Speaks, Roy Doxey wrote:  “The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that it is a false idea to believe that the saints will escape all the judgments—disease, pestilence, war, etc.—of the last days; consequently, it is an unhallowed principle to say that these adversities are due to transgression. …President Joseph F. Smith taught that it is a feeble thought to believe that the illness and affliction that come to us are attributable either to the mercy or the displeasure of God.”

Do all trials look the same for all?  NO!  There are so many types of trials, too many to name them all.  We are here to learn, and grow and to be tested. 

Does this mean that trials are easy to bear or are even comfortable?  NO!  Trials are hard!

In the October 2012 General Conference, in his talk “Trial of Your Faith”, Elder Neil L. Anderson stated “Like the intense fire that transforms iron into steel, as we remain faithful during the fiery trial of our faith, we are spiritually refined and strengthened”.

In his April 1979 General Conference talk on “The Refiner’s Fire”, Elder James E. Faust said: “Here then is a great truth. In the pain, the agony, and the heroic endeavors of life, we pass through a refiner’s fire, and the insignificant and the unimportant in our lives can melt away like dross and make our faith bright, intact, and strong. In this way the divine image can be mirrored from the soul. It is part of the purging toll exacted of some to become acquainted with God. In the agonies of life, we seem to listen better to the faint, godly whisperings of the Divine Shepherd.”

Heavenly Father does want us to be happy.  Although there are hours or days that are just too hard to bear at the moment.  I don’t think we should just go through a trial, or over a trial, and leave it behind.  I think we should embrace the trial and try to see what we’re supposed to learn from it, even if it’s hard to do.  In those times, when trials overwhelm us, cry to the Lord and tell him how you feel.  He wants to hear from you.  He is the Master Healer and can help you in your time of need.  He knows how to succor us and can send the healing balm we need to get through, embrace our trials.  Also, not all trials will be completed here on earth.

As Elder Jeffrey R. Holland states in a 1999 Conference talk “Some blessings come soon, some come late, and some don’t come until heaven; but for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, they come”.

I am going to give several examples of trials.  Many more do exist.  One example is, men or women may not get married and sealed to an eternal companion in this life.  Elder Alvarado shared: “Our family has a friend. You probably know someone like her, or perhaps you are like her. Always faithful, serves nobly in the Church, admired professionally, adored by her family, and while she anticipated marriage and children, she is single. ‘I made the decision,’ she said, ‘to put my … trust in Jesus Christ. Going to the temple frequently helps me keep a more eternal focus. It reminds me I am never alone. I have faith … that no … blessing will be withheld … as I … remain faithful to my covenants, including the law of chastity.’”

Another example is a parent seeing their child walk away from full activity or not being active at all, like in the Book of Mormon, with Lehi and his sons Lamen, and Lemuel.  They were taught by the same parents yet decided not to follow their parents and two younger brothers’ examples.  Lehi’s other son, Nephi, took a different approach.  Stating, in 1 Nephi 2:16:  “I, Nephi, being exceedingly young … and also having great desires to know of the mysteries of God, wherefore, I did cry unto the Lord; and behold he did visit me, and did soften my heart that I did believe all the words which had been spoken by my father; wherefore, I did not rebel against him like unto my brothers”.  Laman and Lemuel almost sent their parents to an early grave, due to their disobedience.

One example that Elder Alvarado gave in his talk was: “When I was a child, Frank Talley, a member of the Church, offered to help my family fly from Puerto Rico to Salt Lake City so we could be sealed in the temple, but soon obstacles began to appear. One of my sisters, Marivid, became ill. Unsettled, my parents prayed about what to do and still felt prompted to make the journey. They trusted that as they faithfully followed the Lord’s prompting, our family would be watched over and blessed—and we were.”

A final example that hits home is not being able to have children.  In the Journal of Discourses,

Brigham Young said, “Let me here say a word to console the feelings … of all who belong to this Church. Many of the sisters grieve because they are not blessed with offspring. You will see the time when you will have millions of children around you. If you are faithful to your covenants, you will be mothers of nations. … and when you have assisted in peopling one earth, there are millions of earths still in the course of creation. And when they have endured a thousand million times longer than this earth, it is only as it were the beginning of your creations. Be faithful, and if you are not blest with children in this time, you will be hereafter.”  So, for me I will need to endure and be faithful, waiting till the wonderful day in Heaven.  If I am faithful and obedient to make it to the Celestial Kingdom, there I can have Celestial Children, that I did not have here on Earth. 

Paul understood this perfectly. When referring to the Savior, in Hebrews 5:8 – 9, he said:  “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.”

In Doctrine and Covenants 121:2, Joseph Smith’s trials in Liberty Jail caused even the prophet of God to wonder, “How long shall thy hand be stayed, and thine eye, yea thy pure eye, behold from the eternal heavens the wrongs of thy people and of thy servants, and thine ear be penetrated with their cries?”

In the Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young, he taught “when something came up which he could not comprehend fully, he would pray to the Lord, “Give me patience to wait until I can understand it for myself.” And then Brigham would continue to pray until he could comprehend it.

What helps us to be patient during trials?  Not every trial is going to require the same amount of patience.  During the April 2010 General Conference, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf talked about “Continue in Patience”.  He said, “The children of Israel waited 40 years in the wilderness before they could enter the promised land. Jacob waited 7 long years for Rachel. The Jews waited 70 years in Babylon before they could return to rebuild the temple. The Nephites waited for a sign of Christ’s birth, even knowing that if the sign did not come, they would perish.”

I believe it is through remembering what President Uchtdorf said: “There is an important concept here: patience is not passive resignation, nor is it failing to act because of our fears. Patience means active waiting and enduring. It means staying with something and doing all that we can—working, hoping, and exercising faith; bearing hardship with fortitude, even when the desires of our hearts are delayed. Patience is not simply enduring; it is enduring well!

Impatience, on the other hand, is a symptom of selfishness. It is a trait of the self-absorbed. It arises from the all-too-prevalent condition called “center of the universe” syndrome, which leads people to believe that the world revolves around them and that all others are just supporting cast in the grand theater of mortality in which only they have the starring role.

In each case, Heavenly Father has a purpose in requiring that His children wait.  Every one of us is called to wait in our own way. We wait for answers to prayers. We wait for things which at the time may appear so right and so good to us that we can’t possibly imagine why Heavenly Father would delay the answer.”

President Uchtdorf continues: “We must learn that in the Lord’s plan, our understanding comes “line upon line, precept upon precept.  In short, knowledge and understanding come at the price of patience.  Often the deep valleys of our present will be understood only by looking back on them from the mountains of our future experience.  Often, we can’t see the Lord’s hand in our lives until long after trials have passed. Often the most difficult times of our lives are essential building blocks that form the foundation of our character and pave the way to future opportunity, understanding, and happiness.”

In conclusion, I’ve talked about trials, and having faith while going through trials, and patience.  I would like to bear my testimony that even though trials are hard, sometimes we need time to regroup.  We can do that by crying unto the Lord and keeping the faith.  Take the time to regroup and then get back up and endure to the end.  I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

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