Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Giant Problems

Many of the trials that come in our lives are able to be solved by thinking, planning, and enduring, so that we can come out the other side with just a few scratches. Sometimes, though, we face giant problems which slow down our progress: divorce, debt, death, family anxieties, etc. (Just in case you don't know what this picture could be depicting,) A David and Goliath situation is what I call these giant problems. We have all had them, and there is no way to avoid having them in your life. As we get plopped into the world of depressing thoughts and little motivation (or as keeping with the theme of this blog, you might say you have a nick in your armor), we need to know how to get out of it. Think of David's situation mentioned above. He, a young man at the time with no armor and equipped with only a sling, was faced with a nine foot giant who was equipped with a lot of armor and a rather large spear. He was able to kill the Goliath with only a sling and a stone. He had a giant problem, literally, but he overcame his, just as we can overcome ours.

Enduring through any trial can be one of the most difficult things to ever do. One of the reasons we go through trials is to learn from them. We, of course, hardly ever see it as a learning experience, but they can be if we want them to. To learn from these trials, we must understand that it is not just about enduring, it is about enduring well.

Sometimes, we go through trials when we pray for something specific. In the past, I have prayed for more patience, expecting that I would just get blessed with it. Unfortunately for me, I had to figure out that shortly after I prayed for patience, I encountered a situation in which I had to exercise it. This can happen with anybody and with anything. This is not to discourage anyone from praying, but it is showing a example when we pray for something we want. We're not fans of being put in a situation in which we can't control it, but when we're in those situations, learn from it.

There are some trials that the Lord lets us go through. He wants us to learn very particular lessons. He doesn't put these trials in our way most of the time, but he doesn't warn us what we're coming up against, either. These trials are specifically for our learning, growing, and progression in this life. The apostle, Paul, in the New Testament, wrote about this very thing. He said, "Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous," (and he's absolutely right. But look at what he says next...) "...but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby." (Hebrews 12:11) In this verse, we are the ones getting exercised. The peaceable fruits of righteousness are the things that we learn from our trials. Here's a good example from President Kimball in a 1959 Relief Society Magazine, "Remember how Nephi was confronted with an impossible situation and could not get the plates. His brothers could not. They were unable to buy them. They could not bribe them out of the hands of Laban. They could not force their way in, and their lives were hanging on a thread. In spite of all of that, here comes one unarmed boy who walks into a city through a wall that could not be penetrated, into gates that could not be opened, into a garden that was impenetrable, into a vault that was locked, among soldiers who could not be bypassed, and he came out with his arms full of records to keep his posterity and others from perishing in unbelief. He did what was humanly impossible. But nothing is impossible to the Lord. Anytime we have him on our side, when he has called us and given us a commandment, then, if our energy and our efforts and our planning and our prayers are equal to the size of the calling, the work, of course, will be successfully completed." Nephi did not know what he was getting himself into. "And I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do," Nephi later writes (1 Nephi 4:6). This was a great lesson for him. His testimony grew stronger because of it.

These seemingly ridiculous trials that we go through from time to time are the things that help us grow the most and help us become the best people we all want to become. I know these lessons to be learned can be hard, but I can promise that they can be worth it. I rejoice in my trials because I have learned that it is through them that I grow the most. I know it will be the same for you, if you endure well.

Remember these two things: the words of President Hinckley, "In all of living have much of fun and laughter. Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured," and the scripture, "For with God nothing shall be impossible." (Luke 1:37)

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