Long before we accepted our temporal existence, we knew the journey would not be easy and that we would be tried over and over again to prove our worthiness for Eternal Life. Every one of us knew what we would personally have to work through, and yet, we all accepted. Often times, it’s hard to grasp that concept as we face trials that seem overwhelmingly impossible to conquer while only being able to see the earthly perspective.
Finding hope seems unreachable, and joy is ever so distant. We are bombarded with anger, frustration, fear and sadness to name a few of the many emotions. We tend to feel sorry for ourselves and ask, “Why me? What did I do to deserve this?”
As we know, trials come in a vast variety of experiences and are all different and personal. Luckily for us, we know that our Heavenly Father loves us and even though we feel we have been faced with the impossible. We know he would never expect us to deal with something we could not overcome. He knows us better than we know ourselves, and most importantly, he trusts us to follow his plan.
I have worked through many trials in my life and I can sincerely say I have not always done it with grace and love. As I continue to grow in my own spirituality, I have discovered some very powerful principles that have brought both hope and joy through my trials.
Change the focus and direction of your prayers. Rather than plead to your Heavenly Father to take away your trials and pain, ask him to provide you with the strength to fight and overcome. Avoid asking the question “Why me” and rather, “What are you trying to teach me? What do I need to learn?” It’s hard, I know! But when you open your heart in such a way, you become teachable and the Savior is standing by to teach and strengthen you.
Recognize the divine purpose of trials. We know this life is a short length of time where we are instructed to learn of the Atonement and it’s remarkable healing power. We are to find gratitude for our Savior and the selfless sacrifice he made on our behalf. As we find strength, forgiveness, and healing we become more refined with Christlike attributes that develop and imprint on our hearts. What a blessing it is to be given the opportunity to develop such virtuous traits.
Find ways to serve. President Gordon B. Hinckley said it perfectly, “The best medicine for despair is service.” I can surely testify of this truth. I cannot tell you how many notes I have written, gifts I have given, or promptings I have acted upon in the depths of personal struggle and sorrow. I can proclaim that shifting your attention and search for ways to lift others will ultimately bless you far more than you could ever imagine. There is so much beauty granted to the hearts of both the giver and the receiver when this is acted upon.
I love the hymn Come, Come, Ye Saints. In the second verse, it reads, “Why should we mourn, or think our lot is hard? Tis not so; all is right. Why should we think to earn a great reward if we now shun the fight?” These words speak so clearly to my soul. The time will come when we have the opportunity to sit down with the Savior and assess our life with him. How victorious it will be if we can stand before our Maker with our heads held high, knowing that we earned that great reward. In times of despair, we rose to the occasion and never shunned the fight. And he will say to us; “Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” -Matthew 25:23
You may not “deserve” your trials, but you deserve to learn of the Atonement. You deserve to become refined. You deserve to gain Christlike attributes. You deserve to learn how to love as the Savior loves and you deserve to become the women you were meant to be.
Author Natalie Jangula has been married to her husband Mike for 11 years and they have two children. As former Mrs. Idaho, Natalie has had many opportunities to get to know her community and serve the people around her. What a blessing that has been. She is now the Ambassador for the Idaho Potato Drop, New Year’s Celebration and is working on helping found a local nonprofit. In her spare time, she enjoys singing and playing piano, doing anything outdoors with her family and dutch oven cooking. She dreams of one day writing a series of children’s stories that encourage young reads to find ways to serve others.