A ‘thing’ that has been on my brain over the past few years is the different ways people manage adversity. I’m talking about the serious stuff that inevitably hits most of us fortunate to be on this planet for an extended amount of time. This is mortality, after all. Things such as the loss of a loved one, facing a terminal illness, caring for a sick family member for an extended time, a devastating financial crisis, serious family relationship issues, a trial of faith, depression, etc. My point being is that for whatever reason, some of us go through what appears to be more challenging experiences here in mortality than others. What causes me to contemplate this seeming inequality is the ‘why.’ Why do similar conditions or life events cause one individual to experience it through positivity (a challenge to grow through) and another feel defeated (a victim of circumstances)?
My observation in seeing both of these approaches to adversity is that those who exercise faith, versus doubt, in God’s plan tend to fair better – regardless of the trial. I hope that I will be among those who chose to trust Heavenly Father “come what may” whatever that might be. I want to be just like those who I witness experience great adversity in their lives but are still happy and continue to find joy! This is why many of the talks in the most recent general conference touched my heart and brought me so much hope in this specific area. I felt that joy was one of the great themes throughout the conference.
Here are a few quotes from general conference talks that truly touched my heart and have increased my confidence that even in the most challenging experiences of mortality we can and should experience joy. We must never forget that there is nothing we experience in this life that is beyond the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ; there are no exceptions. To those who make and faithfully keep covenants, Joy is our inheritance.
By Elder D. Todd Christofferson
Elder Christofferson quoting President Nelson,
“The joy we feel has little to do with the circumstances of our lives and everything to do with the focus of our lives.
“When the focus of our lives is on God’s plan of salvation … and Jesus Christ and His gospel, we can feel joy regardless of what is happening —or not happening —in our lives. Joy comes from and because of Him. … For Latter-day Saints, Jesus Christ is joy!”
“Even when we are found faithfully keeping the commandments, there are trials and tragedies that could interrupt our joy. But as we strive to overcome these challenges with the Savior’s help, it preserves both the joy we feel now and the joy we anticipate. Christ reassured His disciples, “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” It is in turning to Him, obeying Him, binding ourselves to Him that trial and sorrow are turned to joy.”
By Elder L. Todd Budge
“The good news of the gospel is not the promise of a life free of sorrow and tribulation but a life full of purpose and meaning —a life where our sorrows and afflictions can be “swallowed up in the joy of Christ.”
“If we are faithful in keeping our covenants, we too will one day arrive safely home and will bow before the Lord and shed tears of joy for the multitude of His tender mercies in our lives, including the sorrows that made space for more joy.”
By Reyna I. Aburto
“Let us all remember that our Savior, Jesus Christ, “[has taken] upon him [our] infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know … how to succor [us] according to [our] infirmities.” He came “to bind up the brokenhearted, … to comfort all that mourn; … to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.”
By Elder Neil L. Andersen
“At times, little things can upend our spiritual balance. Please don’t allow your questions, the insults of others, faithless friends, or unfortunate mistakes and disappointments to turn you away from the sweet, pure, and soul-satisfying blessings that come from the precious fruit of the tree. Keep your eyes and your hearts centered on the Savior Jesus Christ and the eternal joy that comes only through Him.”
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