Trust in God; Learn from Hard Times
Dinner Time Topics for Monday
Do We Trust Him? Hard Is Good
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
“In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
“Be not wise in thine own eyes” (Proverbs 3:5–7).
Do we trust His commandments to be for our good? His leaders, though imperfect, to lead us well? His promises to be sure? Do we trust that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ do know us and want to help us? Even in the midst of trials, challenges, and hard times, do we still trust Him?
Looking back, I learned some of the best lessons during the hardest times—whether as a youth, on a mission, starting a new career, striving to magnify my callings, raising a large family, or struggling to be self-reliant. It seems clear that hard is good!
Hard Is Good
The hard things in our lives should come as no surprise. One of the earliest covenants we make with the Lord is to live the law of sacrifice. Sacrifice, by definition, involves giving up something desirable. With experience we realize it is a small price to pay in relation to the blessings that follow. Under the direction of Joseph Smith, it was said that “a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation.”1
God the Father sacrificed His Only Begotten Son to the terrible suffering of the Atonement, including death by crucifixion. The scriptures say Jesus Christ learned “obedience by the things which he suffered” (Hebrews 5:8). He voluntarily suffered the agony of the Atonement. The Holy Ghost must be long-suffering to prompt, warn, and guide us, only to sometimes be ignored, misinterpreted, or forgotten.
Part of the Plan
Hard is part of the gospel plan.
“May we ever choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong.” Thomas S. Monson
In the world of nature, hard is part of the circle of life. It is hard for a baby chick to hatch out of that tough eggshell. But when someone tries to make it easier, the chick does not develop the strength necessary to live. In a similar way, the struggle of a butterfly to escape the cocoon strengthens it for the life it will live.
Through these examples, we see that hard is the constant! We all have challenges. The variable is our reaction to the hard.
Be Careful with Easy
Before this calling I was a financial consultant in Houston, Texas. Most of my work was with multimillionaires who owned their own businesses. Almost all of them had created their successful businesses from nothing through lots of hard work. The saddest thing for me was to hear some of them say that they wanted to make it easier for their children. They did not want their children to suffer as they had. In other words, they would deprive their children of the very thing that had made them successful.
Faith to Trust Him
The question “Do we trust Him?” may be better stated, “Do we have the faith to trust Him?” Do we have sufficient faith to trust that He will visit us in our afflictions (see Mosiah 24:14), that He will contend with those that contend with us (see Isaiah 49:25; 2 Nephi 6:17), and that He will consecrate our afflictions for our gain? (see 2 Nephi 2:2).
Will we exercise the faith necessary to keep His commandments so He can bless us both temporally and spiritually?
Fear and Discouragement are Tools of the Adversary
In whatever we do, we should not decide nor act out of a spirit of fear. Truly, “God hath not given us the spirit of fear” (2 Timothy 1:7). (Do you realize the idea of “fear not” is emphasized throughout the scriptures?) The Lord has taught me that discouragement and fear are tools of the adversary.
The Lord’s answer to hard times is to go forward with faith.
Each of us may have a different opinion about what is hard.
Regardless of the issue, hard can be good for those who will move forward with faith and trust the Lord and His plan.