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The Lord tries His people

posted Mar 03, 2017 21:38:18 by David.Clark
I know that I recently started a thread on the Lord's chastening; however, as we know, the Lord also tries His people. The difference is that chastening occurs as a result of sin, but trials come to the Lord's covenant-keeping people to test their faith.

To illustrate, President Eyring noted during the October 2016 general conference, the following about trials:
I have felt that transformation of growing gratitude for blessings and a love of God increasing across the Church. It seems to accelerate among members of the Church in times and places where there are trials of their faith, where they have to plead to God for help to even carry on.

The times we will pass through will have in them hard trials, as they did for the people of Alma under the cruel Amulon, who put burdens on their backs too heavy for them to bear:

“And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord came to them in their afflictions, saying: Lift up your heads and be of good comfort, for I know of the covenant which ye have made unto me; and I will covenant with my people and deliver them out of bondage.

“And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions.

“And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord."

You and I are witnesses that whenever we have kept our covenants with God, especially when it was hard, He has heard our prayers of thanks for what He has already done for us and has answered our prayer for strength to endure faithfully. And more than once He has made us cheerful as well as strong.
As a side note, it's interesting that he would use this as the example as applied to the saints in our day. Is there application for us?

More importantly, it can be stated no more plainly ... the Lord will try us, perhaps even with bondage, but He will not forget those who remain true and faithful to their covenants. In fact, He will be there in the midst of the affliction, will carry the burden for us, and will deliver us if we let Him by being faithful in all things!! And through it all, we give thanks, are comforted, and have joy. The name of the game is cheerful submission! 😁
[Last edited Mar 03, 2017 22:58:53]
Formerly known as Alabama LDS
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14 replies
MelClaridge said Mar 03, 2017 22:49:47
Great talk and thoughts. My favorite: "submit cheerfully." That is the key.
LoryVanValkenbur said Mar 04, 2017 05:12:21
Great post. In my studies regarding opposition I have come to understand the importance of being careful what I pray for. An example : During the Vietnam War there was a young man from the United States who was kept prisoner in a camp. The conditions were diplorable and the reputation of this particular camp was well known. This young man pleaded with the Lord to help him get moved from the camp. He prayed fervently for many months. Finally, in answer to his faithful prayers he was moved to another POW camp. He was very grateful for the move, and was in this camp for several years until the war ended. Upon arriving home he learned that if he would have stayed in the first camp he had struggled with and prayed to leave, that he would have been sent home three years sooner.

I have thought about this a lot over the years. What should he have prayed for instead? I'm reminded of the story of Nephi when bound and tortured by his brothers. He didn't pray for his circumstances to change, but rather thst he could change his circumstances. I really think that seeking the Lord's help to learn in our trials, and have the strength to overcome is the more righteous approach. Too often I found myself over the years, especially as a mom, wanting challenges to be different, even my children to be different. I have been taught, by experience, that I could have gleaned so much more wisdom if I would have prayed and sought counsel other than just making trials disappear. My whole approach and attitude regarding trials has changed. I have come to better understand the purpose of tribulations. It's been a game changer for me, and one that I can win with the Lord's help.
[Last edited Mar 04, 2017 05:13:20]
David.Clark said Mar 04, 2017 06:06:23
Lory, great insights! Thank you for sharing what you've learned through your experience and learning.
Formerly known as Alabama LDS
JulieK said Mar 04, 2017 06:12:58
David -- great talk!

Mel - that's my favorite phrase too -- they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord.

Lory, awesome comments as always. I too have been learning to be "satisfied" with that which the Lord seems fit to bless me. Having gratitude is so powerful -- especially in trials.
ElishaJones said Mar 05, 2017 04:42:08
HeatherHerrmann said Mar 05, 2017 05:15:39
Elisha, I went to the author's blog (of that article), where it continued, and found these continuing gems:

"When people tell you that you have some important lesson to learn from your suffering, politely tell them, “No, I have something important to teach.” Teach people, through your grace and dignity in suffering, what it means to endure. Teach them what it means to persevere. Teach them what it really means to have hope. Teach them, by example, that you can be happy in suffering. Teach them how to love.

Teach them that you stand with Job, who said, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him.” (Job 13:15.) Teach them and show them how to be like Paul—who was whipped, beaten, stoned, shipwrecked, robbed, betrayed, starved, sick and imprisoned (2 Corinthians 11:23-33) but said, “I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (Philippians 4:11-13.)

“Love your way out of the storm.”
Being grounded in Christ simply means living his mandate to love others. Love your way out of the storm. Love others. Stop thinking about yourself and your problems. Stop focusing on what you can’t do and just do what you can for others. Love your way out of the storm. As I have said repeatedly, if you live your life with love, you live your life with God, for God is love. This is how you walk with God daily. This is how you find his presence in his seeming absence. This walk with God is the stabilizing factor of life. It’s what brings order to a chaotic world that is spinning out of control."

I like how she thinks, although in a way she's contradictinng herself. The meaning behind things may be to teach others.
Through the strength of the Lord I can do all things.
AliciaBlickfeldt said Mar 05, 2017 06:03:52
Heather, I believe you are a beautiful example of this very thing. ♡
RyanAllen said Mar 05, 2017 06:04:40
I also read this article earlier tonight. I enjoyed some of the insights, but didn't completely agree. I think many difficult things we experience are the result of our agency or the agency of someone else, but not all that happens to us is random. It may be true that God does not orchestrate every detail of our lives, but he is involved and some things occur at certain times to teach or try us. The author's assertion seems to be that God is merely reactive in blessing us after we have experienced the tumults of living in a Telestial world. I think He has much more to do with us as individuals than that.
HeatherHerrmann said Mar 05, 2017 07:45:50
Oh Ryan, I definitely think that He is involved and some things occur at certain times to teach and try us. I meant in response to her assertion that the meaning isn't to learn but to teach, she is actually claiming there IS a reason for the suffering even if it is to learn to endure so that you CAN teach others to endure to forget self, to love anyway. That is how she contradicts herself. In that regard, we are being tried to see if we will endure, if we will draw closer to Father, if we will love regardless of the circumstances. Whether Father orchestrated it, allowed us or others to do it, or stuff just happened.

I know at one point in my career as a National Corporate Marketing & Sales Executive for a large corporation, I was working 100+ hours per week and flying all over the country Monday - Friday, while trying to raise my 3 youngest daughters as a single mom - who were all teenagers. (That should signal problems immediately.) I was pretty prideful about where I had gotten myself in my profession (I know the Lord got me there actually, in spite of myself), even though my stress level was off the charts. I knew that I could not maintain that functioning level for much longer, and knew that I needed to look for a different job without so much travel and stress. My health was suffering, and my daughters were suffering. Months went by and I never found time to even look into something else. Finally one winter evening, while on the job, one bad fall in a snow covered icy parking lot literally brought me to my knees - and blew out both knees, requiring 4 knee surgeries over the next 9 months. This all definitely slowed things down for me, and ultimately, resulted in my not being able to accept a mandatory relocation the same month I was to have an ACL repair done. I would have had to sell my house, move, have the surgery, relocate my daughters' in school, etc., and it was all just too much. So I elected to take a severence package, which allowed me time to look for another job. But I had to go through a lot of pain in the meantime. I sheepishly say that since I ignored the Spirit's promptings, the Lord brought me to my knees. Did HE cause me to slip in that parking lot? Probably not, but He didn't protect me either when I'd worn myself out too much either. Was it just bad luck - I stepped on a piece of sheer ice covered with snow, and it just happened? I think there was more to it than that. I honestly believe the Lord was teaching me something here.

Sometimes we don't learn the first time. I promised myself I would never get so wound up in my work that I'd let myself get into that kind of situation ever again. Fast forward to 2005. I was the Manager of an Orthotics and Prosthetics Clinic in Honolulu. We were short staffed and desperately trying to hire Customer Service Respresentatives and an MA. I was filling in as I could, and ended up doing much of the Office Administrative work at night. Lo and behold, the hours kept adding up until there I was working over 100 hours a week again, and my health started to pay again. Luckily, I was single still, and my children were all grown by now and on their own. Still, the Spirit told me again that I couldn't continue to do this job, but I couldn't find time to look for something else. It's interesting how luring "being irreplaceable" can be. What a trap that is! Again,time went on, and another fall occurred, bringing me to my knees again. This time, I broke my right ankle - both bones, tore that ACL in the knee, and tore my left rotator cuff. I spent several days in the hospital, then left to go home in a cast from my toes up to my hip. I spent most of that year either in bed, in a wheelchair, or on crutches, and had 3 surgeries. During that year, I learned to listen with my whole heart and soul to the Spirit. And I learned to never ignore it again.

Yes, I do believe the Lord tries us. Especially if we have been pig-headedly stubborn and ignored his promptings in the past. He has blessed me so very abundantly, so much more than I can ever say. Some of his biggest blessings have been these times of trial when I have drawn closer to the Father, when I have learned to rely on him more, learned to trust in His plan for me above my own, and learned to give up my own control efforts.
[Last edited Mar 09, 2017 09:42:03]
Through the strength of the Lord I can do all things.
Mary-Turton said Mar 05, 2017 08:42:05
I am amazed at the recent NFP posts on trials and faith and personal experiences and even chastening. They are giving me so much help to face a current trial, that I hope to do better in and be faithful and positive in, moving forward, day by day. Thanks everyone, so very much!
Moses 7:18

18 And the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them.
David.Clark said Mar 05, 2017 08:57:50
Elisha, thank you for the link. Reading the blog has given me a lot to think about!!

Contrary to what the author says, there is no doubt that God, as part of His plan, gives us adversity. What happened to those wonderful, recent converts Alma led out of the land of Nephi illustrates this point. They were made slaves. Some might question whether a loving God would permit His righteous people to be enslaved. The Book of Mormon says that God did allow this to happen to try their faith.

Here are some of my thoughts...

Adversity can come from (1) God, (2) consequences of our behavior (agency), (3) consequences of the behavior(agency) of others, and (4) the mere fact that we live in a mortal existence in which there's death, sickness, injury, disease, natural disasters, etc.

I'm not suggesting that God is in Heaven orchestrating every single challenge we experience. But, He did send us into a mortal experience in which both He and we knew that a lot of really, really bad things were going to happen. We chose to come and we were excited about coming because we knew where this life would lead us.

I wonder if our problem in this life is that we are too short-sighted in our perspective on things. Our perspective is limited to what we can experience from birth to death. Because of the veil, having an eternal perspective is very difficult (and impossible without the Spirit).

Due to this limited perspective, it is challenging to understand the suffering we see and experience ourselves. Why would a loving God send one of His spirit children to a body that was severely disabled or to a mom who smoked meth throughout the pregnancy or the limitless other tragic circumstances this life has to offer?

If this life were the pinnacle, all that there was to be, then I don't believe a loving God would do that. But, this life is the day of our probation; the time to prepare to meet God. So, we were sent here to an existence in which, by its very design, will try and test us in every way. So, everything does happen for a reason, which is to give us the experience necessary for us to prove ourselves faithful (i.e., submissive) in all things. Of course God isn't happy when a child is abused or some other tragedy takes place. But, His eye is on something more for us that we can't comprehend now.

We look at our challenges as a bad thing. In reality, each bad thing that happens in our lives is a blessing because it is an invitation to follow Christ and grow closer to Him. Again, im not suggesting that God is in Heaven proactively causing problems. But, for example, if someone yells at us or otherwise mistreats us, instead of viewing it as a problem, we can be thankful in our hearts for yet another opportunity to practice living the Celestial Law and demonstrate to the Lord that we accept His invitation to follow Him.

Regarding the author, it sounds like he is going through an extremely difficult experience with his health. He describes living with a feeding tube and not being able to eat a normal meal for three years. In some of the comments, he describes becoming very angry and cursing God. It sounds like people must have told him that "everything happens for a reason," and "the Lord has something important for you to learn." It's clear that those messages make him angry (and appears to be the spark that led him to write his blog). He says that he cannot believe that a good and just God would deprive him of food for three years to be sure that he'd learned his lesson.

I do not know this man and I don't presume to understand the difficulties he has experienced. I certainly can't begin to speculate why he has this trial in his life. It appears that he may be using his blog as a means of working through his feelings. I certainly give him my best.

Regarding trials, I look to what Joseph Smith said:

"You will have all kinds of trials to pass through. And it is quite as necessary for you to be tried as it was for Abraham and other men of God. . . . God will feel after you, and he will take hold of you and wrench your very heart strings, and if you cannot stand it you will not be fit for an inheritance in the Celestial Kingdom of God."

If God saw fit for me to live on this earth for 100 years in the worst pain and affliction possible, it is my opportunity to learn to, with thanksgiving in my heart, cheerfully submit to my Father's will. And, IF that be the path I must follow in order to give me the experience necessary for me to be exalted, then I say PRAISE GOD above for His infinite grace and mercy! Now, that is a just and loving God for I would rather live a life in hell and gain eternal life rather than live a life as a king and an eternity in hell (This last part is coming off rather bluntly. I don't mean to be abrasive 😔. I just don't know how else to put it. It comes out with more sincerity in person than the written words. So, please envision President Eyring saying it in the tone that he has when he gets a little choked up in conference and then you will have an idea of how I meant it🙂).
[Last edited Mar 05, 2017 09:10:10]
Formerly known as Alabama LDS
David.Clark said Mar 05, 2017 14:43:41
Heather, I pray you and your family are doing as well as possible. All of y'all have been on my mind and in my prayers. I am so thankful that you have been able to contribute to the forum again. Your insights have truly been missed! From what I have seen here, you are certainly the epitome of everything good the Lord is trying to teach us through adversity!

Formerly known as Alabama LDS
HelenPirtle said Mar 05, 2017 16:01:41
Heather, what a powerful example and testimony that the Lord does not "cause" all bad things that happen to us, but those experiences certainly are there to help nudge and shape us if we will allow them to do so.

I too have had an experience where both my husband and sixteen year old son were taken in an automobile accident. The Lord did not cause the accident, neither did he prevent it. But through that experience I responded to promptings and doors opened that would probably not have been seen if life had gone on as usual. Opportunities came my way for further growth and I drew nearer to my Father in Heaven because of that experience.
David.Clark said Mar 08, 2017 21:28:46
Elder Evan A. Schmutz, in this past conference, gave an amazing talk about the trials in our lives. Here are just a few quotes:
When we view the difficult experiences of life through the lens of faith in Christ, we are able to see that there can be godly purpose in our suffering. The faithful can experience the truth of Peter’s seemingly contradictory counsel. He wrote, “If ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye.” As we apply our “hearts to understanding,” we can increase in our ability to both endure our trials well and learn from--and be refined by--them.
Many of us have pleaded with God to remove the cause of our suffering, and when the relief we seek has not come, we have been tempted to think He is not listening. I testify that, even in those moments, He hears our prayers, has a reason for allowing our afflictions to continue, and will help us bear them.
I have observed in the lives and examples of others that exercising strong and abiding faith in Jesus Christ and His promises provides the sure hope of better things to come. This sure hope steadies us, bringing the strength and power we need in order to endure. When we can link our suffering to an assurance of purpose in our mortality and more specifically to the reward awaiting us in heavenly places, our faith in Christ increases and we receive comfort to our souls.
Formerly known as Alabama LDS
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