Has anybody ever told you that the best of people go through the hardest trials? Why is that? It is because God is refining His people for a very special purpose. In a book titled, Be Not Afraid—Only Believe, written by Ted L. Gibbons, and published in 2009 by Cedar Fort, Inc. (pp 125-126), Gibbons shares what this special purpose is:
Testing, Trying, or Proving
Jesus is a problem solver. He can do anything. He can fix anything. But He is more than that. If His only concern was to keep us from pain and sorrow, He could institute a millennial condition among us now. In the Millennium, “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Revelation 21:4). But He is concerned with more than simply eliminating unhappiness. He is not exclusively concerned with ensuring that we are good. The Lord does want us to be happy. He does want us to be good. But He also wants us to be holy. He wants us to come to Him with personalities shaped by righteousness. He wants us to be transformed into beings worthy of “an eternal weight of glory” (2 Cor. 4:17). Therefore, He is also a teacher.
If you were to ask, “what did Jesus have as an occupation?” there is only one answer. He was a teacher. . . . Of some ninety times He is addressed in the four Gospels, sixty times He is called “Rabbi,” which means “teacher.” He is also referred to as “Master,” which comes from the Greek word didaskalos, defined as “one who teaches concerning the things of God and the duties of man.” This word is sometimes translated as “teacher,” at other times as “master.”1
He wants us to grow into Christ-like beings who can qualify for exaltation. We achieve that growth by responding appropriately to our individualized problems. The scriptures and prophets describe this kind of teaching with words such as testing, trying, or proving.
One of the supreme blessings of this testing is that we must go to Him for help, because there is nowhere else we can go for the kind of strength we will need to pass the test. No one else can give us the help He can, because no one else will be required to deal with the same problems we will face. Howard W. Hunter reminds us, “obviously, the personal burdens of life vary from person to person, but every one of us has them. Furthermore, each trial in life is tailored to the individual’s capacities and needs as known by a loving Father in Heaven.”2
God wants us to be like Him, that is characteristic of Him as our loving Heavenly Father. He knows that there must be an opposition in all things. And if we want to become like Him, enjoying all of the blessings He has, we have to also go through misery. I will use two illustrations to explain why. First, a quote by Elder Bruce C. Hafen:
He wept—he who had descended below all things, the Man of Sorrows, he who bore all our griefs. The height of his infinite capacity for joy is the inverse, mirror image of the depth of his capacity to bear our burdens. So it is with the enlarged caverns of feeling within our own hearts: as the sorrows of our lives carve and stretch those caverns, they expand our soul’s capacity for joy. Then, when the Man of Sorrows turns our bitter tastes to sweet, our joy—and his—will fill the widened chambers of our hearts with what the scriptures call ‘fulness.’ That is when we have accepted his Atonement and love with such completeness that his purpose for us is fully satisfied. Then will we know that we were made for this. Then will we know where, and why, and to whom, we belong. ‘For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness’ (Psalm 107:9) (The Belonging Heart, p. 315).
And secondly a scripture from the Book of Mormon:
For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my first-born in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility (2 Nephi 2:11).
I know and believe that God’s work is to “bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39). That is His greatest concern. He wants us to succeed, and I know He has provided the way through His Son, Jesus Christ—our Savior and Redeemer. Trials can make or break us, but if we choose to rely on God—they will make us to become all that we were meant to be, even like God. I invite you to apply the gift of the Atonement (which is the ability to be reconciled with God) from our Savior by learning more about His offering—meet with Mormon missionaries, they can teach you how.
- Boyd K. Packer, Teach Ye Diligently (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2004), 17.
- Howard W. Hunter: “Come unto Me,” Ensign, Nov. 1990, 18.
This article was written by Ashley Bell, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Ashley Bell is a 22-year old wife, mother, BYU graduate, and member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Ashley loves to run, cook, garden, read, and most of all spend time with family and friends.