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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Learning from Adversity

This life is one of learning and growing, striving to become better. We have challenges, difficulties, and downright bad things happen to us. However, these trials are not cause for doubt or despair. We are shaped and molded by our adversities, even when we are being good people and trying our best. Just as a piece of metal is heated intensely, whacked and molded into a useful tool, so are we as God's children. We have difficulties that, while we experience them, are painful and seemingly never-ending. But, it is this point of heat and challenge that helps us to become who we will be. We choose between progression and regression, becoming better or worse. The things that we choose to read and think about affect our actions, which lead us to teach others to act in the same way. This process is true for both goodness and evil; both progress from thoughts to actions and from actions to a way of life. When given a time of testing and hardship, instead of thinking "Why is this happening to me?", let us try to consider "Why is this happening to me?". This distinction lies in its purpose. One may ask what can be learned from a difficult time in order to improve, instead of wallowing in self-pity that life is not always easy. The difficulties of life are inevitable, they will happen at some point and to some extent no matter what you do to avoid them. Instead of worrying about things we cannot control, it would be much more beneficial and productive to gain something in our character by experiencing them with the correct attitude.

An example in the Book of Mormon of not dealing with adversity properly is found in Mormon 2:11-14. The Nephites at this point become almost completely wicked and unbelieving. The only remaining righteous person in their land was the prophet, Mormon. He recounts how the people, after experiencing much warfare, blood, and death among them, began to mourn and be sorrowful over their situation. Though they were sad about the hardships among their people, it was a worldly sadness in their suffering and pain. They did not regret their disobedience to the commandments or their wicked ways. Mormon clarifies: "...their sorrowing was not unto repentance, because of the goodness of God; but it was rather the sorrowing of the damned...and they did not come unto Jesus with broken hearts and contrite spirits, but they did curse God, and wish to die." This instance illustrates the fact that we can choose our actions, but we cannot decide the consequences of them. How we are internally affects our external lives. In order to gain peace and happiness externally, we must first gain that peace in ourselves and living our lives according to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

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