Dec 06

Why We Have Adversity

Why do we have afflictions, trials, and difficulties? Couldn’t the Lord stop them if He wanted to? These and many other similar questions can sometimes go through our minds when we’re going through something difficult or painful.

Let’s turn to the scriptures to see what they say about this.

Mosiah 23:21-22 says:

21 Nevertheless the Lord seeth fit to chasten his people; yea, he trieth their patience and their faith.

22 Nevertheless—whosoever putteth his trust in him the same shall be lifted up at the last day. Yea, and thus it was with this people.

The Lord will chasten his people, but whoever will trust Him will be lifted up at the last day. That’s a comforting thought. Sometimes it can be extremely difficult to go through our difficulties and still trust in the Lord. However, that is what we must do. We must trust in the Lord. Try and look at it from the perspective of “What do I need to learn from this?” or “How can I grow because of this?”

One reason we have trials is because they refine us and make us into better people. Let’s read in Malachi 3:3, which says:

3 And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.

The Lord wants us to be the best that we can be. Trials and afflictions are some of the ways that he purifies us. Our trials can make us into better people if we will let them.

Some trials happen just because of the nature of the world that we are in. We get sick. Traffic accidents occur. These things are just part of our mortal experience.

Some afflictions happen because of bad decisions, either on our part or that of someone else. Peoples’ poor decisions or malicious actions can cause us harm or injury.

However, we must endure our afflictions in righteousness and in patience. We must get closer to the Lord when such things happen.

Let’s read in Helaman 5:12, which says:

12 And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.

If we build on a solid foundation, we will not fall when the devil attacks us. That foundation is Christ, our Redeemer. Let us build upon that rock and not fall.

Alma 36:3 tells us:

3 And now, O my son Helaman, behold, thou art in thy youth, and therefore, I beseech of thee that thou wilt hear my words and learn of me; for I do know that whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day.

If we do put our trust in God, he will support us in our trials. And we shall be lifted up at the last day.

Sometimes, it can be so very difficult to be patient and endure well our trials and afflictions. Nevertheless, if we endure it well, rely upon Christ, and remain faithful, the Lord will be with us and will lift us up at the last day.

See also:
D&C 101:4-5
D&C 136:31
https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/gospel-topics/adversity?lang=eng

Nov 21

Enduring to the End

Have you ever had to go through something hard? Some experience where there was no way around it, only through? Maybe something like a traffic jam. How well would you say that you endured to the end?

When we talk about enduring to the end, what does that refer to? What are we talking about?

Marvin J. Ashton described it this way:

“Greatness is best measured by how well an individual responds to the happenings in life that appear to be totally unfair, unreasonable, and undeserved. Sometimes we are inclined to put up with a situation rather than endure. To endure is to bear up under, to stand firm against, to suffer without yielding, to continue to be, or to exhibit the state or power of lasting.”

“If Thou Endure It Well,” in General Conference Report, October 1984

It’s not really just gritting your teeth and hanging in there until the ordeal is over. It is staying strong through it, standing up against it, not letting it affect you.

Hartman Rector, Jr. also had some enlightening thoughts on the meaning of this concept. He said:

“What does that mean? I believe it means basically three things.

One: We must continue to repent for the rest of our lives because we will still make mistakes, and we must go home clean or we can’t dwell with the Father and the Son (see D&C 84:74).

Two: We must continue to forgive others. If we do not forgive others, we cannot obtain forgiveness ourselves (see D&C 64:9–10). And three: Yes, we must be nice. If we’re not nice, I don’t think we’re going to make it. In other words, we must have charity, which is really love plus sacrifice. We must serve our fellowmen, women, and children, and if we do all else but we do not serve the poor, the needy, the downtrodden, the oppressed, the sick and afflicted, both temporally and spiritually, according to their wants, we cannot retain a remission of our sins from day to day.”

“Endure to the End in Charity,” in General Conference Report, October 1994

Where does enduring to the end fit into the Gospel? Dennis L. Largey explains:

“The doctrine of endurance to the end is taught twenty-two times in the Book of Mormon in teachings by Christ, an angel, and seven prophets. The doctrine spans the entire Book of Mormon time period and probably was taught in the plates of brass as well. The requirement of endurance to the end appears consistently in context with the first principles and ordinances of the gospel. One could easily make the case that the Book of Mormon teaches that there are five first principles and ordinances of the gospel, the fifth being enduring to the end.”

Dennis L. Largey, “Enduring to the End,” in Doctrines of the Book of Mormon: The 1991 Sperry Symposium, pp. 57-59

For a scriptural treatise on this topic, one could refer to the entire chapter of 2 Nephi 31. Such is beyond the scope of this article. However, we can refer to verses 15, 16, and 20, which say:

15 And I heard a voice from the Father, saying: Yea, the words of my Beloved are true and faithful. He that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved.

16 And now, my beloved brethren, I know by this that unless a man shall endure to the end, in following the example of the Son of the living God, he cannot be saved.

20 Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.

Again, this is a very small summary of how enduring to the end fits into the Gospel. The whole of 2 Nephi 31 should be studied to understand it on a deeper level.

Just given what we have discussed here, however, one can see its importance. So the next time you’re having a hard time, whether in a trial or challenge, do your best to endure it well. Not only that, but it is also something we will need to do diligently and continuously throughout the rest of our lives. We would do well to endure to the end in righteousness.

See also:

2 Nephi 9:24
3 Nephi 15:9
3 Nephi 27:6,19
D&C 63:20