Some of the trials we go through during mortality are unimaginably difficult. There’s a saying that we won’t be tried more than we can bear, but there’s a caveat…we can bear our trials with God’s help. Many trials are simply too hard to get through without it.
We can be grateful that we are increasing our closeness to and dependence upon Heavenly Father’s help. We can look forward to keeping the gifts He gives us during our trials—they can be ours eternally after the trial is over or even if it continues throughout mortality.
Here are five ways the Lord can help you through your next trial.
He can show you the way through the scriptures
Many people know the story of the Brother of Jared told in Ether 2 and 3. The Brother of Jared and his people were facing a huge trial. They had been smitten so that they could no longer remain in their homes and they were separated from their society by the confusion of languages. They became refugees. After they wandered in the wilderness and traveled rivers in barges, they were faced with crossing the sea (for a year!) in darkness. The Lord asked the Brother of Jared how he would provide light in the barges.
If you will go to Genesis 6:16…
A with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it.shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof;
…you will notice there is a footnote for the second word—”window.” The Hebrew word is “zohar” and it has been mistranslated. The proper meaning for “zohar” is “splendor” or “radiance,” and it was a shining stone or stones used to light the ark for Noah. The Brother of Jared either read this in the scriptures or learned it from oral traditions taught from generation to generation. By likening the scriptures to himself, the Brother of Jared brought clear stones to the Lord to turn into “zohars.”
The same thing can work for us. The Lord can lead us to the scriptures that will be the most helpful for us during our own, specific trial.
He can lead you to an increase in knowledge
This also worked for the Brother of Jared. He was worried about the holes on the tops and bottoms of their barges. He was afraid they would either asphyxiate because of lack of air or that the barges would fill up with water and they would drown. In response to this, the Lord gave the Brother of Jared a science lesson. Air takes up space. If the top opening is closed, water won’t come in the bottom; if the bottom is closed, air can come into the opening on top.
Another example is from Latter-day Saint history. During the mob attack at Haun’s Mill, Amanda Barnes Smith lost her husband and two sons, and another son, Alma suffered a terrible wound—the joint of his hip was shot away. “Flesh, hip bone, joint and all had been ploughed out…” (Amanda Smith’s account).
Amanda had no idea what to do, and in her desperation, cried out to God.
And then I was directed as by a voice speaking to me. The ashes of our fire was still smouldering. We had been burning the bark of the shag-bark hickory. I was directed to take those ashes and make a lye and put a cloth saturated with it right into the wound. It hurt, but little Alma was too near dead to heed it much. Again and again I saturated the cloth and put it into the hole from which the hip joint had been ploughed, and each time mashed flesh and splinters of bone came away with the cloth; and the wound became as white as chicken’s flesh.
“Having done as directed I again prayed to the Lord and was again instructed as distinctly as though a physician had been standing by speaking to me. Near by was a slippery-elm tree. From this I was told to make a slippery-elm poultice and fill the wound with it. My eldest boy was sent to get the slippery-elm from the roots, the poultice was made, and the wound, which took fully a quarter of a yard of linen to cover, so large was it, was properly dressed. It was then I found vent to my feelings in tears, and resigned myself to the anguish of the hour.”
Amanda was instructed to have Alma lie on his face for 5 weeks…”…until he was entirely recovered—a flexible gristle having grown in place of the missing joint and socket, which remains to this day a marvel to physicians. …It is now nearly forty years ago, but Alma has never been the least crippled during his life, and he has traveled quite a long period of the time as a missionary of the gospel and a living miracle of the power of God.”
In my own life, I’ve faced many health issues and have been lead to research that has helped me to either recover or carry on. The knowledge I gained continued to be useful and helpful for others.
He can give you peace in the midst of adversity
John 14:27 says, “I leave with you, my I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be , neither let it be afraid.”
In your adversity, there will be spiritual confusion, which is often more trying than financial problems, health problems, family strife, or betrayals. The world cannot give you peace in the midst of that, it can only give you advice to overcome the problem. Thing is, often there is no way around the problem. The only way to go is through it. As difficult as things may become, we can have peace that is unexplainable given the circumstances.
An April 2017 article in the Church News talks about the peace we can have through Christ. This article contains links to other valuable talks and articles about this unique gift of peace.
Near the end of his life, the Prophet Joseph Smith was surrounded by conflict, strife, and divisiveness. Yet—even as persecutions, false accusations, and cunning plots swirled around him—he said, just days before his martyrdom, “I am calm as a summer’s morning; I have a conscience void of offense towards God, and towards all men” (D&C 135:4). Amidst stifling strife and contention, he felt an inner peace that sustained him through adversity, even his own martyrdom. …
In a First Presidency message in October 1983, President Marion G. Romney, First Counselor in the First Presidency, explained that as a prelude to peace, the influence of Satan must be subjugated. “Earth life is a period of trial for every person of two mighty forces pulling in opposite directions,” President Romney said. “On the one hand is the power of Christ and His righteousness. On the other hand is Satan and his fellow travelers. Mankind, in the exercise of their God-given moral agency, must determine to travel in company with the one or the other. The reward for following the one is the fruit of the Spirit—peace. The reward for following the other is the works of the flesh—the antithesis of peace” (“The Prince of Peace,” Ensign, Oct. 1983). …
By paying the price of peace, by developing faith in Jesus Christ and living according to the principles He has emulated for us, we truly can find peace in any circumstance.
He can give you surprising strength
It’s interesting that as we go through a trial, we are also observing it and ourselves going through it. We are often surprised by our reactions to the challenge, but also by how we can rise to the circumstance, discovering strengths we didn’t know we had.
Again, we have an example in the Book of Mormon. In Mosiah 24, we see the people of Alma being persecuted by the Lamanites under Amulon.
…he exercised authority over them, and putupon them, and put over them.
And it came to pass that so great were their afflictions that they began to cry mightily to God.
And Amulon commanded them that they should stop their cries; and heguards over them to watch them, that whosoever should be found calling upon God should be put to death.
And Alma and his people did not raise their voices to the Lord their God, but did pour out theirto him; and he did know the of their hearts.
And itto 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 thewhich 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 for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their .
And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord didthem that they could bear up their with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with to all the will of the Lord (verses 9 – 15).
Elder L. Lionel Kendrick of the Seventy said in 2001, “…there can be blessings in the burdens we bear. As a result of these struggles, our souls are stretched and our spirits are strengthened. Our character becomes more Christlike as we are tried and tested. …If we follow the revealed eternal principles, we will gain strength during our struggles and will be blessed as we bear our burdens and deal with difficulties and overcome obstacles in our lives. If we are to gain the strength that we need, we must come to know the Savior and follow His counsel.”
One thing we often forget is that the Lord actually wants us to be too weak to get through our trials without Him. That’s part of the plan. “I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them” (Ether 12:27). It is through this process that we become purified unto eternal life.
He can take over
When the Brother of Jared was commanded to build barges to carry his people to the promised land, the Lord showed Him how to build the barges, how to prevent water flooding into them, and gave him light for the journey. But He never taught or counseled the Brother of Jared regarding the propulsion of the barges. God provided that part:
And it came to pass that the Lord God caused that there should be ablow upon the face of the waters, the promised land; and thus they were tossed upon the waves of the sea before the wind.
And it came to pass that the wind did never cease to blow towards the promised land while they were upon the waters; and thus they wereforth before the wind.
And they didpraises unto the Lord; yea, the brother of Jared did sing praises unto the Lord, and he did and praise the Lord all the day long; and when the night came, they did not cease to praise the Lord (Ether 6:5, 8, 9).
Think back over your past trials or consider the trial you are currently going through. You will find some aspect where the Lord has relieved you of responsibility and has taken over. Look forward to this happening when your next challenge shows up.
No injustice, no persecution, no trial, no sadness, no heartache, no suffering, no wound—however deep, however wide, however painful—will be excluded from the comfort, peace, and lasting hope of Him whose open arms and whose wounded hands will welcome us back into His presence.
How has the Lord helped you through your trials? Share in the comments.