Do your trials always seem to come out of left field? Here are six easy ways to see your personal hurricane coming:
You have recently said to yourself, “Everything is okay right now! This doesn’t seem so bad.”
Even if you just said it quietly to yourself, or just thought it, you can bet that the feeling of contentment means a storm cloud is looming on your horizon. As Steve Clark said, “there is no growth in the comfort zone and no comfort in the growth zone,” so if you’re feeling comfortable, recognize that “the trials of this earth…are inevitable experiences” (Hold on Thy Way, October 2015).
So, prepare yourself! Build yourself a wise man’s foundation, water your seed of faith, and put some extra oil in your lamp. This means forming scripture study, prayer, and church into regular habits.
Sitting in church you got the distinct feeling that you already know everything about what is going to be taught today.
Did you think that? Really? You were basically just asking for a lightning bolt to come down through the steeple and knock you off your pew.
Just kidding, but if you’re having a hard time getting answers out of church, it might be because you brought your analytical brain to church and left your heart behind. When you look inside your heart, you’ll find something you’re struggling to understand, probably related to something that is happening or has happened to you or a loved one.
I’ve found that I get the most out of church when I’m struggling to square my fears and doubts with the things I know are true, but I’m looking for answers in the right places. When the Spirit asked Nephi if he knew about the condescension (life and atonement) of Jesus Christ, Nephi said, “And I said unto him: I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things” (1 Nephi 11:17).
Nephi explored the unknown by putting his faith first and his questions after. If you’re feeling like you already know the meaning of all things, you will soon be faced with something that causes you to re-evaluate your understandings. If you use the resources your Heavenly Father has given to you, you will find answers that bring you peace.
Nothing freakishly coincidental has happened to you in a minute.
I’m not referencing that thing that happens when you search something like “how many licks does it take to eat a dum-dum?” and the next thing you know every ad you see on any of your devices is for candy. That’s called big-brother, and it’s the reality of the internet’s uncomfortably invasive algorithms.
Anyway, the things we think are coincidences are most often divine intervention on our behalf. So, if you haven’t had any coincidences that make your eyes water with gratitude recently, I have good news and bad news. The bad news is that you’re probably about to be tested. The good news is that if you watch for them, answers and assurances will show up in a series of distinct “coincidences.”
“Coincidence is not an appropriate word to describe the workings of an omniscient God. He does not do things by “coincidence” but instead by ‘divine design’” (Brim with Joy, Neal A. Maxwell).
You have been wanting something from God, but you feel like you haven’t gotten it yet.
This one is tricky. In my limited experience, sometimes Heavenly Father gives us trials as answers. This way of learning isn’t comfortable, but it’s all part of The Plan. Enduring a trial well is a refining process. As we battle through our difficulties, we find answers to questions we have carried for years, or we find new perspectives on old problems.
Keeping the commandments hasn’t felt like a sacrifice.
Some of our greatest blessings come to us from obedience and sacrifice. Remember the story of the young noble who asked Christ what more he could do? Remember how many times Christ told that men to give up everything they had and follow him? Often we strengthen our faith and get extraordinary blessings when we do what is right even when it is hard.
If you have felt like keeping the commandments is simple, easy even, your next big trial of sacrifice is probably already on its way.
You’ve been neglecting that one thing you know you’re supposed to do but just haven’t done yet.
This one is pretty obvious, and the logic here is simple. Our trials are uniquely tailored to us, and we’re commanded to do certain things for a reason. For example, if you’re skipping church, you’re on track for a trial that teaches you exactly how valuable church is to you personally.
Additionally, if you aren’t following the direction of the prophets, you are just making life harder for yourself. If it doesn’t seem hard now, just wait. The counsel we are given is for our protection! You can only develop faith in the prophets if you at least try what they teach.
Remember, even in the middle of the worst thing you have ever endured, Jesus Christ understands. He understands how you feel and how to help you. In the end, our trials will be for our good. Keep the faith!
Also, how can you tell adversity is coming? Share in the comments below!