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Since trials provide us with opportunities for growth, is it a good idea, or not a good idea, to ask God to bless us with a trial? Or do the ordinary circumstances of everyday life present us with enough growth opportunities, without the need to ask for more? What do you think are the good and bad points of asking God to bless us with a trial?

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5 minutes ago, askandanswer said:

Since trials provide us with opportunities for growth, is it a good idea, or not a good idea, to ask God to bless us with a trial? Or do the ordinary circumstances of everyday life present us with enough growth opportunities, without the need to ask for more? What do you think are the good and bad points of asking God to bless us with a trial?

Let us not put the cart (trial) before the horse (opportunities for growth).  For example we should pray for wisdom and accept the trials of wisdom that we may obtain wisdom.  It makes no sense to pray for a trial with no sense or hope of what it may bring.

 

The Traveler

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7 hours ago, askandanswer said:

Since trials provide us with opportunities for growth, is it a good idea, or not a good idea, to ask God to bless us with a trial? Or do the ordinary circumstances of everyday life present us with enough growth opportunities, without the need to ask for more? What do you think are the good and bad points of asking God to bless us with a trial?

I believe we have to take the trials as they come. Indeed there are times when a regular day can give us a chance to improve our faith and life. I believe that we receive challenges when the lord seeks us ready for them.

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17 hours ago, Traveler said:

It makes no sense to pray for a trial with no sense or hope of what it may bring.

I'm happy to leave the nature of the trial up to God, knowing that He knows what I need better than I do and feeling confident in His abilty to design and deliver a trial that will help me meet those needs if I handle the trial well.

I'm not sure how knowing what the nature of the trial will be impacts on its utility.

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21 hours ago, askandanswer said:

Since trials provide us with opportunities for growth, is it a good idea, or not a good idea, to ask God to bless us with a trial? Or do the ordinary circumstances of everyday life present us with enough growth opportunities, without the need to ask for more? What do you think are the good and bad points of asking God to bless us with a trial?

Never a good idea in my opinion. Better to work on recognizing His hand and fully enjoying the blessings, comfort, strengthening, etc. while we have them since trials will surely follow in their due time and these skills will prove most helpful.

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Trials are not required for growth. Focus on growing and let God determine how best to supplement your efforts. We can humble ourselves without being compelled to be humble and we can exercise greater faith by proactively choosing to be more obedient. Suffering definitely has its place in our mortal experience but I don't think God deals it out lightly but rather uses great wisdom, more than you and I possess so I am content to leave that matter in his hands. 

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4 hours ago, askandanswer said:

I'm happy to leave the nature of the trial up to God, knowing that He knows what I need better than I do and feeling confident in His abilty to design and deliver a trial that will help me meet those needs if I handle the trial well.

I'm not sure how knowing what the nature of the trial will be impacts on its utility.

I am of a rather different mind, if you do not mind my explanation.  I have become rather keen on the eternal principle of agency and divine covenants.  In short I speculate that in the pre-existence that nothing was planned by G-d without our knowledge and full complicity.   Part of our agency and divine covenants included a vale of forgetfulness during our mortal experience and as such; I have concluded that nothing in this life can or will happen to which we were ignorant of while all things were planned with our full approval in the pre-existence.

I am of the mind that there is no reason to "blame" G-d for anything concerning this life but rather we need to recognize and have faith - not only in the wisdom of G-d but the principle of liberty and freedom to which we are appointed as his covenant children.  I believe we are and will be what we have determined by our agency and endless time to be what we currently are and to become - and that we ought to respect that right of covenant to all of G-d's children - especially those that we personally encounter during our mortal experience to follow whatever path or journey they have determined - including those choices that seem of lessor eternal importance or value to ourselves.

 

The Traveler

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49 minutes ago, laronius said:

Trials are not required for growth. Focus on growing and let God determine how best to supplement your efforts. We can humble ourselves without being compelled to be humble and we can exercise greater faith by proactively choosing to be more obedient. Suffering definitely has its place in our mortal experience but I don't think God deals it out lightly but rather uses great wisdom, more than you and I possess so I am content to leave that matter in his hands. 

I may disagree a little - because I have found for myself there is no greater teacher than experience.  And the more I invest and practice anything - the better I become and can accomplish from any skill - even spiritual things like understanding scripture and prayer.  I have also found that the more I am challenged and become somewhat desperate - the more I pay attention and can learn.

 

The Traveler

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Nine years ago, President Eyring offered this thought:

I heard President Spencer W. Kimball, in a session of conference, ask that God would give him mountains to climb. He said: “There are great challenges ahead of us, giant opportunities to be met. I welcome that exciting prospect and feel to say to the Lord, humbly, ‘Give me this mountain,’ give me these challenges.”1

My heart was stirred, knowing, as I did, some of the challenges and adversity he had already faced. I felt a desire to be more like him, a valiant servant of God. So one night I prayed for a test to prove my courage. I can remember it vividly. In the evening I knelt in my bedroom with a faith that seemed almost to fill my heart to bursting.

Within a day or two my prayer was answered. The hardest trial of my life [up to that time] surprised and humbled me. It provided me a twofold lesson. First, I had clear proof that God heard and answered my prayer of faith. But second, I began a tutorial that still goes on to learn about why I felt with such confidence that night that a great blessing could come from adversity to more than compensate for any cost.

In our most recent General Conference, President Eyring offered this:

Now, even with such blessings promised through tribulation, we do not seek tribulation. In the mortal experience, we will have ample opportunity to prove ourselves, to pass tests hard enough to become ever more like the Savior and our Heavenly Father.

President Eyring often speaks of enduring trials well. In the above examples, perhaps his opinion changed in the span of time between his younger self and his present state. In any case, I agree with the elder Elder Eyring. Tribulations will come. We do not need to seek them out. For myself, I try to avoid tribulation, even praying at times to avoid such, knowing full well that a loving Father will bless me with trials as he sees fit.

I don't need to pray for trials. As Manzoni put into the mouth of Lucia in The Betrothed, "I did not go looking for trouble; it's trouble that came for me." Actually, the whole passage is worth reading. (The whole book, if you have taste for early 19th century classic Italian literature.)

"I have learned," [Renzo] said, "not to get involved in riots; I have learned not to preach in the square; I have learned to watch whom I speak with; I've learned not to drink too much; I've learned not to lift the doorknocker when there are people inside with hot heads; I've learned not to kick a doorbell before thinking what could happen;  and a hundred other things."

But Lucia, although she did not find this doctrine wrong in itself, was not satisfied; it seemed to her, although confusedly, as if something were missing. After hearing the same song repeated, and wondering every time-- "And I?" -- she said one day to her moralist, "What do you think we have learned? I did not go looking for trouble; it's trouble that came for me. Unless I mean," she added, smiling softly, "that my mistake was to love you, and promise myself to you."

After a long debate and thinking it over together, they concluded that troubles come rather often, because there are causes for them; but that the most careful and innocent behavior was not enough to keep them far away; and that when they come, with or without fault, the faith in God makes them easier to bear, and makes them useful for a better life. This conclusion, although found by poor people, seems so fair that we have decided to put it here, as the juice of the the entire story.

Edited by Vort

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1 hour ago, Traveler said:

I have also found that the more I am challenged and become somewhat desperate - the more I pay attention and can learn.

This sounds like an excellent reason to ask to be blessed with situations that challenge us and cause us to become desperate - perhaps, even, a trial.

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2 hours ago, laronius said:

Trials are not required for growth. Focus on growing and let God determine how best to supplement your efforts. We can humble ourselves without being compelled to be humble and we can exercise greater faith by proactively choosing to be more obedient. Suffering definitely has its place in our mortal experience but I don't think God deals it out lightly but rather uses great wisdom, more than you and I possess so I am content to leave that matter in his hands. 

Trials might, or might not be required for growth, but I think there is reason to believe that they have the potential to positively impact the nature and rate of our growth. I think a person who is faced with many trials and deals with them well is likely to grow more, and faster, than a person who does not experience such trials or who does experience them but handles them poorly. And I'm all for letting God supplement my efforts to grow - that's probably the main reason to ask God for a trial ; as a means of asking and allowing Him to supplement our growth in a manner that He has personally prepared. 

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2 hours ago, CV75 said:

Never a good idea in my opinion. Better to work on recognizing His hand and fully enjoying the blessings, comfort, strengthening, etc. while we have them since trials will surely follow in their due time and these skills will prove most helpful.

For most of us, maybe all of us, trials will indeed surely come, all the time, and each trial contains within it the potential for learning and growth. But it seems to me that asking for, and receiving, and responding to, a custom made trial from God has greater potential to produce better quality learning outcomes than the unorganised, random circumstances from which most of our trials presently come. Something designed and delivered by God is likely to be of greater value than the ordinary events of day to day life. 

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On 3/1/2021 at 10:17 AM, askandanswer said:

Since trials provide us with opportunities for growth, is it a good idea, or not a good idea, to ask God to bless us with a trial? Or do the ordinary circumstances of everyday life present us with enough growth opportunities, without the need to ask for more? What do you think are the good and bad points of asking God to bless us with a trial?

 

3 hours ago, askandanswer said:

For most of us, maybe all of us, trials will indeed surely come, all the time, and each trial contains within it the potential for learning and growth. But it seems to me that asking for, and receiving, and responding to, a custom made trial from God has greater potential to produce better quality learning outcomes than the unorganised, random circumstances from which most of our trials presently come. Something designed and delivered by God is likely to be of greater value than the ordinary events of day to day life. 

Looking at the Book of Mormon pride cycle, I see that having a time where things are going really well and smoothly can be a huge test of a person's/people's faith.  We're natively lazy, and if circumstances aren't making us remember God, we can easily forget.  Striving to remember him when things are good is a spiritual/self-discipline work out in and of itself.  I don't see the need to specifically look/pray for something that's are otherwise.  And truthfully, sought or not such times usually coming fairly fast.

I could see the something like "Lord, I'm trying really hard to improve my time-management skills in life.  Could you help me with that-- both the practice itself and having circumstances where practicing this skill brings good rewards?"  --- that I can see the logic for.  

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A man wants to stop smoking. (Or drinking, or fornicating, or viewing porn, or getting up late, or swearing, or spending all day watching YouTube videos, or talking sharply to his wife, or beating his dog, or whatever.) He pleads, "Oh, Lord, this is bigger than I am. I know that Thou canst do all things. Remake me, Lord. Make me so that I don't smoke (drink, fornicate, swear, watch YouTube videos all day, etc.) any more. I'll try to do my part, but I won't do it very well. But I'll still try."

After how many years of failing to overcome his trials is the man justified in saying, "I give up"?

When I think of praying for trials, I think of the situation above. There may well be some people who are so spiritually advanced that they ought to pray to God for trials. I do not deny that such people may well exist, though that's so far above my current level that I find it hard to believe there are. But I don't deny there may well be. I know only that I am not one of them. I'm so busy trying to overcome my own weaknesses and failings that the very idea of asking God for more trials seems simultaneously horrific and laughable.

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2 hours ago, Vort said:

I'm so busy trying to overcome my own weaknesses and failings that the very idea of asking God for more trials seems simultaneously horrific and laughable.

Remember also the Lord's prayer: "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil". Not "lead us into temptation so we can have the glory of resisting it".

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4 minutes ago, Jamie123 said:

Remember also the Lord's prayer: "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil". Not "lead us into temptation so we can have the glory of resisting it".

A divergent point of view is expressed in the Book of Mormon in Mosiah 3:19

19  For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.

(Book of Mormon | Mosiah 3:19)

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2 minutes ago, askandanswer said:

A divergent point of view is expressed in the Book of Mormon in Mosiah 3:19

19  For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.

(Book of Mormon | Mosiah 3:19)

I guess I don't see the two as divergent. Being willing to submit to the will of God isn't always the same as being eager to submit to the will of God. Even Jesus himself begged that he not drink of the bitter cup of the wrath of God that his Father provided him—though of course he did so.

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54 minutes ago, askandanswer said:

A divergent point of view is expressed in the Book of Mormon in Mosiah 3:19

19  For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.

(Book of Mormon | Mosiah 3:19)

There is a HUGE difference between accepting that trials come vs being so eager to have another trial that we go seek it out.

I don't invite trials.  I try my best to avoid them.  But when they do come and are not avoidable, I accept the fact that trials are a part of growth just as failure is a stepping stone to success.  But who in his right mind would set out on a task and think, "Hmm.  Just how should I fail this week?"

The reason why failure is a stepping stone to success is that the "effort" towards success means something.  The dedication and commitment to success means something.  It pushes you towards success.  The failure is just a natural side-effect of trying something that you're not good at, but hope to be good at some day.

In the same way trials are a stepping stone towards perfection because learning how to avoid it in the future is an important thing to learn. Trials are a natural side-effect of being in the service of God.  Sufficient is the evil of the day unto itself.

But here is another perspective for you to take on this question:

If you don't believe that you have enough trials in your life, I'd submit that you're not doing enough good with what you've been given.  Don't get me wrong.  I'm not calling you evil or lazy. It is about "what you do" with "what you have."

A couple I was home teacher to told me of the trials they were going through.  They were very wealthy with a high level of passive income because of the business model they had developed.  They had a wonderful family who tended to love each other.  They were very active in the Church.  They served in their callings faithfully.  They were always cheery and charitable.  They were the kind of people you wanted to be like when you grew up.  You get the idea.

They happened to get a thought into their heads... When are we going to get our trial?  They never felt like they had had anything difficult in their lives.  They seemed to have had it easy.

Then tragedy struck.  If you can imagine a bad thing that many people tend to experience, much of it happened to them all at once.

When they told me about the experiences they were going through, I listened and nodded.  I certainly felt bad for them.

So, what does this have to do with doing more good?  I can't outline a causal connection in temporal terms.  But if I believe that those to whom much is given, shall much be required, then I'm going to believe that simply "being good enough" when you've been blessed tremendously is not enough.  If you are tremendously blessed in any way, you need to do something with that "talent" to spread it to others.  What are you doing with the talents you have?  Are you fulfilling the measure of your creation?

Once you realize your talents and what your purpose is, then you'll find plenty of challenges/trials in achieving that "measure of creation."  If you do not seek out your mission in life, you may stagnate and not really have any trials.

Just a theory which may or may not apply to you.

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On 3/1/2021 at 10:17 AM, askandanswer said:

Since trials provide us with opportunities for growth, is it a good idea, or not a good idea, to ask God to bless us with a trial? Or do the ordinary circumstances of everyday life present us with enough growth opportunities, without the need to ask for more? What do you think are the good and bad points of asking God to bless us with a trial?

I don't think I will add much to what has already been discussed but another witness. I don't think it "wise" to ask for a trial, unless of course, a person is truly inspired by the Spirit to do so. The reason for asking for trial will come from at least two sources: 1) Pride, and 2) the Spirit (there might be others, but those will be the main sources). If the request comes from a state of pride, then a person may not be ready for the trial that will come. If the requests comes from the Spirit (the mind, will, voice, and heart of the Lord), obviously, the Lord knows what the individual is ready for and is ready for the trial to come.

This is one thing I don't appreciate when I have heard leaders say the following at a youth event, "I am praying that something hard (a trial) will come upon these youth so they will have an opportunity to grow." Why would any leader following the Spirit pray for such a lame thing? Life is already difficult, why pray to increase that difficulty for someone? The more wise prayer would be to pray and thank God for the given opportunity the youth have at this event, and to pray that they may learn what they need to learn, or receive an experience that will benefit their lives. Help them to know the Father and his Christ are aware of who they are and their existence. Leave it to the wisdom of God as to what that experience will be.

Life will present enough circumstances for growth. We simply need to pray that we may have the faith to conquer whatever comes our way.

 

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On 3/3/2021 at 10:21 AM, Jamie123 said:

Remember also the Lord's prayer: "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil". Not "lead us into temptation so we can have the glory of resisting it".

2  My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
3  Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.

(New Testament | James 1:2 - 3)

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