Personal Online Journal

Thursday, December 14, 2023

Why do good people suffer?

This is a video answering a question from a teary woman asking why she is suffering when she is doing everything she knows to follow God. 

The woman asks:

How do we understand the love of the Lord when he gives you more trials? In my personal life I have more trials than anything else. Trying to have a baby we cannot have. And we are here going to the temple, doing every single thing we are supposed to do. How to understand that?

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland replies: 

Okay, you’re falling into a trap that I want everybody in this to avoid. And that is:

God must not love me, if I suffer. I must be being penalized, if I suffer. Can you see the danger of thinking that way? 

Every person I know in this book [holds up the scriptures] suffers. Peter who was crucified upside down. James, the first Christian martyr from the New Testament. Paul beheaded. Now does God like Peter and James and John and Paul and Isaiah and Ezekiel and Jeremiah and Daniel? Prophets of captivity. Prophets of persecution. Prophets of trouble and trials of every kind. Who suffered more than anyone in time or eternity that we know of? The living son of the living God, the only perfect child who ever lived. Don’t ever. Please, please, do not fall victim to the temptation to say, ‘Well, I guess God doesn’t love me’.  Because, what on earth would that say about his love for his Only Begotten Son?  

These are times for faith. These are times for perseverance. Life is filled with times of trouble. I just ask us to cling to the wonderful examples that we’ve had, starting and going down to virtually every figure I know to point out here [holds up the scriptures].  

If there were any really picnic stories in here, I missed them. They must have taken them out of my edition. Because everyone in here is a hard story. And I think that’s for a reason; that somehow, and this is the part I don’t fully understand and I don’t ask you to just blissfully accept it and glide out of the room. But there is something at work in suffering that is exalting. 

Now that is not news, anyone particularly wants to hear today, but I think it somehow must be doctrinal. That suffering is exalting. I don’t know whether that’s because it  makes us more patient with others? Does it make us more sympathetic with other people who’ve got troubles? It is part of the expanding of our heart to where we’re not smug and we’re not self centered? And we’re not trivial? I don’t know. I think it’s probably all of that. But it is hard to read these [the scriptures] and it is impossible to read the life of the Savior without coming to the conclusion that suffering somehow is preparatory to exaltation. 

So hang on and say your prayers and trust in the Lord and lean against that pillar and know from Elder Holland as a promise to you apostolically today that it’ll never be removed.  And someday, somewhere, sometime, you’ll have more children than you know what to do with. And I don’t say that trivially. I say it prophetically. That with the eternal view, and the long sketch of our plan of salvation, every blessing tenfold, 100 fold, 1000 fold will be given to us. But I think probably only when we’ve worked off our rough edges and been ready to receive it. 

Here is the quote shown at the end

How can you and I really expect to glide naively through life, as if to say, “Lord, give me experience, but not grief, not sorrow, not pain, not opposition, not betrayal, and certainly not to be forsaken. Keep from me, Lord, all those experiences which made Thee what Thou art! Then let me come and dwell with Thee and fully share Thy joy!”

“Lest Ye Be Wearied and Faint in Your Minds”, Neal A Maxwell, Apr 1991

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