Pray for me. In three days I will be learning to walk for the 6th time and will probably do eight and nine in the next couple of years. And even though I have gained more experience, I think the first time was probably the easiest. I didn’t have as far to fall.
The first time I was eight months old, and as a baby was happy to not be the shortest one in the family. I could see what was going on, and get my brothers into trouble.
The second time I learned to walk was after a stroke paralyzed me when I was just two years old.
Over the intervening years I damaged a nerve and had to learn to walk without flexing my toes, I damaged my knee and had to learn to walk on crutches. Last year knee surgery and this year hip surgery have given me the opportunities to learn more lessons. I have learned a lot about, charity, kindness, patience, gratitude, joy, and peace. I have learned that God loves me and that I have a lot of wonderful friends and family members.
This fall at the October general conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints ,Elder Evan A. Schmutz gave a talk titled
“As we exercise our faith in the Savior, He will lift us up and carry us through all of our trials and, ultimately, save us in the celestial kingdom.
As part of our Heavenly Father’s plan, He allowed sorrow to be woven into our mortal experience. While it seems that painful trials fall unevenly on us, we can be assured that to one degree or another, we all suffer and struggle. It is my prayer that the Holy Spirit will guide us to a greater understanding why this must be so.
When we view the difficult experiences of life through the lens of faith in Christ, we are able to see that there can be godly purpose in our suffering. The faithful can experience the truth of Peter’s seemingly contradictory counsel. He wrote, “If ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye.”As we apply our “hearts to understanding,”we can increase in our ability to both endure our trials well and learn from—and be refined by—them. Such understanding provides an answer to the ageless question “Why do bad things happen to good people?”
Without an “eye of faith”and an understanding of eternal truth, we often find that the misery and suffering experienced in mortality can obscure or eclipse the eternal joy of knowing that the great plan of our Father in Heaven really is the eternal plan of happiness. There is no other way to receive a fulness of joy.
God invites us to respond with faith to our own unique afflictions in order that we may reap blessings and gain knowledge that can be learned in no other way. We are instructed to keep the commandments in every condition and circumstance, for “he that is faithful in tribulation, the reward of the same is greater in the kingdom of heaven.” And as we read in scripture, “If thou art sorrowful, call on the Lord thy God with supplication, that your souls may be joyful.”
The Apostle Paul, himself no stranger to affliction, drew from his own experience to teach with depth and beauty the eternal perspective that comes when we endure well and with patience. He said, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” In other words, we can know in the midst of our afflictions that God has provided an eternal compensating reward.
As we acquire this eternal perspective in our lives, our capacity to endure grows, we learn how to succor those in need of succor, and we come to appreciate and even express gratitude for the experiences God allows us to have as tutors in the path to eternal life.
When we find ourselves laboring through tribulation, it can be difficult to see our trials as signposts on our personal trail of discipleship. But whether we find ourselves at times in the dark valley of despair or on the high road of happiness, learning from and feeling compassion for the sufferings of others can be a blessing.
Then we can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
We can take strength in knowing that all the hard experiences in this life are temporary; even the darkest nights turn into dawn for the faithful.
I am looking forward to at least a temporary lessening of twenty five years of pain so I ask you again, pray for me. And look at your challenges and sorrows. What happiness and blessings can you gain from them?