"No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted...All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our characters, souls, and makes us more tender and charitable...It is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation, that we gain the education that we come here to acquire." -Orson F. Whitney
The title for this post comes from a quote from Paul V. Johnson which states:
“Being good is not enough. We want to become like the Savior, who learned as He suffered ‘pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind.’ The furnace of affliction helps purify even the very best of saints by burning away that dross in their lives and leaving behind pure gold.”
We are given challenges and trials in life to refine us into better people. We become more than ‘good people’ and more like Christ as we wait upon the Lord through our challenges and hard times in life. Elder Robert D. Hales recently talked about what it means to wait upon the Lord. He says in his talk entitled, “Waiting upon the Lord: Thy Will be Done:”
“In scriptures, the word wait means to hope, to anticipate, and to trust. To hope and trust in the Lord requires faith, patience, humility, meekness, long-suffering, keeping the commandments, and enduring to the end.”
We can do much to endure through our trials and challenges in life. We can learn to be happy… to truly be happy with what we have been given in life. Here is a story shared by Elder Rex D. Pinegar that makes you think more about being happy:
“He was called to serve a mission at age 19. During his initial interview with his mission president, he told him he did not want to be there. He wanted to go home. The president told him he couldn’t send him home. He couldn’t release him because he was not the one who had called him on his mission. He would have to stay. The young elder resigned himself to being in the mission, but he determined he would not work. Every weekly letter to the president contained a request for a release from the mission. In every personal interview with the mission president, he asked to go home.
After one such interview following a zone meeting, the president said, “Okay, Elder, you are going home. I’ve arranged for one of my assistants to remain with your companion.” The missionary could hardly believe what was happening. They drove to his apartment where he packed up his things, said goodbye to his companion, and then drove away. He was happy!
He was going home!
As they traveled, the missionary began to express his gratitude to the president for allowing him to go home. “Oh,” said the president. “I’m not sending you to your home. I’m taking you to the mission home. I’m turning you over to my wife.”
“But I don’t want to go to the mission home. I want to go to my home,” the missionary insisted. They drove on in silence.
It was dinnertime when they pulled into the driveway of the mission home. The president’s wife came out to the car. With a bright smile she greeted her husband and then welcomed the frustrated missionary to her home with a question: “How are you, Elder?”
With a frown and an angry voice, he told her he was not happy to be there. He wanted to go to his own home. She smiled and said, “Elder, that’s the wrong answer. Now, look at me with a smile and say ‘I’m happy!”
“But I’m not happy! I just want to go home.”
“Wrong answer, Elder! Let’s try that again. How are you, Elder?”
His response was the same. “I’m not happy. I want to go home.”
“Wrong answer!” the mission president’s wife replied.
The fourth time she repeated the question, he was tired of what he considered “her little game,” and responded, without a smile, “Okay, I’m happy.”
“Good,” she said. “Now we can eat dinner!” For four days, whenever the president’s wife saw him, she would pester him with the same question. He continued to reply, “I’m not happy! I want to go home!”
On the fourth night as the elder was walking down the hallway toward his room he saw her coming from the opposite direction. He knew what she was going to say, but this time he would surprise her with the “right answer.” “How are you tonight, Elder?” she asked.
“That’s great, Elder. Now you can go back to work.”
This time he was more emphatic as he responded. He did not want to go to work. He wanted to go home. In a concerned but kind way she invited him to meet with her in the dining room. She had something she wanted to share with him.
As they sat opposite each other at a large table, she looked him squarely in the eyes and told him that he should be a happy, grateful young man. He had the gospel of Jesus Christ, which is the only true plan of happiness in the world. Only through this plan could he, or anyone, find true joy in living. By following it he could learn everything he needed to know and to do in order to find success and real happiness in life. She told him how the principles of the gospel blessed her life for good; how the power of faith and the atonement of Jesus Christ gave her strength to deal with the challenges and difficulties in life. She assured him that through faith and prayer he would be able to fulfill the mission to which he had been called.
As she expressed her deep feelings of faith and joy in the gospel he was filled with the Spirit and somehow his heart changed. He knew what she was saying was true. He was filled with gratitude that the Lord trusted him and had called him to share this great plan of happiness with others. He felt a strong desire to be a missionary, and he received the strength of faith to continue.
At the conclusion of their conversation, the mission president’s wife sweetly asked, “How are you, Elder?”
Now, he sincerely responded, “I’m happy!””
We are each witnesses of Christ. Let us remember to wait upon the Lord through our trials and through our good times. The Lord is the one person who will never fail us. He is there. Always.