Trials and Behavior

Trials are experienced by all mankind,
from the womb until death.  Each is born with challenges to overcome, and faith to be developed.  Until we have a broad perspective of God’s eternal plan for man, we cannot make much sense out of the inequities in life.  Pain and suffering are permitted by God, because they are part of his plan for us to be more worthy to be called the children of God and to return to live with him.   

Silent Pain

Behavior is often a reflection of past wounds. What silent pains do others suffer deeply from, that we are not aware of?   Ponder some of life’s endless pains, sorrows and regrets which are owned by both the offender and the offended one.  

Abuse-emotional, physical, sexual
Alcoholism/Children of Alcoholics
Broken hearts
Chemical disorder
Childhood trials
Death of family/friends

Disabilities (physical, behavioral)
Divorce/Marital problems
Domestic violence/contention
Eating disorders
Employment issues
Family issues
Incarceration/feeling guilt/remorse
Insecurity/feeling unloved
Low self-worth/confidence
Mental illness

Natural Disasters
Painful experiences/memories
Physical pain
Sickness/terminal illness
Strained relationships
Suicidal thoughts
Trust issues
Victims of crime/violence
…and countless more

Some of our pain is caused by others and is out of our control, just as Christ suffered innocently for the sins and pain of others.  Whether caused by others and undeserved, self-imposed and deserved, or a result of natural consequences including illness and death, we will all be judged by how we respond to both our trials and the trials of others.   

The need for charity is all around us.  Expand your circle of friends by getting to know those who are experiencing some of life’s deep pains and sorrows.  Reach out with a gentle heart and a friendly hand to those who are lonely, weak, discouraged, wounded, and suffering—even when you are carrying burdens that may be heavier than theirs.  

Treat others as though they recently have, are currently having, or are about to experience a great personal trial—and most of the time, you will be right.  

Trials Have a Purpose

God does not
cause trials and suffering, but rather permits suffering to occur to accomplish his purposes. Trials play an important role in God’s plan for all of his children, providing a trial of our faith to see if we will draw closer to God, obey his commandments, learn and grow from our experience, better understand the pain of others, love and serve others who are suffering, and forgive those who have offended us.    

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?”  (Romans 8:35)

Each person is tested to prove to the God whether he is willing to obey his laws.  That was the purpose of the creation of the earth and our entrance into mortal life—to test our faith and obedience.  We each experience good and evil, happiness and suffering, joy and pain.  The great test of life is obedience, to prove to ourselves and God that he can trust us.  

“…that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no…” (Exodus 16:4)

“And this (Jesus) said to prove him; for (Jesus) himself knew what (Philip) would do…”   (John 6:6)

“…remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no…”   (Deut. 8:2)

“…for the Lord your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.  Ye shall walk after the Lord your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him…”  (Deut. 13:3-4)

“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves…”   (2 Corin. 13:5)

“Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; try my reins and my heart.”   (Psalms 26:2)

The Savior is not a silent observer of our trials, and we have access to his help.  None of the trials we face are beyond our ability to endure.  Our capacity to handle pain and trials will increase, if we have developed a close relationship with the Savior and seek his help.  Pain allows a spirit of humility to enter our hearts, drawing many who suffer much closer to the Lord. We can endure all things through him who strengthens us and will even send angels, both seen and unseen, to comfort us.   

Hearts are either softened or hardened by life’s challenges.  Those who turn away from God and harden their hearts by choosing to hold on to their anger and bitterness, rather than forgive, will resist life’s difficult experiences and reject those lessons they could have learned.  Those with softer hearts understand and accept God’s plan and are much more receptive to learning the intended, meaningful lessons from each trial.  

Everyone plays the role of both teacher and student every day, as we teach and learn from one another.  Countless people are placed along our path, because we are to learn from and acquire their good qualities, and they are to learn from and acquire our good qualities.   When experiencing a difficult trial, ask yourself, “What is the lesson I need to learn from this experience?”  Those who pause to look for the lessons within their trials can more easily avoid the feelings of road rage along the path of life.  

Be careful not to resent the very experiences that help us become more like Christ.  Our trials are meant to help us stretch and grow from our challenges, so that we acquire the attributes, especially charity, which are necessary to refine our hearts.  The refiner’s fire of adversity melts away the unimportant things in our lives, purging our hearts of selfishness and pride.  Trials purify our hearts and expand our souls as we become more acquainted with God.  

No pain that we suffer or trial that we experience is wasted, if it helps us develop those qualities—humility, faith, courage, strength, love, patience, kindness, compassion, tenderness, understanding, tolerance, forgiveness, and charity—which we need to become more like Christ and worthy to be called the children of God.   (Orson F. Whitney)  

The Apostle Paul, a man who had been beaten, stoned, shipwrecked and imprisoned, taught us to look at trials from an eternal perspective.  

“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen:  for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”  (2 Cor. 4:17-18)

When we see ourselves and all others through the loving eyes of the Savior, we will be counted worthy to return to live forever with our worthy family members, the Savior, and our heavenly parents in their peaceful home.  Nothing is going to startle us more than when we return to the spirit world and realize how well we know our heavenly Father and how familiar his face is to us.  We already know and love the  God we pray to—our heavenly Father. 

Blessings After Trials

Many blessings, remarkable events, and tremendous growth have been preceded by great trials and suffering—

Mothers.   Mothers know that the challenges of labor precede the miracle of birth.  

Moses.  After Moses was separated from his Israelite mother to save his life, he was adopted as an infant and raised by an Egyptian woman—the daughter of Pharoah.   When he was grown, Moses went into hiding after killing an Egyptian.  Then, drawing upon his knowledge of Egyptian culture, learning, and Pharoah’s court, he returned to Pharoah to demand freedom for the Israelites.  He became one of the greatest prophets in all scripture, including the prophet who performed the most miracles in the Old Testament.  (Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy; Acts 7:20-37)  

Twleve Tribes of Israel.  The children of Israel were trapped between the Red Sea and Pharoah’s army just before the waters parted to allow their escape.  (Exodus 14)  

Joseph of Egypt.  After Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery, he showed faith, love and forgiveness by not holding a grudge against his brothers.  After many years of mistreatment, bondage and imprisonment, while remaining faithful to God, Joseph was instrumental in saving and influencing the lives of countless others.  (Genesis 37-47)  

Jonah.  After Jonah suffered three horrific days of confinement in the belly of a great fish, he repented, obeyed God, and changed the lives of all who lived in the wicked, violent city of Ninevah, saving them from destruction.  (Jonah; Nahum 3)  

Jesus Christ.   One person suffered and endured the greatest trials of all time.  After Christ suffered the pain of Gethsemane, he opened the door of heaven for all who would follow him.  After Christ suffered the crucifixion, he was the first to be resurrected; and his victory over death gave the same blessing to all mankind.  (The New Testament)  

Americans.  After countless American deaths in wars, today America enjoys    friendly relations with the British after the Revolutionary War; and Germany after    they compelled the U.S. to enter two World Wars; and Japan after they attacked Pearl Harbor.  America sent millions of dollars to its former enemies to help rebuild Europe and Japan after WWII.  Without reconciliation with our enemies, the entire world would perish in the vicious circle of hatred.  What other individuals or groups of people need to forgive past injustices, and move on?   (American History)