Purpose in Pain
It is common for people of faith to believe there are consequences for sin or poor choices, this accounting for pain, suffering, or trials in life. While this is true, I don’t believe that trials are always associated with sin. Sometimes, bad things just happen. Why?
Trials, disappointments, sadness, and heartache come to us from two basically different sources. Those who transgress the laws of God will always have those challenges. The other reason for adversity is to accomplish the Lord’s own purposes in our life that we may receive the refinement that comes from testing. … [Some trials] are evidence that the Lord feels you are prepared to grow more ~(in Conference Report, Oct. 1995, 18; or Ensign,Nov. 1995, 16).
The bible provides examples of trials being for our growth and good. We have the story of Job, a good and righteous man who endured many afflictions. Job grew in faith and understanding through his trials. Additionally, Job’s challenges have taught generations of readers about enduring faithfully. In St. John we read of a man, born blind and healed by the Savior:
And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?
Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. ~ St. John 9:2-3
I don’t believe these two examples fully illustrate the scope of why we have trials. Essentially, I believe trials are for our growth and help us come closer to achieving our potential. If we endure through them faithfully, they serve as blessings in wisdom.
Life never was intended to be easy. Rather, it is a period of proving and growth. It is interwoven with difficulties, challenges, and burdens. … Yet these very forces, if squarely faced, provide opportunity for tremendous personal growth and development. The conquering of adversity produces strength of character, forges self-confidence, engenders self-respect, and assures success in righteous endeavor ~(in Conference Report, Oct. 1981, 13; or Ensign, Nov. 1981, 11).
Some people beat themselves up when going through trials, wondering what they’ve done to deserve such hardship. Often, it’s not about our weaknesses but rather our strengths. Many of the best people I know have undergone horrible trials with grace. They are inspiring to me and have touched my life deeply.
The pains of trials aren’t necessarily about what we’ve done wrong, but what we are able to do right – and how our influence can touch others. There are certainly things I’ve learned and experienced through trials in my life that I now use in teaching and protecting my children, helping friends or loved ones, and so on. Many times life’s challenges help us to learn, build character, increase in faith, teach and serve others, all helping us become greater than we are.
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