Monday, January 7, 2019

Lasting Impressions from 2018: #2 Laser-focused Trials

As I was reflecting on 2018, I wanted a record some of the things that left a lasting impression on me, things I have thought about long after I first read or heard them. This one involves a talk from Elder Johnson about trials that seem laser-focused to our weaknesses.

This one I found while searching through the the LDS Citation Index (an app friend told me about) while doing some scripture study. It's a quote from Elder Paul V. Johnson in 2011:

"At times it may seem that our trials are focused on areas of our lives and parts of our souls with which we seem least able to cope. Since personal growth is an intended outcome of these challenges, it should come as no surprise that the trials can be very personal—almost laser guided to our particular needs or weaknesses. And no one is exempt, especially not Saints striving to do what’s right. Some obedient Saints may ask, “Why me? I’m trying to be good! Why is the Lord allowing this to happen?” The furnace of affliction helps purify even the very best of Saints by burning away the dross in their lives and leaving behind pure gold.6 Even very rich ore needs refining to remove impurities. 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.”

This quote has often come to my mind when I feel overwhelmed, or unable to cope. Then I am able to remember that I am seeking for growth in this life, not comfort. It's also a good a reminder to me when my trials seem 'different' than other people (that I often blame on my own weaknesses and inadequacies) that the Lord is testing me specific to where I am, and specifically to help me grow, and that each of us is tested in this specific, tailored way. 

It reminded me of this quote from Sister Joy D. Jones' devotional earlier this year. Here she is quoting Elder Neal A. Maxwell:

Therefore, 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!”