How to overcome your trials

In my ward or congregation I am the Relief Society President. I minister to and serve the women in my congregation. I meet new women who move in, assist in organizing a monthly activity, support the weekly teacher, arrange for the women to visit each other every month (visiting teaching), attend a twice monthly meeting with the other leaders in the ward to discuss the needs of members, work with the missionaries to identify people to serve and teach, meet with women whose families have need for groceries and household supplies and help them fill out an order for those supplies, work with a Compassionate Service Leader to arrange service among members, and various other responsibilities. While serving in those responsibilities I’ve learned that everyone has trials. Everyone has hard things in their lives. So then who can I ask to serve?¬†Who can be expected to make monthly visiting teaching visits, feed the missionaries, clean the church, teach a Relief Society lesson, take a meal, watch a child, visit a sister in the hospital? Who?

 

Last week while serving at a local community organization that assists refugees, I visited with a retired couple. The husband is currently a bishop, a leader for a ward or congregation. This bishop told me that he has now worked with three Relief Society Presidents. The most important thing he feels like Relief Society Presidents need to know is that everyone has problems so everyone needs to be asked to help. Otherwise the Relief Society President tries to do everything herself and is burnt out and resentful. Could he read my mind?

 

In our recent Sunday lesson in Relief Society we discussed trials. I’m grateful that the sisters in our ward feel safe sharing their disappointments and struggles. But I left wondering if we need to do more than just discuss and commiserate. How can we have hope and happiness in a life of trials and tragedies? How can we overcome our trials instead of just enduring our trials or putting up with our trials and waiting for them to end?

 

Let’s look at what the Savior did. When Lazarus died and Jesus saw the weeping and sorrow of Mary and Martha, He wept (John 11:35). He felt sorrow for Mary and Martha. It’s okay to grieve for our own problems and for others. After weeping Jesus went to the cave and when the stone was removed, he thanked God. “And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, ‘Father, I thank thee that thou has heard me'” (John 11:41). Then Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. While we do not have the power to raise the dead or solve all problems, we, like Jesus, can get to work. We can recognize what God has given us and be grateful and then get to work. Often there isn’t much we can do about our own problems, but we can help others.

 

After Jesus suffered for our sins and sorrows, He was beaten and mocked, crowned with thorns, and hung on a cross. He said, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). When we have suffered because of others choices or mistakes, we too should forgive. Elder Kevin R. Duncan said, “Even though we may be a victim once, we need not be a victim twice by carrying the burden of hate, bitterness, pain, resentment, or even revenge. We can forgive, and we can be free!” (Ensign, “The Healing Ointment of Forgiveness, May 2016).

 

Surely after a great trial, we should be able to sit back, relax, and watch the world go by. That’s not what Jesus did. Following His resurrection, Jesus Christ returned to teach his apostles “being seen of them forty days, and speaking of things pertaining to the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3). In The Book of Mormon we learn that Jesus appeared to the people living in America. He taught, ministered, and established His church (3 Nephi 11-28).

 

There is hope. Jesus showed us the way. Grieve, express gratitude, forgive, and get to work. Then as happens when we keep any commandments, we will be blessed. We will experience hope and healing. We will overcome.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, September 28th, 2016 at 5:18 pm and is filed under I'm a Mormon. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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