Can We Glorify God in Our Trials?

Can We Glorify God in Our Trials? May 9, 2019

One hot, summer day in Oklahoma, my brother Donovan and I stood on top of the old well pump house (don’t tell our dad) for a better view to observe a storm rolling in across the plains. We stood perched there in our 9-ish and 6-ish-year-old wisdom talking about the weather and life until the rain hit and we ran back into the house.

Even from a young tot, Donovan’s been observant.  He observes life and the Gospel and connects the dots from Gospel to application. And while strong-minded, he observes to comprehend others’ perspectives. And one thing I admire about Donovan most of all is that when he observes, he serves.

Here’s one of Donovan’s recent observations sent to people he serves about experiencing trials while keeping an eye fixed on God’s merciful hand.

By Donovan Bushman

Trials are certainly not a new part of existence for any of God’s children but I have noticed how some people seem to be required to go through so much.

Jesus knows us. Each of us. Individually. “My sheep hear my voice,” He said, “and I know them, and they follow me.” It’s not always easy to follow Christ during times of sore tribulation.

Alma set a great example for us. He had just escaped from King Noah’s armies. He settled a new community with faithful church members. They came to worship God.

Mosiah 23:21-22 says, “Nevertheless the Lord seeth fit to chasten his people; yea, he trieth their patience and their faith. Nevertheless—whosoever putteth his trust in him the same shall be lifted up at the last day.”

Alma’s people were shortly thereafter taken captive by the Lamanites and forced into slavery. A lot of thanks God showed to Alma, right?

But very important in this story is that Alma kept the faith. He kept praying in his heart. He trusted God. And God helped Alma, made his burdens light, and eventually led his people to safety. The great promise of being “lifted up at the last day” does not always pull us from our mortal suffering. But we can have divine help.

Despite Trials, God Sustains Us

President Wilford Woodruff said,

No matter what trials or tribulations we may be called to go through, the hand of God will be with us and sustain us.

In teaching this principle, President Woodruff spoke from experience. He endured religious and political persecution, mob violence, opposition to missionary work, illness, and even deaths of family members and friends. But he responded to such adversity with faith rather than despair, trusting the Lord’s promises and finding strength in his own testimony of the gospel.

Elder Neal A. Maxwell said,

Fortunately, our knowledge of the Savior, Jesus Christ, and His Atonement helps us to endure our trials and to see purpose in suffering and to trust God for what we cannot comprehend.

And President Henry B. Eyring stated,

The restored gospel of Jesus Christ gives us help in knowing how to qualify for the strength of the Lord as we deal with adversity. It tells us why we face tests in life. And, even more importantly, it tells us how to get protection and help from the Lord.

Can We Glorify God in Our Trials?

I feel for each of you going through your own difficult struggles. And I know that our Savior, Jesus Christ, knows what you’re enduring.

Elder Maxwell also said,

He endured so many things. For instance, as prophesied, He was spat upon. As foretold, He was struck and scourged. Likewise, He was offered vinegar and gall while aflame with thirst.

Yet in His later description of His agonies, Jesus does not speak of those things. Instead, after the Atonement, there is no mention about His being spat upon, struck, or proffered vinegar and gall. Instead, Christ confides in us His chief anxiety, namely, that He “would that [He] might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink”—especially desiring not to get partway through the Atonement and then pull back. Mercifully for all of us, He “finished [His] preparations unto the children of men.” Jesus partook of history’s bitterest cup without becoming bitter!

Can we follow His example? Can we show faith, hope, charity, and love in the midst of our suffering? Can we try to lift others even while we’re down? Can we glorify God while wondering if He has forsaken us?

I know He hasn’t forsaken you. Our pain and anguish will be temporary and His love for us is eternal. Keep trusting Him and He will lift you up at the last day.

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  • Brett Folkman

    I can testify that Christ can ease our suffering, but suffering is part of our mortal experience – the “plan of happiness” is an eternal plan, not a mortal plan of happiness. The below at the passing of my daughter illustrates how Christ comforted me in great sorrow.

    Sitting with Grief
    Long late night flight, time to think and grieve, time slows and I feel all alone, isolated in my pain, tears silently emerge, coursing down my crimson cheeks, no bother, let the sorrow drain from my soul, just sit with your grief, embrace it, that’s what they say, but how do you just sit when your heart has been ripped wide open, how do you just sit with your grief when hot searing shafts of pain relentlessly stab at what’s left of your heart, how do you just sit when grief feels like a consuming fire burning you to ashes, how do you just sit with grief when you ache so deep to just hold your daughter again, to feel her warmth, to feel the pulsing of her perfect beating heart, to have her warm sweet breath gently caress your neck as you hold her tight, as you whisper, I love you sweet Brooke, daddy loves his little angel, to feel the depth and grandeur of her spirit emanating from her flesh, she feels so safe in my arms, she whispers back, I love you daddy, she doesn’t pull away, I rock gently back and forth with her in my embrace, just feeling the love engulf my sweet Brooke and I, this was my daily ritual with my Brooke, our long hugs, I’d whisper sweet things into her ear, she’d reciprocate, I’d whisper of God’s love, of Christ’s love, she’d say, I know daddy, thank you daddy for this and that, mostly trivial things of the day, a new toy for Indie, gas for her car, dinner for she and Guich, Brooke was so grateful for everything, when we’d hug, she’d always apologize for the smallest of things that she thought might annoy me, sorry daddy, I’d laugh and say no worries my angel, I’m not annoyed at all, Brooke is so tender hearted, she never wanted to hurt Sandy or I, especially Sandy, it always pained her to see her mommy suffer, Brooke’s empathy for suffering was so deep, because she suffered so deeply, but she’s suffering no more, Christ’s perfect atonement Brooke new intimately, she relied on her Savior to carry her in this life, Christ literally carried her through unwanted mental health challenges, horrific abuse, significant injustice, numbing addiction, her mortal journey took her through the valley of death and beyond many times, but she never lost sight of her redeemer, and now, she’s redeemed, now I need to learn from my angel Brooke, I need to look to my Savior to carry me through my grief and pain, she blazed the path, she showed me the way to rely on Christ to carry me through this mortal journey, a blink of an eye in eternity, I feel my Brooke guiding and comforting me now, my tears now dry, sweet memories of Brooke fill my soul, I reach towards my Savior and he encircles me about in the arms of his love, I surrender my grief and pain to him, I can’t comprehend it, but he compassionately soothes my aching soul, he brings solace to my broken heart, I know him, he’s no stranger, I welcome his healing embrace, he whispers into my ear, I love you, I feel my pain slip silently away, I feel him rocking me back and forth, I feel so safe in his embrace, I thank my Savior for his atoning sacrifice, for redeeming me from sin, for releasing my Brooke from her mortal suffering and pain, for knowing that his eternal sacrifice made possible that I’ll be with my Brooke again, for revealing her mortal journey was complete, tears silently run free, coursing down my crimson face, no longer alone, my Savior comforts me, the sorrow now drained from my soul, the new tears fill my soul with the peace that passeth all understanding, Christ’s perfect grace, peace and joy consume me, gratitude overflows it’s bounds, gratitude for my sweet angel wife, Sandy, gratitude for being sealed to her for time and all eternity in God’s holy temple, for being blessed with four lovely, amazing, talented daughters, for my new sons and grandson, for a sure knowledge that this mortal life is just a dot in our eternal existence, I know my Brooke lives on, I feel her spirit comforting me, I’m humbled, I’m in awe, I will forever praise my Heavenly Father and Mother and their perfect Son, Jesus Christ – I long to keep this feeling!! Yet I know that’s not how mortality works, so I’ll treasure this sweet experience and remember it often, they say to just sit with your grief, to embrace it, and you know what, they’re right, for that’s when God can work a miracle in your soul! So the grief cycle continues, pain, suffering, comfort, healing, joy, repeat – a microcosm of mortality.