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.
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,
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.