Dealing with Suffering and Adversity

“Sunday Sermon”

Maintain Loyalty to and Trust in the Lord

Alma 36: 3
Whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day

(Note, God will support is “in” our trials, not remove us “from” our trials.  “Sometimes God calms the storm, and sometimes God lets the storm rage, and calms His child.”)

Job 1:20-22
“Then Job arose, and rend his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground and worshipped.
“And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away; blessed by the name of the Lord.
“In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.

Job 13: 15
“Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him; bit I will maintain mine own ways before him.
“He also shall be my salvation.”

Job 19:25-26
“For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:
“And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:”

Job 27:3-5
“All the while my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils;
“My lips shall not speak wickedness, nor my tongue utter deceit.
“Till I die I will not remove my integrity from me.”

Proverbs 3:5-6
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
” In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

We must resist the temptation to blame or judge God.  He is blameless. He is the judge. We are the ones being judged. Most trials and adversity are caused by our own actions or the actions of others, not God.

Turn to the Lord in Prayer

D&C 112: 10
“Be thou humble; and the Lord thy God shall lead thee by the hand, and give thee answer to thy prayers.”

Alma 37:37
“Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good.”

We should pour out our hearts to God.  We are his children. He knows us, and He loves us.  He loves us so much that he allowed his Beloved son to suffer, bleed, and die for us. Heavenly Father will listen to us, and He will comfort and advise us,  if we listen  and follow Him.

Cast your Burdens on your Savior

Matthew 11:28-30
“Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
“For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Gene R. Cook: Center our hearts on Jesus during trials
          “To pass successfully through the trials we encounter, we must keep our eyes and our hearts centered on the Lord Jesus Christ…. We should have great hope in knowing, however unworthy we may feel or weak we may be, that if we will do all we can, He will come to our aid and provide for us whatever we may lack.” (Ensign, May 1993, p. 80)

We are not alone in our suffering. “Sometimes He calms the storm, and sometimes He lets the storm rage and he calms his child” John Groberg

Alma 7: 10-12
“And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
“And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.” (Alma 7:10-12)

D&C 68:6
          “Wherefore, be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord am with you, and will stand by you.”

Alma 36:3
“Whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day.”

M. Russell Ballard: Faith shields us from the effects of challenges
          “Faith in God and in His son, Jesus Christ, is absolutely essential for us to maintain a balanced perspective through times of trial and difficulty….
          “Armed with the shield of faith, we can overcome many of our daily challenges and overpower our greatest weaknesses and fears, knowing that if we do our best to keep the commandments of God, come what may, we will be all right.
          “Of course, that does not necessarily mean that we will be spared personal suffering and heartache.  Righteousness has never precluded adversity.  But faith in the Lord Jesus Christ—real faith, whole-souled and unshakable–is a power to be reckoned with in the universe.  It can be a causative force through which miracles are wrought.  Or it can be a source of inner strength, through which we find peace, comfort, and the courage to cope.” (CR, The Ensign, November 1992, p 32)

D&C 6:36
“Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not”

Immerse yourself in the Scriptures.

The scriptures are a great source of comfort, wisdom, understanding, and spiritual strength. The scriptures bring us closer to God.

Spencer W. Kimball:
            “I find that when I get casual in my relationship with divinity and when it seems that no divine ear is listening and no divine voice is speaking, that I am far, far, away, if I immerse myself in the scriptures the distance narrows and the spirituality returns. I find myself loving more intensely those whom I must love.”(Teachings, p. 135)

Romans 15:1-4
“We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak ….
“These things were written for our learning, that wethrough patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.”

Review the counsel of the modern Prophets and Church Leaders

The latter-day prophets and church leaders have dealt with adversity.  They have experienced suffering.  They have overcome adversity. Their experience and counsel can help us.

Seek help from friends and family

Pro. 17:17
“A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”

Don’t “suffer in silence.”  Don’t “go it alone.”  Our families and friends love us and are there to help.

Seek help from the Church

Relief Society and Elders Quorum Presidents and ward ministers are called by the Lord to help us. 

Ask for a Priesthood blessing

Sometimes, according to the will of the Lord, we can be healed through the priesthood blessing.  Other times, a priesthood blessing is a great source of comfort and counsel. “Sometimes the Lord stops the storm, and sometimes the Lord lets the storm rage, and He comforts his child.”

Ponder Your Patriarchal Blessing

A patriarchal blessing is your own personal “scripture.”  It is D&C 139, “the will and the Lord” for you.  It is a comfort and guide.

Forgive others and reconcile with them

If our suffering is caused by the carelessness or transgressions of other, we can lessen our pain by forgiving them and reconciling ourselves with them.  “Let it be.”

Seek professional help

Church leaders are “shepherds,” not “veterinarians.”  Seek competent medical help for illnesses or injuries.  Chronic pain can be eased by medication and pain management.  Mental and emotional suffering can be eased through medication, behavior management, and counseling. 

Minister to and serve others

Our suffering and anxiety are increased when we focus on and obsess over them. 

We need to turn outward and seek to minister to others in need.  “I felt sorry for myself because I had no shoes, until I saw the person who had no feet.”

As we put ourselves in a position to bless others, the Lord will work through us, despite our personal inadequacies and problems.  We become his “instrument.”  And as he works through us, we are drawn closer to him and strengthened.

President Hinckley’s motto was: “Forget yourself and go to work.”  President Monson’s motto was: “To the rescue.”

Repent if necessary

If our trials come from our own transgressions, we should seek to repent and to be forgiven by the Lord, those we may have hurt, and ourselves.

Learn from our mistakes

If our suffering is caused by our own carelessness, we should learn from our experience, and move on.

Maintain a positive outlook on life

Every situation has advantages and disadvantages. We will be happier and more successful if we focus on the advantages. The glass is half full.

Modern prophets, like Gordon B Hinckley, Thomas S. Monson, and Russell M. Nelson are great examples of looking forward and having a positive outlook on life. Another word for a positive attitude, is faith.

Strive to be patient

D&C 24: 8
“Be patient in afflictions, for thou shalt have many; but endure them, for lo, I am with thee, even unto the end of thy days.”

Sometimes, our adversity is inherent in the nature of mortality and earth life. Earthquakes, fires, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes affect everyone. It rains on both the wicked and the righteous, and the sun shines on the wicked and the righteous.

Remember, one of the tasks of mortality is for our spirit to gain mastery over our physical body. “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”  The pain and aches from illness, dying, and aging are inherent in mortality. “Getting old is easy. Being old is hard.”

We are not immune from physical illness or natural disasters.  Like Job, we strive to learn patience, long suffering, and humility.  These are attributes of deity.

Remember, You are Not Alone

Remember, you are not alone.  There is solace in knowing that others have suffered the same as me.  Sometimes, “misery loves company.”

Suffering, caused by our own actions or the actions of others, caused by natural disasters, is “common to man.”  But remember, that God will “provide a way for us to bear it.” (1 Cor 10:13)

Maintain an Eternal Perspective

D&C 121:7-8
“Peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.”


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