Adversity Talk

This is the talk I gave in church yesterday and some people wanted to read it. The best way for me to share this was posting it to my blog that I haven't been to in over a year!

 When writing this talk, I knew we were assigned this topic strictly for our own personal gain. But I had at least a dozen people at church yesterday tell me that this talk was just for them and how much they appreciated my boldness. I hope it sincerely helped them and hopefully you can get something out of it as well! Enjoy!

So getting started, we were asked to speak on Adversity.  The very simple definition of adversity is difficulties or misfortune. Each person's success and happiness, both now and in the eternities, largely depend on his or her responses to the difficulties in there life.

Adversity can be categorized 3 different ways. Some may be caused by our own actions and sins. But Sadly, Not all adversity can be controlled. Adversity may sometimes come because of someone else’s poor choices and hurtful words and actions. Suffering may also come through a loving Heavenly Father as a growing and learning experience.

For each trial requires a different response.

For example, people who are stricken with illness may simply need to be patient and faithful. People who suffer because of others' words or actions should work toward forgiving those who have offended them. 

If a person's trials come because of disobedience, he or she should correct the behavior and humbly seek forgiveness. These trials can be avoided through righteous living.  Other trials are simply a natural part of life and may come at times when people are living righteously.

When adversity comes as a result of the acts of others, we often can’t do anything to change it. But that doesn’t mean there is no solution. The commandment to forgive the offenses of others was given as much for the welfare of the injured party as for the benefit of the person being forgiven. Anger, bitterness, and vengefulness are more hurtful to the person harboring them than to the person who did the hurting. Unfortunately, some members of the Church have allowed their testimonies of the gospel to be shaken by the painful, adverse experiences of life. But the example of Christ makes several things clear.

 First, since Christ was perfect and committed no sin—but still suffered. it is clear that adversity and suffering are not always the result of our own sins.   Through his crucifixion was grossly unjust and completely unjustified, Christ’s attitude toward his tormentors was, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34.)

When some people face adversity, it can be easy to complain and become bitter.   It can overtake their vision, absorb their energy, and deprive them of the experiences the Lord wants them to receive. Realizing that adversity can include suffering, destitution, affliction, calamity, or disaster, how can we best use it as an opportunity for personal growth and development? Those who yield to adversity become weaker. To the valiant it is a stepping-stone to increased power.

 The prophet Alma taught, “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” (Alma 36:3).

Adversity will surface in some form in every life. How we prepare for it, how we meet it, makes the difference. We can be broken by adversity, or we can become stronger. The final result is up to the individual. Henry Fielding said: “Adversity is the trial of principle. Without it, a man hardly knows whether he is honest or not.” 

Difficulties can be a valuable tool in our pursuit for perfection. Adversity need have no necessary connection with failure. Proper self-management and self-discipline in all of our trials brings strength. If we are prepared, we can meet life’s challenges victoriously. We become His disciples when we continue faithfully under all circumstances—including suffering and tragedy.

Usually there are no easy answers to most of our problems. Each individual must think, plan, work, and pray to find the help he needs and the courage he must have to conquer his problem or carry his cross. Winners set achievable goals day by day. Their plans consist of things that can be done, not what can’t be done. They remember that God has not given us the spirit of fear, but the power of love and of a sound mind.

I mentioned earlier in my introduction that I moved here because I was running away from home. When I was 19 I met this man and we were married in the Temple. Immediately after we were married, he became abusive, something I never expected. After 3 months with this man, I decided I couldn’t live like this. But I had been sealed to this man and had made covenants with my Heavenly Father; something I knew was very serious. I agonized over the decision. I prayed all the time about what to do. I searched the scriptures desperately seeking guidance about whether I should stay with my new husband or leave. It was the most difficult time of my life. One day, while I was driving home from work, I had this feeling. I felt “If you’re going to leave, leave now.” I felt such a relief. There is no doubt that the Spirit was leading me. I filed for divorce and moved out, expecting that afterwards, the Lord would make things alright for me.  At first, it was difficult to see how that could happen. My friends not only abandoned me, they gossiped about me and turned against me, siding with my ex-husband. I couldn’t even tell them what had happened because they would not listen. I soon turned away from the church because it was filled with people who judged me as unworthy. My life was full of pain, and in an effort to ease that pain I made poor choices that only led to more pain.

One day, a friend of mine said she was moving to Arizona and that I should come with her. The next day, I packed a bag and headed west. It changed my life. Not only did the gossip and unfair judgment stop, but I soon found friends who led me back to church where I was able to repent and bring my life back into harmony with the gospel. I could already see the Lord blessing my life as I made the right choices and sought to bring Christ’s Atonement into my life.

When I decided to go back to church, the Lord opened doors for me. I eventually met my husband, who was teaching Sunday school in my ward. I also gained a stronger testimony of my Savior through studying the scriptures and attending the temple. I felt the Spirit in my life in a way that I had never had before. The adversity I faced was difficult, but as I relied on the Lord, the blessings I received made the trials seem so small in comparison. While I can’t say my life has been perfect, it has been filled with joy and peace. I would not trade that peace for anything.

*** closing
Christ’s suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross is only part of the story. He was resurrected, his wounds were healed, and he lives triumphant in peace and glory. Each of us who sincerely strives to live the gospel has the same promise.
Scripture, history, and personal experience all confirm that adversity is a part of life. Apparently it is an important and useful part, because few people escape it, and God makes no excuses or apologies for it. Fortunately we are not asked to understand, justify, or explain it, We are only asked to endure it and learn from it.

If adversity comes as a natural consequence of our own actions, with the Savior’s help, we are able to correct it through a process of repentance. If it comes through the action of others, we may not have any control over it, but a Christ like attitude of forgiveness can help to soften its emotional toll. If it comes about as an unavoidable, natural occurrence, it is important to recognize that no one is to blame, to accept it as a part of life’s experience, and to try to learn and grow from it.

Individually, we should thank God for the examples of those around us who battle and conquer daily challenges that are intense, real, and continuing. There are some people who may seem to have more than their share of trouble, but with God’s help they are made strong.
Satan wants us to feel unequal to our worldly tasks. If we turn to God, He will take us by the hand and lead us through our darkest hours.
To these truths I leave my testimony of the healing power of the atonement, the unconditional love from my Heavenly Father, and that this is the true gospel on this earth. In 1 Nephi 11:17 it states “And I said unto him: I know that he loveth his children: nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things.”. I know there will be adversity and hurt in my life but through this gospel I can have eternal happiness if I rely on my faith and the love of my Heavenly Father.  In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.


Unknown said...

This is only ONE reason I am so proud of you. I love you so much, Mommas

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