I was called to teach a class of five-year-old children in Primary; therefore, I am no longer able to attend Sunday School and Relief Society. I enjoy little children, but I miss the adult discussions. I decided that I would study the Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Howard W. Hunter on my own. Since I am in school and do not have much time for extra study, I study the manual a section at a time.
This week I finished studying Chapter 3 “Adversity – Part of God’s Plan for Our Eternal Progress.” I was impressed by President Hunter’s upbeat attitude concerning adversity – particularly because he suffered much from it. After teaching that adversity is part of life and each of us faces some kind of adversity, he quoted the following from President Spencer W. Kimball who also knew a lot about adversity.
“Being human, we would expel from our lives physical pain and mental anguish and assure ourselves of continual ease and comfort, but if we were to close the doors upon sorrow and distress, we might be excluding our greatest friends and benefactors. Suffering can make saints of people as they learn patience, long-suffering, and self-mastery” [Faith Precedes the Miracle, (1972), 98].
President Hunter continued: “In that statement, President Kimball refers to closing doors upon certain experiences in life…. Doors close regularly in our lives, and some of those closings cause genuine pain and heartache. But I do believe that where one such door closes, another opens (and perhaps more than one), with hope and blessings in other areas of our lives that we might not have discovered otherwise.”
A few paragraphs later President Hunter stated: “All of us must finish our `preparations unto the children of men’ [Doctrine and Covenants 19:19]. Christ’s preparations were quite different from our own, but we all have preparations to make, doors to open. To make such important preparations often will require some pain, some unexpected changes in life’s path, and some submitting, `even as a child doth submit to his father’ [Mosiah 3:19]. Finishing divine preparations and opening celestial doors may take us – indeed, undoubtedly will take us – right up to the concluding hours of our mortal lives.
“We came to mortal life to encounter resistance. It was part of the plan for our eternal progress. Without temptation, sickness, pain, and sorrow, there could be no goodness, virtue, appreciation for well-being, or joy…. We must remember that the same forces of resistance which prevent our progress afford us also opportunities to overcome.”
I think it is part of the natural man to look at adversity as a negative part of our lives; however, I know that adversity is part of Heavenly Father’s plan for us in mortality. I know that adversity can strengthen and help us grow spiritually – just as exercise strengthens our physical bodies. I know that Jesus Christ overcame the ill effects of adversity through His atoning sacrifice, and I also know that Heavenly Father will help us overcome the adversity in our lives IF we put our trust in Him and keep His commandments.