When the unrelenting trials in my life were threatening to tear me down, I was reminded by a general conference talk that “hard is good.”
By the time the weekend of the October 2017 general conference arrived, I was completely overwhelmed. I felt like I had thirty-five hours of work to do in twelve hours; I had bills to pay and food to buy with barely enough money; and I still had to find ways to magnify my calling, pay tithing, and serve those around me. On top of all that, I was trying to combat growing feelings of depression and anxiety. I distinctly recall thinking these exact words: When will it get easier?
With a sincere prayer in my heart, I watched general conference and received a clear, unexpected answer from Elder Stanley G. Ellis‘s talk, “Do We Trust Him? Hard Is Good.” Elder Ellis says that “hard makes us stronger, humbles us, and gives us a chance to prove ourselves.” He recounts the stories of the faithful pioneers and of the prophet Nephi in the Book of Mormon and goes on to remind us that even God had to do a hard thing in sacrificing his beloved son, Jesus Christ, by letting him suffer for the sins of humankind. As I considered these stories, I was reminded of the adversity Joseph Smith endured in Liberty Jail. In response to Joseph’s hardship, God says, “The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?” (Doctrine and Covenants 122:7).
I’ve been told time and time again by people who genuinely care, “Count your blessings. Change your perspective. It will get easier.” While that may not be bad advice, it generally does not provide the comfort I am looking for or the reassurance that I am desperately in need of; it does not always alleviate the pressures and fears I feel when things are hard. Sometimes hard times are just hard—but the good news is that we can still get through such times while building our testimonies and standing strong with faith in Christ.
Here’s what has helped me to continue on:
- Pondering the past. I have remembered the strength of my testimony as I’ve recalled other times when Heavenly Father gave me the biggest blessings after I had endured my most wearying trials.
- Reflecting on my patriarchal blessing. I have been reminded that the blessings are there, and I don’t have to passively wait for them; I can work toward becoming the person Heavenly Father knows I can be.
- Putting the Lord first. I continue doing the things that I know make me stronger: I pay tithing, study the scriptures regularly, pray always, and attend church.
Though my situation hasn’t changed—I still have too much to do in too little time and too much to pay for with not enough money—I know that blessings will come because I’m doing what I can, and I know that I will be a stronger and more Christlike person if I face my trials with patience and faith. Heavenly Father trusts me to do what is right so I can live with him again, but I have to continually ask myself if I fully trust him and his plan for me. Can I confidently answer, “Yes”? I don’t know when life will get easier, but I do know that “hard is good.”
Read “Do We Trust Him? Hard Is Good,” by Elder Stanley G. Ellis, to learn about more inspiring examples of people who have endured hard trials with faith.
—Nicole Terry, Mormon Insights
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Find more ways you can be strengthened in your trials by reading “I Can Do All Things through Christ,” from the July 1996 Ensign.