Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, we can rise from our trials to become stronger and more capable.
The fire was roaring, engulfing not only the plane and its passengers but also the life that Stephanie Nielson once knew. Whether or not our trials arrive in the form of literal fire, they change our lives forever. Trials are inevitable; it’s our reactions to them that define us.
Like a phoenix, Nielson rose from the ashes of the plane and became a stronger force for good than she had been before. In “Beauty for Ashes,” she explains the process of refinement she went through. After being in a medically induced coma for four months and enduring countless surgeries and unimaginable agony, she had to come to terms with who she had become physically. At first she refused to look at her scarred face, but now she says: “In my scars I see strength, I see hope, and I see miracles. I see God.” This trial has become a way for her to help and uplift others.
Trials are not meant to break us but, rather, to change us. Job of the Old Testament understood this principle. He knew that the trials he was being asked to pass through were for his refinement and that he would “come forth as gold” (Job 23:10). Gold, in order to be made pure, must first be refined by removing all impurities through extreme heat. As we experience afflictions, it might be easy to feel like things will never get better. Thankfully—mercifully—while God might not always make our circumstances better, he will always make us better if we allow him to.
To hear Nielson’s story from her perspective, read or watch her devotional address: “Beauty for Ashes.”
Source: BYU–Idaho Speeches
—Laura Fuchs, Mormon Insights
feature image by takaharu sawa
Find more insights
To learn more about the refining process, watch The Refiner’s Fire.
Read or watch President Thomas S. Monson’s talk about being faithful in the midst of trials: “Tears, Trials, Trust, Testimony.”
Learn how the Provo City Center Temple went from a charred tabernacle to a House of the Lord.