Friday, April 8, 2016

Why To "Hold on [Our] Way"

At the start of Elder Aoyagi's talk, he told the story of an earthquake that hit Japan, causing great tsunamis which dealt terrible damage. He said that, when these kinds of events happen, many are tempted to wonder why God permits such tragedies to happen and why there is so much suffering in the world. Elder Aoyagi taught that:
The trials of this earth—including illness and death—are a part of the plan of salvation and are inevitable experiences. It is necessary for us to “hold on [our] way” and accept our trials with faith.
The phrase "hold on [our] way," was borrowed from Doctrine and Covenants, Section 122, verse 9. In this passage of scripture, God was comforting Joseph Smith as he was experiencing some serious trials. In verse seven, God told the prophet, "all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good," and in verse nine, He encouraged him to "hold on thy way, [...] for [I] shall be with you forever and ever."

I believe that trials can work out to be for our good, if we learn from them and gain strength from them. Whether or not our trials end up helping us depends largely on our attitudes. If we continue with the instinctive, "Why is this happening to me" attitude, our trial will be nothing more to us than a trial. But if we exercise patience and stay faithful to the Lord despite our trials, if we "hold on [our] way," then our trials can strengthen us, just as resistance training strengthens an athlete.

Of course, maintaining a positive attitude and a firm resolve in the face of trials is easier said than done. That's where part of the strength we gain comes from. But God is also willing to ease our burdens, or at least comfort our souls and strengthen our shoulders, if we turn to Him. That's part of why it's such a good idea to stay faithful to God, even when He lets us experience trials; He helps us get through them.

Everyone experiences hardships in life. As Elder Aoyagi said, "The trials of this earth [...] are inevitable experiences." Both the faithful and the faithless endure them. The difference is that the faithful endure them well, and with divine help. I know that I want that help when I face trials and challenges, so I'm going to try to stay faithful to God, even when things go wrong and life gets hard. I know that God will help me get through my trials if I ask Him to, and that I'll have to face those trials either way. As long as trials and afflictions are a necessary part of life, we might as well try to stay faithful through them and endure them well, so God can continue to abide with us and strengthen us and help us cause those afflictions to work out for our good.

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