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YA Weekly

4 Truths to Help You Find Strength in Challenges

Leah Barton
01/23/22 | 4 min read
After the passing of my brother, I found comfort in these four gospel truths.

When I was 18, my family was notified that my older brother, Ben, who had been serving a mission in Santiago, Chile, had died. The news rattled my faith and upended all I had understood about life up to that point.

Even though we don’t always know why we must suffer in this life, there are some things we do know because of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Here are four gospel truths that helped me find comfort following my brother’s death—truths that have continued to help me as I’ve encountered other trials.

1. Adversity is a condition of mortality.

Adversity is part of the plan of salvation. We experience some trials simply because we live in a fallen world. Other suffering is meant to test us during this mortal journey. Elder Stanley G. Ellis, an emeritus General Authority Seventy, said, “Hard is part of the gospel plan. One of the purposes of this life is for us to be proven.”1 To progress as children of God, we need to face opposition, which may come through temptations and trials.

As I struggled to understand Ben’s death and poured out my heart to God, I felt to my core that the plan of salvation was real. I knew where Ben was, and that was comforting, even though I wanted him here. By remembering God’s plan, I was able to look to the Lord with hope rather than reproach.

2. Each of us has agency.

Another truth that has comforted me is that I am here in mortality by my own choice. I can’t pick my trials, but in the premortal life I chose to come here, knowing that trials would be part of my experience. Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught, “Our very presence on earth as physical beings is the consequence of a choice each of us made to participate in our Father’s plan.”2 Although we knew we would face challenges, we also knew that immortality and eternal life were worth it.

Trials will come our way and often there’s nothing we can do about it, but because of our agency we can choose how to move forward. The bitterness I felt about Ben’s death made it hard for me to have faith for a while. However, as I continued to seek answers and pray for help, I gradually felt the Holy Ghost provide comfort and confirm everything I knew about the gospel. I knew I needed my Savior in order to cope with my grief and continue to live my life. So I chose to turn to Him for peace and felt spiritual strength and power as I chose to remain faithful.

3. Trials can be an opportunity for growth.

Heavenly Father allows trials into our lives because they are opportunities for us to grow in faith. As President Russell M. Nelson taught, “Your flourishing faith will help you turn challenges into unparalleled growth and opportunity.”3

When Ben died, my faith was strained. I always knew Christ had experienced my pain, but now I had a pain I needed Him to help me carry. I always knew that families sealed in the temple could be together forever, but now I knew how terrible it was to be separated from them. This experience helped me grow spiritually and solidified my testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ, which then instilled in me a desire to serve my own mission.

4. We are never alone.

In the midst of our trials, we can forget the necessity of opposition in our lives, but Heavenly Father’s plan enables us to receive support even in our darkest moments. Elder Ulisses Soares of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has assured us that “Christ is ever aware of the adversities we experience in mortality. … He is always ready to succor us. This is possible because He personally experienced and took upon Himself in the flesh the pain of our weakness and infirmities … , thus becoming our ultimate spiritual caregiver.”4

Even though my family and I missed Ben, his loss was different for each of us. We each needed the Savior’s special, individualized care. Weeks after Ben’s funeral, I moved across the country to start college, and I would have felt completely alone in my grief if it hadn’t been for the Lord. In addition to comforting me almost constantly, He sent people my way who befriended and cared for me.

In the end, these four truths haven’t always removed my suffering, but they have helped me grow closer to the Savior. I know I’ll suffer more trials before my life is over, but living the gospel helps me have an eternal perspective and have hope in the day when “God shall wipe away all tears from [our] eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain” (Revelation 21:4).

I look forward to that day.

Discover More

You can find more Life Skills articles to help you navigate everyday life each month in YA Weekly, located in the Gospel Library under Magazines or Adults > Young Adults.

You can submit your own article, ideas, or feedback at liahona.ChurchofJesusChrist.org. We can’t wait to hear from you!

Notes

1. Stanley G. Ellis, “Do We Trust Him? Hard Is Good,” Liahona, Nov. 2017, 113.
2. D. Todd Christofferson, “Free Forever, to Act for Themselves,” Liahona, Nov. 2014, 17.
3. Russell M. Nelson, “Christ Is Risen; Faith in Him Will Move Mountains,” Liahona, May 2021, 104; emphasis in original.
4. Ulisses Soares, “Jesus Christ: The Caregiver of Our Soul,” Liahona, May 2021, 83, 84.

Photograph by Tyler Lewis


Leah Barton
Leah Barton served a mission in Brazil and has a degree in English. She enjoys reading classic literature, spending time outdoors, and traveling. She lives in New Mexico, USA, with her husband and two kids.
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