Questions. Everyone has them, like "What should I eat for breakfast this morning?" or "Why can't Grandma figure out the internet?" But there can be some questions that are a bit harder to answer, especially the ones about personal beliefs. My name is Lauren, and I've learned that it can be helpful to examine these types of questions from an eternal perspective. My friend Adry, she has been going through a really tough time. And she asked me, "If there really is a loving God, why would He allow people to suffer?" I've thought about that question myself a lot before. I just didn't know how to answer it right away. But I love my friend. I want to help her find a good answer, so I asked her to give me some time to think. I knew I needed the help of the Holy Ghost. I also knew that I needed to think about the assumptions or beliefs that she might have had about God that led her to ask the question in the way that she did.
Maybe she feels like suffering is always bad and shouldn't exist, or that God should stop all suffering, or maybe that God doesn't care, or maybe she feels like God doesn't exist at all. It was important for me to look at these beliefs or assumptions because it allowed me to see from Adry's point of view. After that, I looked at the same assumptions from an eternal perspective and compared them to my own beliefs--you know, what do I know about Heavenly Father, His plan, and how He deals with His children? And what gospel teachings relate to her question?
These questions helped me think about the truths that I know. And I know that God does exist, and He has a plan that helps us progress and become like Him. I know that God loves all of His children, and agency is an important part of His plan. We couldn't really progress without it. So God gives us agency even when our choices may cause others to suffer. And although suffering is difficult, it lets us grow spiritually by giving us the chance to develop patience, faith, and compassion for others. And God doesn't leave us alone. Through Jesus Christ's Atonement, we can receive strength to overcome and endure suffering. When I stepped back and looked at Adry's question from an eternal perspective, I was able to reframe it and see it differently. I can better understand why Heavenly Father would allow His children to suffer. I've learned that when we turn to God in faith, we will find truths that will help us to respond to even the hardest questions.