“Be Patient in Afflictions,” Ensign, July 2011, 59
Beginning with complications from a strep infection at age 10, I have spent the past 30 years in and out of hospitals. I have had four kidney transplants, two bone fusions, two neurological operations, and more than two dozen other surgeries. Due to side effects of the medications I need to take, I have also developed osteoporosis, arthritis, and numerous other maladies.
Despite experiencing chronic pain and many disappointments, I have learned to distance myself from negative thoughts and focus on recognizing Heavenly Father’s hand in my life. Over the years, the words of the Lord to the Prophet Joseph Smith have been particularly meaningful for me: “Be patient in afflictions, for thou shalt have many; but endure them, for, lo, I am with thee, even unto the end of thy days” (D&C 24:8).
One of the greatest blessings I have received is the opportunity to serve others. There was a time when I struggled with depression, and looking back, I realize that I was spending all of my time and energy thinking about my problems and feeling sorry for myself. But an inspired Church leader called me to work with a special-needs Mutual group. Being able to serve these choice spirits of our Heavenly Father quickly brought me out from my emotional void. I found that when I forgot myself and spent my energy helping others, the deep sadness disappeared and I became happy and content with my life.
I know that the Savior has been with me throughout my trials, and I take comfort in the knowledge of the Resurrection, that someday I will be restored to a perfect body free of infirmities (see Alma 11:43). I know that if it were Heavenly Father’s will, I could be healed. However, I also know that He allows us to experience adversity so that we can grow and become more like Him. Knowing that He wants only what is best for me makes it easier to say, “Thy will be done.”
The healing power of Christ’s Atonement has no adverse side effects; it is perfect and complete. I know that as we have faith in Him and follow His example, we will be filled with happiness and hope.