Navigating Tough Times
August 2022

“Navigating Tough Times,” For the Strength of Youth, Aug. 2022.

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Navigating Tough Times

There’s a lot we can learn from Job about getting through trials.


Photograph from Getty Images

“Why do bad things happen to good people?
That question seems to have been around forever, and it’s a tough one to answer. When unfortunate things happen, it can be easy to ask, “Why does this have to happen?” or “Why now?” But these kinds of questions aren’t really helpful anyway. There is so much that we don’t know or understand. Thankfully, we have the love of Heavenly Father and the restored gospel of Jesus Christ to show us a better way.

A better question than “why?”
One of the greatest things we can learn in this life is to stop focusing on why bad things happen and instead ask ourselves: “How will I respond?” That’s what Job in the Old Testament found out.

Job’s Trials

Job and his family

Job and His Family, by Greg K. Olsen

Job was a righteous man who was blessed with a large family and great wealth (see Job 1:1–3). But his faith and loyalty to God were tested when everything was taken from him.

At first, Job’s animals were stolen or killed. Then a strong wind knocked down his house and killed his sons inside. Instead of being angry, Job said, “The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21).

More trials came Job’s way when he was afflicted with “sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown” (Job 2:7). Job’s friends told him that his suffering must have been caused by sin. They even suggested that he “curse God, and die” (Job 2:9). (What kind of “friends” would suggest that!?)

Still, Job refused to curse the Lord and stayed faithful. (That’s what a true friend does!)

Through it all, Job experienced moments of despair. But when the Lord saw Job’s faithfulness, He blessed Job with “twice as much as he had before” (Job 42:10).

Job didn’t know all the reasons why he had to suffer. But the Lord gave Job reasons to have faith and patience when times are tough. Job’s example can help us in the trials we face.

young man in wheelchair at a workbench

Trials Come to Everyone, Including the Righteous

Job’s friends mistakenly suggested that God must be punishing Job for some sin (see, for instance, Job 22). The truth is that though suffering can be a consequence of sin, we all experience trials—even when we’re living righteously. Jesus Christ was the only perfect person who ever lived, yet He suffered more than any other person. The scriptures teach that trials and challenges rain down “on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:45).

Even When God Is Silent, He Is Still There

Job’s suffering was made worse when he felt that God had deserted him. When God’s silence became unbearable, Job finally called out in anguish, “I cry unto thee, and thou dost not hear me” (Job 30:20). At times, we might feel like Job. What do we do when God seems silent in our suffering?

We can follow Job’s example and still turn to God in our feelings of rejection, anger, hurt, or grief. We might not notice it in the moment, but God is still with us. He may not deliver us from our trials, but He will strengthen us in our times of need. And remember, after Job’s trials, the Lord spoke to him again, taught him, corrected his friends, and blessed Job greatly.

Jesus Christ Knows

During difficult times, it can be hard to imagine that anyone could understand how you feel. But there was One who understood Job, and He is the same One who understands what you are going through.

Jesus Christ

Jesus Christ “suffer[ed] pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind” (Alma 7:11). He did this so He could personally feel and know our temptations, our struggles, our heartaches, and our sufferings. Because He knows these things, He knows how to help us get through them. (See Alma 7:12.)

All Will Be Made Right

Few people have had it as bad as Job. But your struggles are real, too. Through Job’s example, we can see the blessings that come through remaining faithful, trusting in God’s will, and choosing to believe when there seem to be many reasons not to.

Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has taught: “In the eternities, Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ will resolve all unfairness. … They have not revealed how or when. What I do know is that They will.”1

If we will faithfully respond to difficult trials just as Job did, we will learn and grow and be blessed in ways we never could have otherwise.

So hold on, stay faithful, and remember that God is with you always.