How can I tell if my trials are meant to help me become better or if they are Heavenly Father’s way of warning me that I am headed down the wrong path?

“How can I tell if my trials are meant to help me become better or if they are Heavenly Father’s way of warning me that I am headed down the wrong path?” Liahona, June 2011, 46–47

Questions & Answers

“How can I tell if my trials are meant to help me become better or if they are Heavenly Father’s way of warning me that I am headed down the wrong path?”

Trials can help you become better—no matter what their cause—if you use them to grow spiritually.

Your conscience will let you know if you’re heading down the wrong path. If you feel bad about something you’ve done, pray to Heavenly Father and ask for His forgiveness. Try to fix whatever problems you’ve caused. You might also seek counsel from your parents and priesthood leaders. These steps will help you feel better and get you going in the right direction.

Trials that are not the result of sin can also help you become better. These kinds of trials can test your faith or patience or can teach you about yourself. To use these trials for your growth, ask yourself what you can learn from them and what you can do better.

Your faith can be strengthened during trials if you ask for Heavenly Father’s help. As the Savior did when He was suffering, you can pray “more earnestly” (see Luke 22:44). Heavenly Father might remove the trial, or He can strengthen you to bear it well (see Mosiah 24:14–15).

Friends and Family Can Help

One of the ways that Heavenly Father warns me when I am heading down the wrong path is that He will inspire friends or family members to share their testimonies or a personal experience with me. If I feel guilt or a desire to change as they share their feelings, I know that I need to repent and make some changes in my life.

Luis S., age 17, Florida, USA

Search Your Heart

Search your heart to know whether what you are doing is truly something our Father in Heaven would want you to do. We have the Holy Ghost in our lives to teach us good from evil. If you seek God and ask, the Holy Ghost will show you what you must do. Whether the trial is to teach or warn, it serves the same purpose: to help you grow and become perfected in Christ if you react with faith and reliance on the Lord.

Emily B., age 18, California, USA

The Lord Will Comfort You

Heavenly Father meant for all trials to become strengthening experiences and shape you into a better person. It’s all in how you handle them. I know that some trials seem like too much for us to get through, but they will bless us in time if we have faith. I always try to remember what the Lord told us: “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you” (John 14:18). With this knowledge you can overcome any trial you face, and you will grow stronger. If you feel like Heavenly Father is warning you that you are headed down the wrong path, have faith and listen to the promptings of the Spirit so you can hold on to the iron rod. He loves you and always wants you to be the best you can as He helps you through life.

Olivia B., age 18, Minnesota, USA

Think about It

I feel the best way to find out the purpose of the trial is to fast and pray about it sincerely. Also try thinking about it. If you overcame the trial, would you become a better person or would you remain unchanged? If you think overcoming the trial will make you better and happier, then you are on the right path.

Ammon K., age 16, Utah, USA

Stay on the Right Path

We should read our scriptures and pray daily, and if we are doing those things and are in tune with the Holy Ghost, God will make it known to us what choices we should and shouldn’t make. If you think the path you are going down isn’t one your Father in Heaven would choose for you, turn back. Always stay on the strait and narrow.

Elizabeth P., age 15, Pennsylvania, USA

Pray to Learn from Trials

Our Heavenly Father always gives us trials throughout our lives, and they are to strengthen us in His gospel and in our faith. If we are on a bad path, that is the consequence of the bad choices we made. Always pray so that God will strengthen you and help you discern what is good from that trial. I have a firm testimony that the trials Heavenly Father puts in our way are to edify us, to increase our testimony, to help us learn not to fall again, or to help others through our experience.

Ruddy R., age 17, Guayas, Ecuador

Trials Can Warn

I think that all trials are meant to make us stronger, even if sometimes it doesn’t seem like it. When I was 14, I became ill and had to take eight months off from school and study from home. This trial helped to make me a better, stronger person. It helped me appreciate what I have. Sometimes trials can make us reevaluate where we are going in life, so they can be a good warning bell.

Jennifer P., age 17, North Island, New Zealand

Be Patient

If the hardships are a result of breaking a commandment, then it’s probably a warning. But if they are out of your control, they may be there to help you grow. I would pray and ask Heavenly Father if there is something you need to change or learn from this experience, and if so, ask Him to let you know what it is. Pray for strength and comfort. And be patient; the answer may be on its way.

Michaela P., age 17, Idaho, USA