“Face Life’s Tests with the Savior’s Help,” New Era, Apr. 2019, page–page.
Every person living is in the midst of a test. We have been granted by God the precious gift of life in a world created as a proving ground and a preparatory school. The tests we will face, their severity, their timing, and their duration will be unique for each of us. But two things will be the same for all of us. They are part of the design for mortal life.
First, the tests at times will stretch us enough for us to feel the need for help beyond our own. And, second, God in His kindness and wisdom has made the power of deliverance available to us.
Now you might well ask, “Since Heavenly Father loves us, why does His plan of happiness include trials that could overwhelm us?” It is because His purpose is to offer us eternal life. He wants to give us a happiness that is only possible as we live as families forever in glory with Him. And trials are necessary for us to be shaped and made fit to receive that happiness that comes as we qualify for the greatest of all the gifts of God.
There are many different tests, but I will speak of only three. You may be in one of these tests now. It helps to know that these tests do not come from random chance or from a cruel God. For each, the power of deliverance is available—not to escape the test but to endure it well.
The first test we will consider is the tragedy that death can bring. Life ends early for some and eventually for us all. Each of us will be tested by facing the death of someone we love. The hardest part of that test is to know what to do with the sorrow, the loneliness, and the loss that can feel as if a part of us has been lost. Grief can persist like a chronic ache. And for some there may be feelings of anger or injustice.
The Savior’s Atonement and Resurrection give Him the power to deliver us in such a trial. Through His experience He came to know all our griefs. He could have known them by the inspiration of the Spirit. But He chose instead to know by experiencing them for Himself (see Alma 7:11–12).
The Savior not only understands and feels grief but also feels your personal grief that only you feel. And He knows you perfectly. He knows your heart. So He can know which of the many things you can do that will be best for you as you invite the Holy Ghost to comfort and bless you. It is by the inspiration of the Spirit that we can have a testimony of the power of the Savior’s Resurrection and a clear view of the glorious reunion ahead.
One day, we all will be resurrected. The loved one who dies will be resurrected as the Savior was. The reunion we will have with them will not be ethereal but with bodies that need never die nor age nor become infirm. I have felt that comfort when I looked down at the gravestone of someone I knew—someone that I know I can at some future time hold in my arms. Knowing that, I was not only delivered from grief but was filled with happy anticipation.
We came to earth to be tested to stay faithful to God through the physical and spiritual challenges that come to everyone. Even though the body is a magnificent creation, keeping it functioning is a challenge that tests us all.
Beyond the challenges of the body that come from within, we face the opposition of enemies from without. There is anger and hatred in the world around us, and some of it will at times be directed at us.
There is a guide for receiving the Lord’s power of deliverance from opposition in life. It is, “Be thou humble; and the Lord thy God shall lead thee by the hand, and give thee answer to thy prayers” (Doctrine and Covenants 112:10).
The Savior showed us that humility. You have read of how He prayed in the garden while He was suffering a trial on our behalf beyond our ability to comprehend or to endure, or even for me to describe. You remember His prayer: “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42).
The Father did not deliver the Son by removing the trial. For our sakes He did not do that, and He allowed the Savior to finish the mission He came to perform. Yet we can forever take courage and comfort from knowing of the help that the Father did provide:
“And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.
“And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:43–46).
The Savior prayed for deliverance. What He was given was not an escape from the trial but comfort enough to pass through it gloriously.
All of us will at times struggle to feel free from the effects of sin. Only the Savior had the power to resist every temptation and never sin. So the most important and most difficult trial for us all is to become clean and to know that we are. This requires humility before God. It takes submission to His will. It takes prayer and the willingness to obey. It takes serving others out of love for them and for the Savior. And it always requires and invites the Holy Ghost.
As you are delivered in trials, the Holy Ghost comes to you. Many of you have felt the result of frequent contact with the Holy Ghost. As that recurred again and again, you may have noticed a change in yourself. The temptations that once troubled you seemed to fade. People who once seemed difficult began to appear more lovable. You began to see almost unreasonable potential in very humble people. You came to care more about their happiness than about your own.
If that change in you came, it was more likely gradual than sudden. Yet it was what the scriptures call the “mighty change” (Mosiah 5:2; Alma 5:12–14). And it is the evidence you and I need to have hope and assurance as we look forward to the great and final test (the final Judgment) that comes after this life.
I bear you my solemn witness that God the Father lives and loves us. I know that. His plan of happiness is perfect, and it is a plan of happiness. Jesus Christ was resurrected, as we will be. He suffered so that He could succor us in all of our trials. He paid the ransom for all of our sins and those of all of Heavenly Father’s children so that we could be delivered from death and sin. I know that in the Church of Jesus Christ the Holy Ghost can come to comfort and to cleanse us as we follow the Master.
I leave you my witness and my love, and I bless you that you may receive sufficient comfort and succor in your times of need, through all the tests and trials of your life.