I have new practice of filling my extra time with interesting reading and then grabbing the highlights and organizing them in a way that helps me retrieve them when needed. I’ll go into this new habit soon enough. Today, I want to focus on one of the gems of some recent study.
I always thought when people expressed that their trials seem to come in waves that they were just seeing their life in a pessimistic light. Of course, if I look back into my journal I would probably notice the pattern holding true for me and my family as well. And, as I was recently studying an address from Elder Richard G. Scott, he seemed to share the same sentiment:
“Just when all seems to be going right, challenges often come in multiple doses applied simultaneously. When those trials are not consequences of your disobedience, they are evidence that the Lord feels you are prepared to grow more. He therefore gives you experiences that stimulate growth, understanding, and compassion which polish you for your everlasting benefit. To get you from where you are to where He wants you to be requires a lot of stretching, and that generally entails discomfort and pain.”
(Richard G. Scott, Conference Report, Oct. 1995)
Does that sound familiar? Just when all seems to be going right, challenges often come in multiple doses applied simultaneously? Problems seem to either invite more problems, or weaken us in a way that makes small problems seem much bigger than they might really be.
Seeing those moments as “evidence that the Lord feels you are prepared to grow more” may be the key to not only weathering the storms but allowing the polishing we really do desire. Much of our success may lean on the glasses through which we try to see our challenges. And there are ways to acquire those glasses…
Sometimes in the middle of the “multiple doses”, I try to imagine what I want to teach my children down the road or share with a congregation about what I learned and how I grew during the current trial. As I imagine the lessons learned, I try to determine how I should act now so that I will be able to genuinely teach those principles in the coming years. That perspective–which is not often easy for me to develop–often helps me start down the road of inspired problem solving much earlier than is my personal pattern. More quickly, I learn to lean on God, ask for inspired advice from family and friends, humble myself, and repent (when needed, which for me is more often than not). As I emerge from the other side of the challenge, it is easier to discern the lessons and pinpoint the principles.
So, here’s to the “multiple doses” since they seem to come anyway. Maybe they are proof of “good things to come” (Hebrews 10:1)…