In our premortal existence we shouted for joy at the prospect of coming to earth, where we would obtain a physical body, gain experience, and be tested. Part of this testing experience, we knew, would be afflictions of body and spirit.
Everyone struggles with adversity: illness, accidents, death of loved ones, and trials of all kinds that sometimes leave us wondering if we have the strength to carry on. President Brigham Young assures us, however, that “every vicissitude we pass through is necessary for experience and example, and for preparation to enjoy that reward which is for the faithful” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young , 262).
As we look heavenward for understanding and help, we can find comfort in knowing that a loving Father will not leave us alone in our hour of need (see D&C 24:8). Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, speaking in October 1998 general conference, reported on his experience and thoughts following his third heart attack, which required bypass surgery. During the time he was lying in a hospital bed and later convalescing at home, he pondered the meaning of life and the eternities. As he endured physical pain, he also thought of the deeper pain and anguish of the soul. He came to realize how important many types of caregivers are to the healing process: doctors, nurses, therapists, a loving spouse, parents, children, and friends. “The Lord is the ultimate caregiver,” he reflected. “We must surrender ourselves to the Lord. In doing so, we give up whatever is causing our pain and turn everything over to Him” (“Healing Soul and Body,” Ensign, Nov. 1998, 16).
In surrendering ourselves to the Lord, we need to actively seek His assistance. Prayer and fasting, scripture study, temple attendance, priesthood and patriarchal blessings, assistance from home teachers and visiting teachers, counsel from parents or priesthood leaders are all effective ways of exercising faith in Jesus Christ, learning His will, and receiving His blessings. As we seek the Lord’s help, we need to recognize that He may not always remove our trials. But He will always help us find the strength to endure them.
In the most sublime manifestation of love, the Savior took upon Himself the burden of our sins and infirmities, that through the power of His Atonement we can find healing and happiness.
Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles testified: “Safety, peace, joy, and security are found only in the life and mission of Jesus Christ, the Son of Almighty God. …
“Does that mean we will not have turmoil or personal problems or sickness or family challenges or employment difficulties? Not at all. But it does mean that if our faith is anchored securely in our testimonies of Christ, we will be able to cope with whatever adversity comes our way. … If we keep the eye of faith focused on Christ, we gain a broader view and an eternal perspective, and with that we can understand adversity from within the context of Heavenly Father’s eternal plan for all of His children” (“‘When Shall These Things Be?’” Ensign, Dec. 1996, 61).