10710_000_014We had endured so many challenges—why would the Lord allow our struggles to continue?
Many years ago, my husband’s employer was having financial problems, and our paychecks came irregularly. We tried to be patient with the situation, but after several months, paychecks stopped coming altogether, and my husband started looking for other work.
As the weeks stretched into months, our resources dwindled and our spirits sagged. It became increasingly uncomfortable to answer inquiries from concerned ward members regarding my husband’s job search—I knew they meant well, but I didn’t like being reminded of our situation. I continued to attend ward meetings and fulfill my calling, but I kept to myself.
I prayed for relief for our family, but I became increasingly frustrated and resentful, especially toward the Lord. We had endured other challenges, including the death of a child, and I believed that our time for respite had come. I couldn’t understand why the Lord would allow our financial struggles to continue.
One day I felt I needed to spend some time with our son. I called a friend, an older woman in our ward, to see if she would care for our young daughter while I joined my son at school for lunch. She cheerfully accepted.
When I finished lunch and went to pick up my daughter, I had every intention of quickly giving my thanks and slipping out, but my wise and loving friend stopped me and asked how I was doing. One thing led to another, and I shared, through tears, my anger and resentment toward the Lord. “My prayers are not being answered,” I told her. “If they are, I can’t see the answers.”
I will never forget the counsel she gave me. My friend explained that we are here on earth to be proven, and we will always have trials. Our job is to endure them well. She said she was enduring trials that had lasted for decades, including difficulties with a family business and complications of marrying outside of the Church. In a very loving way, she helped me see that I was not alone. She quoted Proverbs 3:5: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.”
When I returned home, I pondered my friend’s words. Although her life was riddled with hardship, she recognized and showed gratitude for the Lord’s hand in her life. I realized that by feeling sorry for myself, I had overlooked the blessings our family had been given. Our family was healthy; we had the food, clothing, and shelter we needed; and we were blessed with the gospel of Jesus Christ. As my thoughts turned to these blessings, my resentment began to fade away and I felt peace and comfort. I realized that the Lord had, indeed, heard my prayers.
It was still many months before my husband found work, and it was not the last time hardship would visit our family. But through the example of a loving friend who had a constant trust in the Lord, I have become better prepared to deal with life’s trials and recognize the Lord’s answers to my prayers.
Lean on My Faith
“Hold fast to what you already know and stand strong until additional knowledge comes. …
“… What was once a tiny seed of belief for me has grown into the tree of life, so if your faith is a little tested in this or any season, I invite you to lean on mine.”
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “Lord, I Believe,” Ensign, May 2013, 94, 95.