When I was a child, one of my favorite parts of the day was waiting for my dad to come home from work. I would look out the window and see him coming, and I would count each of his steps toward the house, looking forward to the joy he brought. I never thought I would have to do without that feeling.
One day when I was seven years old, in my father’s place came a man with a somber face who stood at the door and told us that my father had been killed in an accident.
That day I was silent. I looked at my four-year-old brother and my mother, so young and alone, and I did not cry. I didn’t think it could be true, so I went to the window and stared at the street. I began to feel an unbearable force pressing down on my shoulders, a weight that would not let me breathe normally, a pressure that oppressed me.
Not long after my father’s death, I went into my room alone at the fading light of sunset and, as I had been taught, prayed to my Heavenly Father. I pleaded with Him to let me see my beloved father again, just to hug him. In my heart I was certain that Heavenly Father could give me this miracle.
That day I didn’t get to see my dad or hug him, but I was given much more. It was as if I felt the hands of the Savior on my shoulders. His presence was almost tangible as He removed the weight that pressed down on my chest.
Illustration by James Johnson
Now, over 20 years later, that relief has never left me. At times I have felt sadness but never emptiness at the loss of my father. I can look back and see how many times the Spirit has come to console me, help me, and show me the way to follow the Savior’s precious steps. I can feel His presence in my life thanks to that first trial, which helps me see everyday trials with an eternal perspective. I know it is the gospel in our lives that allows us to feel the invisible caress of the Savior’s hand.
I have married for eternity, and now my husband and I have three little girls, who bring a taste of heaven into our home. When I see them, I rejoice in the peace and knowledge that every sorrow, trial, and challenge in their lives can bring with it greater faith, new witnesses, and wonderful miracles. I rejoice in the profound certainty that when they need something beyond what my husband and I can give them, they will be protected, consoled, and saved, just as I was.
The Savior Can Heal and Strengthen
“Because of His infinite and eternal sacrifice (see Alma 34:14), [the Savior] has perfect empathy and can extend to us His arm of mercy. He can reach out, touch, succor, heal, and strengthen us to be more than we could ever be and help us to do that which we could never do relying only upon our own power. …
“The unique burdens in each of our lives help us to rely upon the merits, mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah (see 2 Nephi 2:8). I testify and promise the Savior will help us to bear up our burdens with ease (see Mosiah 24:15).”
Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “Bear Up Their Burdens with Ease,” Ensign, May 2014, 90.
Learning from Trials
While it is important to pray for strength and help in trials, it is also important to pray to learn from trials. You can pray for “eyes to see, and ears to hear” (Deuteronomy 29:4) the Lord’s tender mercies and grace in your life (see Ether 6:12).
Consider writing in your journal some of the lessons you have learned and some of the evidences of Heavenly Father’s love that you have experienced during a difficult time in your life.