Friend to Friend: Tragedy or Destiny?


Spencer W. Kimball

Tragedy or Destiny?

 President Spencer W. Kimball

We knew before we were born that we were coming to the earth for bodies and experience, and that we would have joys and sorrows, ease and pain, comforts and hardships, health and sickness, successes and disappointments. We knew also that after a period of life we would die. With a glad heart, we eagerly accepted the chance to come earthward even though it might be for only a day or a year. We were willing to take life as it came—without murmur, complaint, or unreasonable demands.

God controls our lives and guides and blesses us, but He gives us our free agency. We may live our lives in accordance with His plan for us or we may foolishly shorten or terminate our lives.

I am confident that there is a time to die, but I believe also that many people die before their time because they are careless, abuse their bodies, take unnecessary chances, or expose themselves to hazards, accidents, and sickness.

The Lord does not always heal the sick. He does not always relieve suffering and distress. These may be part of a purposeful plan. Suffering can make saints of people as they learn patience, long suffering, and self-mastery.

The gospel teaches us there is no tragedy in death, but only in sin. Everyone must die. Death is an important part of life. Death may be the opening of the door to opportunity. Of course, we are never quite ready for the change. Not knowing when it should come, we fight to retain our life. Yet we ought not to be afraid of death.

The sufferings of our Savior were part of His education. My heart wants to weep for joy for our knowledge of the importance of His death, His resurrection, and His atoning sacrifice.

In the face of apparent tragedy we must put our trust in God, knowing that despite our limited view His purposes will not fail. With all its troubles, life offers us the tremendous privilege to grow in knowledge, wisdom, faith, and works as we prepare to return and share God’s glory.