Objective: To learn to grow in compassion, humility, courage, and faith through life’s struggles.
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Marie Andersen [the name has been changed] learned to trust in the Lord after her young daughter was abused by an adult friend. The family had to suffer an ordeal of lengthy court appearances, during which the little girl herself had to testify.
Marie’s family felt frustrated—their private life exposed to the public. “I found it hard to keep up with my normal family and Church responsibilities,” she said, “and sometimes I felt myself confused and depressed.”
The Lord blessed Marie’s family with friends to help them through that difficult period. He also blessed Marie in another way. During that time, her new baby kept waking up at night—something none of her other children had done. Later, she understood why the baby had been so restless. “I felt the Spirit whisper that the Lord had made my baby wakeful so that I would not lie awake night after night worrying and agonizing,” she said. “The baby gave a purpose to my wakefulness and took my mind off our family’s problems.”
Though the trials we face may not be the same as Marie’s, we will all experience some hardship and suffering in mortality. “We live in an age when, as the Lord foretold, men’s hearts are failing them, not only physically but in spirit,” President Ezra Taft Benson said, adding that “Satan is increasingly striving to overcome the Saints with despair, discouragement, despondency, and depression.” (Tambuli, March 1987.)
Our trials need not overcome us. In fact, they can teach us humility, faith, courage, and compassion, and can ultimately help us become more Christlike. Through them, we can learn to develop charity, the pure love of Christ, which “beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, [and] endureth all things.” (1 Cor. 13:7; see also Moro. 7:45.)
To have charity for others and to trust in the Lord even in the face of trials may be a challenge. To aid us in such times, we can remember President Benson’s words: “Let your minds be filled with the goal of being like the Lord, and you will crowd out depressing thoughts as you anxiously seek to know him and do his will.” (Tambuli, March 1987.)
It takes great faith to endure and trust in the Lord despite pain, discouragement, suffering, or persecution. But we can learn much about endurance from Alma’s words: “As much as ye shall put your trust in God even so much ye shall be delivered out of your trials, and your troubles, and your afflictions, and ye shall be lifted up at the last day.” (Alma 38:5.)
Suggestions for Visiting Teachers
1. Discuss how suffering can humble us and help us become more Christlike.
2. You or the sister you visit may wish to share an experience when growth occurred as a result of a particular trial.
(See the Family Home Evening Resource Book, pages 138, 143, and 173–174 for related materials.)