I’ve had a hard life even though I’m just a teenager. Why have all these bad things happened to me and my family? It seems like the other teens in the ward have an enjoyable, fun life. Why am I the one with the problems?
Everyone has problems, but knowing that may not make you feel better about your own situation. It is true that some people have very difficult things to face in this life. Why does a loving Heavenly Father allow bad things to happen to his sons and daughters? Why is it that when you have been trying your hardest to live the gospel, nothing seems to change for the better?
We received many excellent letters in answer to this question. One young woman wrote, “I am the oldest of six children in a troubled household. When there is a problem, I need to be the strong and responsible one, so the younger ones don’t worry. One night I just sat up crying and asked Heavenly Father, ‘Why me? Why am I having these problems? What am I going to do?’ The second verse of ‘Come, Come, Ye Saints’ came into my head:
(Hymns, no. 30).”
Our Heavenly Father could arrange it so that every evil thing was immediately corrected, so there was no death or pain. But that wasn’t his plan. We were given agency—the ability to make our own decisions and choices. God lets the consequences of our actions, the actions of others, and natural laws take place. We live on an earth where accidents happen, where disease and catastrophes exist, and where people who choose evil hurt other people. Why? Because every action and choice mean something. We learn to be sons and daughters of God by following his guidance, by listening to his word, just as we learn from our earthly parents and church leaders. We truly do have to take a stand, to choose to follow our Heavenly Father or Satan. And only by choosing our Heavenly Father will we be given what we ultimately want—joy. That’s why someone can have a parent die or go through a catastrophe and still feel peaceful. Sure, they wish that it didn’t have to be that way, but our Heavenly Father has promised us that we will not be left comfortless. We can feel his peace even when our lives are incredibly hard.
One danger is feeling that we are not worth God’s attention or that God can’t really care about us. That is a lie that Satan tells. Our Heavenly Father always loves us, especially in moments when problems in our lives are hurting us. Our Heavenly Father has promised, “Search diligently, pray always, and be believing, and all things shall work together for your good” (D&C 90:24). That is a promise you can count on.
Look at how many good things have happened to you instead of just the bad things. And remember you aren’t the only one out there with problems.
William Stevenson, 12 Santee, California
If we really trust in the Lord and believe all he has promised, he will not allow us to suffer more than we can bear. I urge you to bear all things that come your way, knowing that we are here on earth to be tested and proved. Remember Job.
Jennifer Nweke Onwudnjo Port Harcourt, Nigeria
When I was 14, I accepted the gospel and have been waiting to be baptized ever since. My two sisters are members. I’ve learned that we shouldn’t only be grateful for the blessings we receive but also for the trials. Show the Lord you would do anything for him. “Whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials” (Alma 36:3).
Katarina Mirosnicenko, 15 Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Bad things may happen to good people. You should forgive those who wrong you. The Lord commanded us to love one another. When we forgive, we are happier.
Linden Martin, 13 Nogales, Arizona
Many times struggles and hard times can make you stronger. Be humble and have patience. Pray to God, have faith in him, and he will guide you towards happiness.
Anmol Rachika, 17 Tavua, Fiji
When we have problems, trials, disappointments, or discouragements, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a punishment because we have done something wrong. It is not God saying, I don’t love you. But it is an opportunity for us to grow in a new way. In Doctrine and Covenants 24:8, the Lord encourages us, “Be patient in afflictions, for thou shalt have many; but endure them, for, lo, I am with thee, even unto the end of thy days.” [D&C 24:8]
Elder Zionist C. Wagabaza, 21 Kenya Nairobi Mission Kambala, Uganda
In the past, it seemed to me that I was the only young person in my ward facing difficulties in my life, but I soon realized I wasn’t the only one with problems. Other people may have problems we don’t know about. Ask Heavenly Father for help, and eventually you will be comforted.
Alison Collier, 18 Nottingham, England
When I read this question, I immediately thought of Job in the Old Testament. He lost everything that he had. I look at all my trials and realize that they are nothing compared to his. It also gives me great strength to know that he withstood his trials, and I can withstand mine too.
Dan Collingridge, 16 Vernon, British Columbia, Canada