It all started when my dad left to go on a scuba diving trip with some friends. This was nothing new to my family—my dad loved scuba diving. But three days into his trip, my family received a call from the Coast Guard. They told us my dad was missing at sea and that they were doing everything they could to find him.
We started praying for a miracle, asking Heavenly Father to help us in any way He could. The answer to our prayer didn’t come in the way I imagined it. I prayed that my dad would somehow be alive, but eventually the Coast Guard called to give us the news: my dad had drowned and they had just found his body.
I was devastated. I fell down to my knees in anger, telling Heavenly Father this was not what I asked for. How could this be the answer to our prayers? I felt hopeless and overwhelmed with pain and loneliness. I was frustrated with God. I remember praying and asking, “Why me? What did I do to deserve this?” My best friend, role model, hero, and father was just taken out of my life. All I could think about was the future and how he wouldn’t be in it. I wanted him in my life, but I felt like that was no longer a possibility.
In that moment, I could’ve continued feeling angry, and I could’ve taken the path that Satan wanted me to take. But I realized that I had another choice. Instead of letting this trial destroy me, I could let it build me up and mold me into the person God wanted me to be.
This was such a life-changing realization for me. With a tremendous amount of faith, prayer, and scripture study, I chose to take the path that would lead me to my Father in Heaven. I felt comfort in knowing that although I wouldn’t physically have my dad, he would still be there. Many times since he died I’ve felt that my dad still loves me. Because of the plan of salvation, it is possible for him to still be in my life.
I’ve learned how important it is to build a relationship with our Heavenly Father and to have an eternal perspective. I wasn’t able to learn these things on my own, though—it was through my Savior and Heavenly Father. Because of them, I know that the plan of salvation is true. As challenging as life is, I’m grateful for every new experience. With new trials comes change. I’m changing in ways that I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to if it weren’t for my trials. The Lord has a plan for each of us, and I know that if we trust Him and replace our fear with faith, we can learn to be happy in every circumstance.