Why do bad things happen, even to good people?
Philosophers and theologians have wrestled with that question for centuries. However we have something many philosophers and theologians don’t have. We have revelation, both ancient and modern. So, rather than just asking why these things happen, let’s ask a slightly different question: What do we know for sure?
Here are five scriptures that will help us find comfort in the things we do know.
1. We Know That God Loves His Children! (1 Nephi 11:17)
Early in the Book of Mormon, an angel asks Nephi a tough question: “Knowest thou the condescension of God?” Nephi’s answer is a perfect statement for us to remember in times of trial. “I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things” (1 Nephi 11:16–17).
We don’t know the meaning of all things. We don’t have all the answers to explain all the tragedies in the world and in our own neighborhoods. However, we know that God loves His children.
Something wonderful happens when we really know, without a doubt, that God loves us—our questions completely change. Instead of asking, “Why did this happen to me?” or “Why doesn’t God care about me?” we say, “Well, I know God loves me; I know that. So what can I learn from this experience?”
2. We Know That God Allows Evil to Exist in the World (Moses 7:26–33)
In the Pearl of Great Price, Enoch sees a frightening vision of Satan laughing at the world covered in darkness and chains. (Chains often symbolize bondage in the scriptures.) But he also sees the Lord, who looks down on the sinful world and weeps.
“Behold these thy brethren; they are the workmanship of mine own hands, and I gave unto them their knowledge, in the day I created them; and in the Garden of Eden, gave I unto man his agency;
“And unto thy brethren have I said, and also given commandment, that they should love one another, and that they should choose me, their Father; but behold, they are without affection, and they hate their own blood” (Moses 7:32–33).
Clearly, the Lord desires that we love one another and choose to obey Him. But some do not. Everyone on earth has agency, and sometimes those who misuse it have an impact on many innocent people. But the Lord notices the tragedies on the earth, and He is affected by them. He weeps.
Many of the bad things that happen are contrary to God’s will. But remember that man’s will is temporary, and ultimately God’s will is what will be done.
3. We Know Our Work Is Not Finished! (Alma 14:13)
When Alma and Amulek taught the people of Ammonihah, some of them were so wicked that they built a bonfire and threw the believing women and children into the flames. Forced to watch the horrible suffering, Amulek asks, “How can we witness this awful scene?”
Alma answers: “The Spirit constraineth me that I must not stretch forth mine hand; for behold the Lord receiveth them up unto himself, in glory.”
Those who believed in God were received unto Him in glory! They died, but they were going to a glorious place.
Amulek says, “Perhaps they will burn us also.”
Alma replies, “Be it according to the will of the Lord. But, behold, our work is not finished; therefore they burn us not” (Alma 14:10–13; emphasis added).
In other words, don’t let this tragedy define your life! You still have your own mission. Like Alma and Amulek, perhaps you were spared because your work is not finished!
But what about those who die in such tragedies? Does that mean their work is finished? Perhaps their work on earth is finished, but there is more work to do in the spirit world.
So live life at its fullest. I believe the Lord will hold us accountable for what we did with our lives whether we have trials or not, whether we marry or not, and whether our life is easy or not.
4. We Know the Atonement Is Not Just for Sinners (Alma 7:11–12)
Jesus not only suffered for the things we do that are wrong, but He also suffered for the things which happen to us—things over which we have no control.
Alma taught: “And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind. … And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people” (Alma 7:11–12).
The words “sin” or “sins” do not appear anywhere in those two verses. But notice the other words—things in addition to sins that Jesus took upon him: pains, afflictions, temptations, sicknesses, and infirmities. We must rely on the Atonement to help us through our personal tragedies.
5. One Day, the Lord Will Reveal All Things (D&C 101:32–36)
We may never have all the answers in this life. But through all the chaos, the faithful will look for answers in the scriptures, where the answers don’t change. And one day, the Lord will answer all our questions:
“Yea, verily I say unto you, in that day when the Lord shall come, he shall reveal all things—
“Things which have passed, and hidden things which no man knew, things of the earth, by which it was made, and the purpose and the end thereof” (D&C 101:32–33).
Think of the perplexing questions regarding the creation of the universe, the origin of the dinosaurs, and the age of the earth. The Lord will reveal “things of the earth, by which it was made, and the purpose and the end thereof.” But that’s not all: “Things most precious, things that are above, and things that are beneath, things that are in the earth, and upon the earth, and in heaven” (D&C 101:34).
The Ultimate Answer
You may have noticed the title of this article, “Five Scriptures That Will Help You Get through Almost Anything.”
Ultimately, it is not the scriptures that help get us through things, but the Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the scriptures testify. He is the one who will help us get through anything and everything. Because of Jesus Christ, we can remove the word “almost.” Jesus didn’t almost conquer death and hell; He conquered it. Jesus didn’t almost accomplish the infinite and eternal Atonement; He accomplished it. The language of the scriptures is absolute when it comes to power of the Savior.
He promises us the power to overcome all things: “By giving heed and doing these things which ye have received, and which ye shall hereafter receive—and the kingdom is given you of the Father, and power to overcome all things” (D&C 50:35; emphasis added).
While we may not have all the answers in this life, the Lord does, and we can trust Him more than anyone or anything in this world. He will help us get through everything.
Share your experience
What scriptures bring you hope in hard times? Share your experience below.