Sunday, February 15, 2009

"Hope Ya Know, We Had a Hard Time"

This entry is part of my general conference application series.

"Hope Ya Know, We Had a Hard Time", by Elder Quentin L. Cook
Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

The title of Elder Cook's talk is something his three-year-old said after an ordeal. Cute as the phrase sounds coming from one so young, there is meaningful application to my life as I consider the truths that Elder Cook presents in his message.

I received a comment on my application of President Eyring's "O Ye That Embark" address (link) that came to mind while reviewing Elder Cook's words. The question was raised, in the comment, of whether or not life is fair. I still don't think life is fair, but I know that the plan of salvation is. When life is hard, when we're having hard times, it may be natural to think that life isn't fair, but there is little comfort in complaining.

So, then, where can comfort come from?

Before getting to the good news, I'd like to take a path through the perils of mortality, using Elder Cook's words as a guide:

Many of the trials and hardships we encounter in life are severe and appear to have lasting consequences. ... This life is not always easy, nor was it meant to be; it is a time of testing and proving. ... We are all subject to the conflict between good and evil and the contrast between light and dark, hope and despair.

Those quotes define the dark cloud; where is the silver lining?

Through revelation, we have the hope from the Lord: "Wherefore, be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord am with you, and will stand by you" (D&C 68:6).

While perhaps not of immediate comfort, the following are still true:

'We are not going to suffer any more than what is for our good.' [Brigham Young] ... Some trials are for our good and are suited for our own personal development. ... Every cloud we see doesn’t result in rain. Regardless of the challenges, trials, and hardships we endure, the reassuring doctrine of the Atonement wrought by Jesus Christ includes Alma’s teaching that the Savior would take upon Him our infirmities and 'succor his people according to their infirmities.'

We're reminded that bad as things are (or seem to be), the atonement of Christ provides a solution; really the only solution. Elder Cook testified:

I testify that the Atonement of Jesus Christ covers all of the trials and hardships that any of us will encounter in this life. At times when we may feel to say, “Hope you know, I had a hard time,” we can be assured that He is there and we are safe in His loving arms.

After we've found comfort in our hard times through the Atonement, is there anything we can do to help others? I enjoyed the final reminder of what President Monson suggested we give each other as a gift: "Find someone who is having a hard time, ... and do something for them."

I'm confident that as we look to Christ we will find comfort and peace. I know that as I help others, I better appreciate the help I've received. And perhaps helping others helps brace against the next storm of life that is on its way.

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