Friday, August 28, 2009

Faith in Adversity

This entry is part of my general conference application series.

Faith in Adversity, by Elder Rafael E. Pino
Of the Seventy

Early in our marriage, my wife and I reached a firm agreement. Seeing the loneliness and hardship that our grandparents faced in the long years following the death of their companions, we agreed that we would not die at different times—we want to be together in life and death, and we don't want the latter to happen any time soon! While we know that we have no authority or power to enforce this agreement, it does come up from time to time as we discuss matters.

Elder Pino shared two life-examples that effectively portrayed adversity through the death of loved ones. These are the kind of stories that make me simultaneously wonder how I would respond in a similar situation and hope that I never have to find out.

One of the stories shared a sentiment which may be unique to our faith. After outlining the events surrounding the death of his daughter, the speaker noted:

We now feel that we are much more committed to be faithful to the Lord and endure to the end because we want to be worthy of the blessings that the temple provides in order to see our daughter again. At times we mourn, but we do not mourn as those without hope.

Reacting to the tragedy shared in the other example, the speaker wisely stated:

This was the time to show loyalty to God and to acknowledge that we depend on Him, that His will must be obeyed, and that we are subject to Him.

I think that this attitude is important when we face adversity—any kind of adversity. The key, then, is to recognize and live according to God's will while being true to Him (and ourselves).

I loved the quote of President Hunter that Elder Pino shared:

If our lives and our faith are centered on Jesus Christ and his restored gospel, nothing can ever go permanently wrong. On the other hand, if our lives are not centered on the Savior and his teachings, no other success can ever be permanently right.

This is reminiscent of President McKay's famous, "No other success can compensate for failure in the home," but it takes it a step further by guaranteeing ultimate success if we have Christ-centered lives.

However, we still need to know that ultimate success is no guarantee of an adversity-free life. After sharing the Savior's example of the wise man who built his house upon a rock, Elder Pino astutely observed:

It is interesting to notice that the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew against both houses! Living the gospel does not mean that we will everlastingly escape adversity. Rather, it means that we will be prepared to face and endure adversity more confidently.

I want to have the preparation, confidence, and trust that whatever adversity may come, I can successfully make it through, emerging on the other side as the kind of person the Lord wants me to be.

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