Saturday, July 2, 2011

Reason for Suffering

While studying in preparation for tomorrow's Sunday School lesson (Lesson 25: "Not My Will, But Thine, Be Done," lesson, study guide), I remembered something that happened in the car on the way home from church last week.

Background first: We've been praying for "Little Hatcher," the chronically-ill three-year-old son of my wife's cousin, with the medical troubles he's been going through. In nearly every prayer for a long time, we would pray for "Little Hatcher;" my five-year-old daughter would particularly help us remember.

So we were in the car talking about the lessons we had when my daughter said they learned about the Atonement. With the level of sincerity that only children can muster, she pensively asked, "If Jesus suffered for everyone, why did Little Hatcher have to suffer?"

It's fun to discuss gospel topics and review Sunday lessons as a family, but this question--and its associated sincerity--reminded that this is real life. There are real connections from our lessons, the scriptures, and our prayers to our lives--our real everyday lives. I still don't know that I have a full answer to my daughter's question, but I do know that I'm grateful for the Atonement. We sometimes say, "He suffered so we don't have to suffer," but when I am suffering, I like knowing that I'm not alone--even when I sometimes initially feel like I am alone.

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