I am one of the least positive people I know. Many people who know me might think that is untrue. It isn’t.
I have a bad habit of looking for everything I am lacking instead of counting my blessings.
Turning Burdens into Blessings
I am one of the least positive people I know. Many people who know me might think that is untrue. It isn’t. I have a bad habit of looking for everything I am lacking instead of counting my blessings. I’m not all doom and gloom but there are hard days when I struggle to recognize the many great things in my life. Sometimes I grow so overwhelmed by my endless to-do list that gratitude is the farthest thing from my heart.
During a worship service I recently attended, I recognized a comment that stood out more than ever before. When the Lord created the world, and put man on the earth, Adam and Eve had to choose whether to obey the commandments. When they ate of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, Heavenly Father had to send them away from the garden as part of their learning experience. Then He said that instead of the earth producing fruits and flowers on its own, that it would bring forth briars and thorns FOR THEIR SAKE. Wait, what? They would be called through hardship for their own good?
Work is a principle of the gospel
We are not promised that life is easy, in fact, we can expect the opposite. There will be bumps and bruises along the way. The Lord knew that, but He also knew that any effort we put forth can bless us to become stronger. Work or effort is part of the plan the Lord laid out for us. President Gordon B. Hinckley said: “There is no substitute under the heavens for productive labor. It is the process by which dreams become realities. It is the process by which idle visions become dynamic achievements.
“Most of us are inherently lazy. We would rather play than work. A little play and a little loafing are good. But it is work that spells the difference in the life of a man or woman. It is work that provides the food we eat, the clothing we wear, the homes in which we live. We cannot deny the need for work with skilled hands and educated minds if we are to grow and prosper individually and collectively.” 1
How do emotional or physical burdens bless us?
I know a wonderful family who has a son with cancer. He is on his fourth surgery to remove tumors and growths. They have done everything that they can to care for their sweet child. I have watched this amazing mom grow in faith and strength. She would have told anyone that she wasn’t fit for this trial but perhaps she can’t see just how much progress she and their family have made.
When we look at the eternal perspective, it is easier to recognize that the hard things in life, the burdens, the sorrows and trials all polish us into someone presentable before the Lord. They have had the sweet experience of growing closer to the Lord and more united as a family. Their testimonies of the beautiful plan of our God have been strengthened.
Elder David A. Bednar spoke of the benefit of going through struggles in this life. He said “The unique burdens in each of our lives help us to rely upon the merits, mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah (see 2 Nephi 2:8). I testify and promise the Savior will help us to bear up our burdens with ease (see Mosiah 24:15). As we are yoked with Him through sacred covenants and receive the enabling power of His Atonement in our lives, we increasingly will seek to understand and live according to His will. We also will pray for the strength to learn from, change, or accept our circumstances rather than praying relentlessly for God to change our circumstances according to our will. We will become agents who act rather than objects that are acted upon.”2
We don’t need to mope around and bemoan our trials. Life with all its hardships is not something that just happens to us. We can ask the Lord to stand at the helm with us and work through every rough patch so that we can come off not only victorious but having experienced joy along the way.
1 “I Believe,” New Era, Sept. 1996, 4
2 “Bear Up Their Burdens with Ease”, Elder David A. Bednar, General Conference, April 2014