Sunday, March 24, 2013

Stepping Stones or Stumbling Blocks?

I've been thinking a lot about trials lately and how to best handle them. One of our daughters has been going astray in a variety of ways, and our other two children have been struggling with totally different things. There is so much hurt and pain involved, for the whole family. It has been easy for me to be miserable and difficult for me to be happy.

However, I've been thinking that working toward happiness during trials is worth the effort. In the past, I've thought I'd be happy once the current trial was over, forgetting that there were more trials around the corner. That's how earth life is set up, after all. We are proving ourselves and we're being refined.

In his book, Spiritual Plateaus, Glen L. Pace talks about trials and how they can either be stepping stones or stumbling blocks. I have started thinking about the refinement that is happening for our family (whether we want it or not). I've also been trying to view our trials as stepping stones. The Lord must trust that we can handle this and I'm sure it's part of the divine plan, even with a daughter headed in the opposite direction.

So, when I start to feel the pain of our trials, I'm trying to remember that these things really will benefit us. Frankly, I used to be bugged by the scripture D&C 122:7 where it talks about all the severe trials Joseph Smith could face and then it says they're good for him. 

It says, in part, "if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good."

Usually sarcastically I'd say, "Oh yeah, this is going to be for my good. Right." Well, I suppose I'm having a change of heart with regard to this scripture because now I'm looking to it for comfort. I'm working hard to view trials that way. To make them stepping stones rather than stumbling blocks. To remember that these things really do give me experience and will be for my good.

We're going to have trials no matter what–even when we're obedient, just ask Joseph Smith. So, I can either face trials with more courage, faith and optimism or I can be miserable.

I know which one I'm choosing. Now I just have to figure out how to live it.