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The story of Joseph of Egypt is one of the greatest stories ever told. I believe that heaven designed that story to be preserved in order for us to find comfort and peace in what we learn from the details. In my own personal study, I have found myriad principles in Joseph’s story that have brought me profound solace during the most difficult times of my life.
God can use the damaging choices of others to lead us to where He wants us to be.
The Lord frequently reminds us that he can make “all things” work together for “our good.” This includes the choices of others. When Lehi spoke to his son Jacob, he reminded him of the difficult childhood he had because of Laman and Lemuel, and then told him God would “consecrate [his] afflictions for [his] gain” (2 Nephi 2:2). When Joseph Smith was incarcerated in the deplorable conditions of Liberty Jail, the Lord told him, “all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good” (D&C 122:7). Heavenly Father isn’t caught off guard by the cruel choices of others. On the contrary, His infinite foreknowledge enables Him to use those choices as tools to shape us into what He’d have us become.
One example is Karl G. Maeser. I’ve often been amused by how Karl G. Maeser, the founding principal of Brigham Young University, first came to hear of Mormonism. In the early 1850s, Maeser was teaching in the Budich Institute in Dresden, Germany. While there, he came across an anti- Mormon book written by Moritz Busch. Maeser and his brother-in-law Edward decided to investigate this new religion further. Soon, both he and Edward and their families joined the Church. We should all be thankful to Moritz Busch for writing that book!
Often the most difficult times in our lives pave the way to future happiness.
Speaking on having patience through difficulties and trials, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf taught, “Often the deep valleys of our present will be understood only by looking back on them from the mountains of future experience. Often we can’t see the Lord’s hand in our lives until long after trials have passed.
Often the most difficult times of our lives are essential building blocks that form the foundation of our character and pave the way to future opportunity, understanding, and happiness.” If you are in the middle of terrible difficulty, perhaps now isn’t the time to try and understand God’s purposes for them. Concentrate on moving forward through this low valley toward the mountains in front of you where you’ll be able to look back and understand.
Some of the greatest men and women ever born found opportunity because of the hard times they went through. Had Joseph never been sold by his brothers, he never would have interpreted Pharaoh’s dream. Had Alma the Younger never been spit on in Ammonihah, he never would have met Amulek, one of his dearest friends. Had Esther not lost both her parents, she never would have been able to save her people. Had Joseph Smith’s family not lost all of their crops to freezes in Vermont, they never would have moved to New York where Moroni had buried the plates. Perhaps this great difficulty you are going through is leading you to something you will love.
God uses trials to shape us into the type of people we have to be in order to fully enjoy the future opportunities He has prepared for us.
Elder Richard G. Scott, who passed through heartbreaking trials himself, taught, “To exercise faith is to trust that the Lord knows what He is doing . . . for your eternal good even though you cannot understand how He can possibly do it...our Father in Heaven and His Beloved Son love you perfectly.
The trials you are going through now may be the key to you having the knowledge you need in order to become effective in your career, understand your future child’s or spouse’s mental illness, or save a family member from poor decisions. The circumstances will vary with as many people as there are on the earth, but the Lord’s strategy is still the same. He uses our trials to change and prepare us to be successful in future opportunities.
What are your thoughts on this? Let us know in the comments!
The following was taken from the book, You've Got This! currently on sale at cedarfort.com.