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It can be hard sometimes living day to day with all the trials that befall us. Sometimes we ask ourselves, "Is there no other way?" Luckily there is one thing that is comforting when thinking about this question: There is not a prophet or woman of faith mentioned in our scriptural cannon who did not experience their own trials.
In the Old Testament, Abraham and Sarah moved to a strange land, struggled for decades with infertility, and then were asked to sacrifice their miracle child, Isaac. Jacob mourned for twenty years over the supposed loss of his beloved son Joseph and suffered the near-starvation of his family. Joseph was sold into Egypt by jealous brothers, worked as a slave, was falsely accused and thrown into prison. Moses faced the wrath of Pharaoh and led his people out of bondage only to wander for forty years in the wilderness. Ruth lost her husband, moved to a foreign country, and had to glean cast-off wheat to provide for herself and her mother-in-law, Naomi.
In the New Testament, Mary, the mother of Christ, watched her perfect son’s crucifixion before her very eyes. Peter and John were thrown into prison repeatedly and beaten for refusing to be silent about Christ’s resurrection. James and Stephen were martyred for their testimonies of Christ. Paul braved three shipwrecks, was bitten by a serpent, stoned, and imprisoned numerous times.
In the Book of Mormon, Nephi’s own brothers attempted to take his life several times. Alma was enslaved by Lamanites and watched his wayward son attempt to destroy the church he worked so many years building. Alma the Younger spent decades attempting to right his wrongs, was abused and mocked as a missionary, was thrown into prison, and watched the very people he had converted to the gospel of Christ be burned alive because of their beliefs. Captain Moroni led his people through dangerous and devastating wars. Mormon and his son Moroni watched the entire Nephite civilization decline into depravity until they were destroyed from off the face of the earth.
Joseph Smith was persecuted relentlessly for telling the miraculous story of his encounter with God the Father and Jesus Christ, was brutally tarred and feathered, financially impoverished for the majority of his life, falsely accused, frequently imprisoned, and finally martyred for his testimony. Emma Smith endured the loss of six children, numerous moves and homelessness, and the martyrdom of her beloved husband. The Saints as a body were persecuted, abused, raped, pillaged, driven from their homes, and even killed for their faith.
Our modern-day prophets and apostles are not immune to suffering either. Many have lost loved ones and endured all manner of afflictions to body, mind, and spirit, both personally and within their families. Elder M. Russell Ballard shared, “Life is not simple. It wasn’t intended to be. People think the Apostles don’t have any trials. We’ve had our problems and challenges.” He went on to detail the tragic loss of two cherished granddaughters and a prized grandson with the concluding thoughts, “I’m not telling you this to have you feel sorry for us. I’m telling you this because everyone will experience some trials or challenges in this life. None of us will escape from having to make decisions on how we will live our lives.”
What are your thoughts on this? Let us know in the comments!
The following was taken from the book Is there No Other Way? : Exploring Growth Through Grief, by author Emily Ann Adams, currently on sale at cedarfort.com.