Suffering of the Righteous

As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we believe that our Church is Jesus Christ’s Church again restored to the Earth – indeed, that it is the one true Church on the face of the Earth. In saying this, we mean that it is the one place that ALL truth and authority of God can be found. What a blessing to those that find this to the be truth!

However, does this mean we should expect all to be perfect once we find our way through faith into the Lord’s Church? In considering this, my thoughts are led to an account in the Book of Mormon, in Alma 14 (v 8-11). Here, Alma and Amulek (two missionaries of the Lord) are being forced to witness the persecution and destruction of the people in Ammoniah, for whom they have been a part of the conversion process to Christ. Amulek in v. 10 says “How can we witness this awful scene? Therefore, let us stretch forth our hands and exercise the power of God…” but Alma in v. 11 denies him, saying “The Spirit constraineth me that I must not stretch forth mine hand…” How devastating must this scene have been to these valiant, hard-working servants! Not only are they in bondage for their acts to serve the Lord, but those who listened to the sweet promptings of the Holy Ghost are being killed – and the Lord, whom they love, is not stretching forth his hand to save them! Do we not sometimes feel like Alma and Amulek? Turbulent storms and trials pepper us, even hail down on us, and there is seemingly no saving grace – despite our efforts to live how the Lord has asked! As the Lord Jesus Christ stated in the New Testament “…he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matthew 5:45)

President Spencer W. Kimball talks about this “…if all the sick were healed, if all the righteous were protected and the wicked destroyed, the whole program of the Father would be annulled and the basic principle of the Gospel, free agency, would be ended…There would be no test of strength, no development of character…Should all prayers be immediately answered according to our…limited understanding, then there would be little or no suffering…or even death; and if these were not, there would also be an absence of joy…eternal life and godhood.” This quote was shortened but the content unchanged – without bad things happening to everyone, then everyone would not be given the opportunity to learn and grow from these trials.

Obviously, during the trials we would rather be without them, but “all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.” (D&C 122:7) as the Prophet Joseph Smith was taught by the Lord. Things will work out, even when there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel. “And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.” (D&C 121:8)

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