Education Week: Trial, blessing or both?

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Sarah Hill
Trials will all come to pass, and one can use that knowledge to endure them with happiness. (Sarah Hill)

There may not always be a choice in receiving trials, but there is always a choice in how to react to them. Hank Smith, professor of religion at BYU, addressed the youth at BYU Education Week on how to maintain an eternal perspective and grow from trials in life.

“Have you ever noticed when it comes to trials that sometimes the Lord doesn’t have to give us trials because we’re pretty good at creating our own,” Smith joked.

Making poor decisions can bring trials upon ourselves. These trials can be solved by making better choices in the first place, Smith said.

The focus of Smith’s class, however, was teaching the youth what to do when trials beyond their control inevitably come.

A natural response to continuous difficulties is the age-old question, “why?”.  To illustrate this point, Smith retold the biblical story of Joseph who was sold into Egypt.

Joseph probably had a lot of questions to take to the Lord about the trials he was given, Smith said. But it was not until he realized that each trial was meant to help him grow that he realized that trials are an opportunity for progression.

“Joseph decided, “I can’t change my situation but I’m going to make it good”,” Smith said.

You’d go back to him the same person you were when you left if it weren’t for trials, Smith said. These things that seem like trials help us to get to where we need to be.

But maintaining that perspective in the midst of trials is easier said than done.

“Often we cannot see the Lord’s hand in our lives until long after the trials have passed,” Smith said.

Smith concluded the class by focusing on a book written by Kristin Belcher titled, “Hard Times and Holy Places.” Smith shared some of the many extraordinary difficulties that Belcher had to overcome since she was diagnosed with cancer in both of her eyes when she was just seven months old.

Since this difficult start to life, Belcher has had many health problems. Among them, she is now blind and the bones in her skull surrounding her eyes never grew after she was treated for cancer as an infant.

Belcher is a devout member of the LDS Church, who has dedicated much time to sharing inspirational and realistic messages about her journey.

“There’s a difference between being faithful and being happy,” Belcher said. “I trusted the Lord but I wasn’t happy.”

In difficult times, Smith urged the youth to remember the most common phrase in the Book of Mormon—“and it came to pass.”

“Luckily trials don’t come to stay—they come to pass,” Smith said.

 

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