1 | We are required to do hard things. President Eyring tells a story of his childhood when he cries out to his mother while pulling weeds that it is just too hard. She responds that life is supposed to be hard. This little story reminded me of something that comes up constantly with my little piano students. Many times, when we come to a new song, they throw up their hands and say, "This one is way too hard." Then I tell them, "It has to be hard if you are going to get better at playing the piano!" If I let my students stick with easy songs, they would never increase in their ability to play, and if God lets us stick with easy situations, we are never going to increase in our spiritual capacity. We have to stretch a little bit beyond what we think we are capable of in order to grow.
2 | Helping others bear their burdens strengthens our own backs. It's easy to become hyper-focused on our own trials and responsibilities. The last year has brought many trials for most of us as we deal with political tensions and pandemic stress, in addition to the typical burdens of life. When we're barely treading water, we may not feel like we have the capacity to rescue someone drowning at our side. However, our ways are not God's ways, and frequently when we reach our hands out to others we can also be strengthened. Lightening someone else's load exercises our own muscles of endurance, giving us greater strength to carry what we've been given. When we keep our covenants to bear one another's burdens and mourn with those that mourn, we emulate the Savior.
3 | Trials polish us. I've always been comforted by the image in the fourth verse of the hymn "How Firm a Foundation" (a verse we don't sing often enough!) The line, "Thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine" conjures the image of a refiner's fire, burning away the impurities in a metal until it is perfected. In similar manner, when we go through our own "fiery trials," if we can muster the grit and faith to get through it, we too will be purified like gold. President Eyring mentions a comment that President Kimball gave at the funeral of President Eyring's mother, Mildred, a woman who endured multiple trials and illnesses throughout her life. He said, "It was because the Lord wanted her to polish her a little more." Now, this can feel like cold comfort when we're in the midst of something. I know there are times when I'd rather be a little rusty, a little imperfect, and have fewer or easier trials. I don't want to rub salt in anyone's wounds by suggesting that "Everything happens for a reason!" or that God requires us to grin through our suffering. Rather, our brother and Savior Jesus Christ understands these trials. He has experienced them Himself, and He is exalted and in a state of glory and joy. If we are willing to walk that difficult path, His hand always at our back, supporting us, we can join Him.
"Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ know and love you. They want you to return to Them and become like Them. Your success is Their success."
HENRY B. ERYING
"When you wonder how much pain you can endure well, remember Him. He suffered what you suffer so that He would know how to lift you up. He may not remove the burden, but He will give you strength, comfort, and hope."
HENRY B. ERYING
How can you strengthen your muscles of endurance this week?
I want you to find two situations––one in your own life and one in the life of someone you are able to serve.
First, examine your own situation. How can you exercise greater faith? Ponder that action, whether that is simply ceasing to murmur about the situation, seeking revelation from the Holy Ghost, or something more concrete, and then take that step.
Second, find someone you can serve and think of a way that you can help bear a burden. Can you babysit a busy mother's children, visit or call someone who is lonely, or drop a gift at someone's door that will brighten their day?
Strengthen that burden-bearing muscle, and then tag us in an Instagram story if you're comfortable sharing so we can cheer you on!
I am never alone in my trials. As I walk through life with my brother and Redeemer Jesus Christ, I am polished and refined in preparation for exaltation.