A Strong Foundation

Over the past few years, my life has been filled with many unanticipated trials. As a teenager, I’ve had the typical struggles with things like choosing good friends and making wise choices involving things like parties, dances, and modesty. However, I’ve also faced many larger trials which have at times seemed insurmountable. I’ve struggled with severe depression, watched loved ones suffer from debilitating illnesses, and faced the foreclosure of the home I grew up in.

As these trials have come my way, I’ve relied heavily on the gospel for my support and guidance. My testimony has grown and my love for my Heavenly Father has increased so much. Things have definitely been hard, but the gospel has provided a strong foundation which has lifted me up in my times of need. One of my favorite scriptures, Helaman 5:12, says:

“And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation…. a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.”

Although things may be difficult, I know that the trials we face are given to us in order to strengthen us in a way that wouldn’t otherwise be possible. In order to grow, we have to face adversity. One of my favorite conference talks was given by President Thomas S. Monson, the prophet and president of our Church, and is titled “I Will Not Fail Thee, nor Forsake Thee“. In his talk, President Monson discusses the importance and necessity of trials throughout our earthly life. He says, “Our Heavenly Father, who gives us so much to delight in, also knows that we learn and grow and become stronger as we face and survive the trials through which we must pass. We know that there are times when we will experience heartbreaking sorrow, when we will grieve, and when we may be tested to our limits. However, such difficulties allow us to change for the better, to rebuild our lives in the way our Heavenly Father teaches us, and to become something different from what we were—better than we were, more understanding than we were, more empathetic than we were, with stronger testimonies than we had before.” Later on in this talk, President Monson goes on to say that as we go through these trials, our goal should not be to simply “get through it”. We view our trials not as punishment, but as a way to become more spiritually refined and as something that will help us progress towards our goal of eternal life.

Douglas Malloch wrote a poem about trials, titled “Good Timber”, which has provided much solace to me as I have gone through difficult times in my life. A section of the poem reads:

Good timber does not grow with ease,
The stronger wind, the stronger trees.
The further sky, the greater length.
The more the storm, the more the strength.
By sun and cold, by rain and snow,
In trees and men good timbers grow.

As you experience difficult trials, it may be hard to see a reason for your struggles. It is important, however, to view these trials as opportunities to strengthen your testimony, grow closer to the Lord, and progress towards eternal life. Our Heavenly Father knows the depths of our trials, our pains, and our sufferings, and He alone offers us eternal peace in times of adversity. We can look to Him for comfort, peace, and guidance. I know that He loves us, and He wants us to grow and develop into better people, and I testify that that as long as live righteously and strive to keep the commandments, our trials can serve as stepping stones towards growth and an outpouring of blessings.

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