The Gift of Suffering




it-is-well-4Moroni 7:5-8

5 For I remember the word of God which saith by their works ye shall know them; for if their works be good, then they are good also. 6 For behold, God hath said a man being evil cannot do that which is good; for if he offereth a gift, or prayeth unto God, except he shall do it with real intent it profiteth him nothing. 7 For behold, it is not counted unto him for righteousness. 8 For behold, if a man being evil giveth a gift, he doeth it grudgingly; wherefore it is counted unto him the same as if he had retained the gift; wherefore he is counted evil before God.

The greatest gifts I know have often been given because someone willingly paid the high price of suffering.

I think about the price my mother has paid, supporting, exhorting, and helping my brother through these long years since an auto-bicycle accident left him severely disabled from a traumatic brain injury. It has not been easy, and I am certain that there are many nights when she has cried, “How long, oh Lord?” And yet so much good has come from her service to him – especially for him, but also for us, his siblings, and for her grandchildren.

I think about the price the prophets have paid to testify unflinchingly in the face of persecution and ridicule, and the price they paid to make and keep records safe from those who would destroy them.

And I think of the price Jesus Christ paid during his great intercessory prayer for us, when he bled from every pore, and then when he suffered further on the cross.

None of these people wanted the suffering they faced. And yet they paid the price and offered the gift with the very real intent that it would bless someone else.

I have had days when my anguish of spirit knocked me flat in bed so that I could hardly move. Zombies are real, people. I have been one. It may seem paradoxical to write about suffering in a note next to scripture verses about giving good gifts vs evil gifts. But as I think about the suffering of the Savior during the atonement, and how willingly he gave that gift for me, I wonder if somehow it is possible to make of our own suffering, a good gift? I wonder – Lord, how is it done? Can I look back to the times when I have most struggled and suffered and see a way that, even now, I can turn that suffering into a blessing for someone else? Clearly I have a great deal more to learn about this. I only know that I can find my answers with the Savior.

Romans 8:24-30

24 For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? 25 But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. 26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. 31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? 32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

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