As I reflect on their circumstances I long to see things the way God does. His purposes are accomplished through every-day living as well as in times that are not so ordinary. He has many things to teach us, and it seems that He prefers we learn most often by experience.
Like most moms, I would rather go through painful experiences or severe challenges myself rather than watch my children face them. I have wondered if our Father in Heaven feels about all of us like we do about our children and grandchildren. Does He feel sorrow when we weep? Does He have a heavy heart when we struggle and become discouraged? Ascribing such feelings to God may seem to be making Him too human, or, maybe these charitable feelings we have about those we love so dearly are godly, placed in our hearts by our Father. We read in the scriptures that Jesus wept when he found Mary and Martha grieving over the death of their brother Lazarus, one of His close friends. Surely He knew that Lazarus would soon come forth from the tomb at His command, that tears being shed in sorrow would be turned to tears of joy, and yet He wept.
If comfort, peace, and happiness were all our Father wants for us, then what role would difficulties play in our lives? If our sorrows and struggles cause Him sorrow as well, why would He not eliminate such experiences? What benefit is there in the challenges of life that is worth the cost to us and to Him? If I could see as our Father sees, I would understand that there are things that can be learned best in such times.
In General Conference a few weeks ago, Elder Paul Johnson shared this quote and story in the Sunday morning session:
“No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. … All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable. … It is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation, that we gain the education that we come here to acquire.”
Orson F. Whitney, in Spencer W. Kimball, Faith Precedes the Miracle (1972), 98.
Recently a nine-year-old boy was diagnosed with a rare bone cancer. The doctor explained the diagnosis and the treatment, which included months of chemotherapy and major surgery. He said it would be a very difficult time for the boy and his family but then added, “People ask me, ‘Will I be the same after this is over?’ I tell them, ‘No, you won’t be the same. You will be so much stronger. You will be awesome!’
In the April Ensign magazine, I found this statement (p. 27):
“When someone has an ailment or an illness and they are healed as the result of a blessing, their faith is being strengthened. But for those who aren’t healed but continue faithful, their faith is being perfected. The first is a faith-promoting experience. The second is faith-perfecting.”Which brings me back to Robin and Dennison. I am sure they wish they could take the medicine, the treatments, the ‘pokes’, the nausea, and all the rest upon themselves rather than see Carter go through it. They know there is divine purpose in their difficulties, and they are facing them with love, faith, and determination. I stand in awe at their strength and good cheer. Their whole family is on the way to being so much stronger, they will be awesome!