The Gospel of Jesus Christ Brings Joy, Even In Times of Trial

The Gospel of Jesus Christ Brings Joy, Even In Times of Trial

My wife and I have been happily married for almost 24 years and we have two sons. I’m a convert to the Church and when I joined back in 2001, while I wasn’t fully versed in everything about the gospel, I studied and it made sense to me, personally. I believe that Jesus is the Christ and that He died for my sins. This is simply called the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I have a firm belief that Christ suffered for our sins and afflictions. He paid the price so we won't have to. It doesn’t mean that we won’t have trials in our life, but because of our Saviour, we can have access to the help we need.

A few years ago, our Stake President, in a stake conference said, “If you are unable to go to the temple, for whatever reason, still be prepared to go, don't put off getting your recommend just because you can’t get there.” That made sense to me. This was before the Vancouver Temple had been built and many were unable to cross the border, others were unable to get to Alberta.  At that time, my family had not yet been sealed together.
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Just before that stake conference, I had been in a bad truck accident. One of my sons was with me at the time and thankfully, he got away with only a scratch. I wasn’t so lucky, I broke pretty much everything and was in really rough shape. The Gospel that I was still learning about at that time in my life would be put to the test. While in the hospital I was given a blessing from a missionary, who didn’t know me or anything about my life. The words he spoke in the blessing were so personalized that they had to have come directly from my Heavenly Father.

I knew right then and there that Heavenly Father was real and He knew me. That strengthened my testimony. After the blessing, I was able to walk again and made a speedy recovery.

In the months that followed I proceeded to work diligently towards getting my temple recommend.  Soon thereafter my family and I travelled to Alberta to be sealed as a family for eternity in the Cardston Temple. Out of this trial came great joy by truly embracing the Gospel of Jesus Christ in my life. It was definitely a turning point.
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A great deal has happened since then, but let’s fast-forward to the present. I have been battling cancer for over a year and a half now. I’m not going to lie, it’s been the toughest thing I’ve had to go through. Where does one find joy in such a trial? During this time, I've come to realize that the Atonement is not just “the Atonement of Jesus Christ”, but Christ’s Atonement for me as well as for everyone else individually.  I’ve felt the comfort and peace knowing that Christ, in the Garden of Gethsemane, suffered for me. He has taken my load upon Himself and I know that He knows what I am feeling. I know I can call on Him through prayer.

Through all of this, I have really learned how to pray, I mean really pray; to cry in pain and ask for help, to beg Him, in that moment, to please share the load that only He and I know. The comfort comes as I ponder on what He has done for me. Sometimes, the pain I’ve felt through my sickness has made my feelings turn hard. I’ve blamed God and asked why me? Then at my lowest points I remember that I need to do my part and pray.  At that time, I can literally feel Him supporting me, reminding me to be prepared to go to the temple, to be as Christlike as I can be. He shares my burden and gives me joy, not joy in the fact that they might find a cure for cancer, but joy in the fact that if I prepare and let His sacrifice truly affect my life, the Celestial reward will be great.  I try to keep the big picture in mind. God is in charge and He has a plan for me. There is a poem, “Footprints in the Sand”— I’m sure you know it:
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One night I dreamed a dream.
As I was walking along the beach with my Lord.
Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand,
One belonging to me and one to my Lord.
After the last scene of my life flashed before me,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that at many times along the path of my life,
especially at the very lowest and saddest times,
there was only one set of footprints.
This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it.
'Lord, you said once I decided to follow you,
You'd walk with me all the way.
But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life,
there was only one set of footprints.
I don't understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me.'
He whispered, 'My precious child, I love you and will never leave you
Never, ever, during your trials and testings.
When you saw only one set of footprints,
It was then that I carried you.'
                            (by Mary Stevenson)

 (by Mary Stevenson)
I can tell you that there are more times than not that Christ has carried me.
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The gospel tells us that if you let Christ into your life, you will be able to bear what you think you can’t. The joy of knowing what we know can come through even in the hardest of times. If you remember that the Atonement is for you personally, it’s for you individually.  No trial or problem is too big or too small to take to the Lord. Pray for the help. We don’t always know what’s around the corner, but we can know that there is comfort, joy and safety in the gospel.

I hold to the scripture: “For verily I say unto you, blessed is he that keepeth my commandments, whether in life or in death; and he that is faithful in tribulation, the reward of the same is greater in the kingdom of heaven.  Ye cannot behold with your natural eyes, for the present time, the design of your God concerning those things which shall come hereafter, and the glory which shall follow after much tribulation.  For after much tribulation come the blessings. Wherefore the day cometh that ye shall be crowned with much glory; the hour is not yet, but is nigh at hand.”  (Doctrine and Covenants 58:2-4)

(Doctrine and Covenants 58:2-4)

I know all things are possible through Christ, my Saviour.