Earlier this week, I was looking at the case study of a little girl who can’t feel pain. She poked her own eyes out, and out of an act of mercy, the doctors removed her real eyes and put glass ones in. Other cases report similar experiences of children who have put their hands on hot stoves and burned the flesh off, ran around for two days with a broken ankle, etc.
Doesn’t that just break your heart? Pain is a blessing, even though it never feels like it.
Jacob taught us in 2 Nephi 2 (specifically in verses 11-13) that just like we can’t know that a hot stove will burn us unless we feel pain, we can’t understand happiness until we know what it’s like to be sad.
A perspective that gives me strength when I’m going through something hard is a story that President Eyring told the Young Women in his April 2015 General Conference talk, “The Comforter.” He was attending a funeral for a little boy and was stopped in the hall by a young mother:
“She said that she had come to the funeral in part for comfort for herself. She told me that her first child had died recently. She was carrying in her arms a beautiful little girl. I leaned toward her to look into the little girl’s smiling face. I asked the baby’s mother, “What is her name?” Her quick and cheerful answer was “Her name is Joy. Joy always comes after sorrow.”
Her testimony lifts me up! Peace and comfort had come to her from the only sure source. Only God knows hearts, and so only He can say, in truth, “I know how you feel.” I can only imagine both her joy and her sorrow that preceded it, but the Lord, who loves her, knows.” I love that.
I also love the analogy of the refiner’s fire. God puts you through fire and pressure to strip you from your impurities until He has created a diamond. In the scriptures, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego and Abinadi were great examples of this. In Daniel 3, King Nebuchadnezzar threw the three missionary companions into the hottest fire he could make. As it was burning, Nebuchadnezzar became livid because they weren’t hurt. Then he was super confused because he saw a fourth figure in there and recognized Him as Jesus Christ.
Abinadi had the same trial, different outcome. King Noah cast him into a fire and he didn’t survive. But there is so much we can learn from Abinadi. He stood in His fire and continued to teach and praise our God until he literally ran out of breath. Heavenly Father had different purposes for these missionaries. It didn’t mean that the group was more righteous than Abinadi because they escaped the fire unharmed. Abinadi never saw the outcome of his teaching on Earth, but his testimony converted Alma, who later became the prophet. Even though the outcome of the fire was different at the time, the testimonies of all of these missionaries converted multitudes of people. Sometimes He puts the fire out and rescues. Sometimes He keeps us in the fire. Either way, He’s always there.
There have been times in my life that I have hit rock bottom and the only thing I can do is pray and say, “P
However, I also know what it’s like when pain becomes long-suffering. When it feels like you’re never going to see the end of what you’re going through. I promise you there is an end.
Check out THIS great talk to give you hope through the trial you’re facing.