Kim and Becki spoke in sacrament meeting in their ward on October 12th. Becki spoke about what she has learned since being diagnosed 5 months ago and did a fabulous job. (like always) Here are some highlights.
1- Preparation is everything.
Elder Eyring taught that: “There is another even more important preparation [than temporal preparation] that we must make for tests that are certain to come to each of us. That preparation must be started far in advance because it takes time. What we will need then can’t be bought. It can’t be borrowed. It doesn’t store well. And it has to have been used regularly and recently. What we will need in our day of testing is a spiritual preparation. It is to have developed faith in Jesus Christ so powerful that we can pass the test of life upon which everything for us in eternity depends. (Spiritual Preparedness: Start Early and Be Steady, pp 37-38)
If I had received this cancer diagnosis without years of gospel understanding and perspective; without testimony building experiences; and without the wisdom that comes from keeping the commandments, my spiritual reserves would have been empty. Without those incredibly needed spiritual tools I most likely would have been devastated and angry and confused about Heavenly Father’s love for me.
2-Our daily trials in life can help prepare us for big ones.
Elder Hales said: Sometimes what we learn today may not seem valuable until months or years in the future. (BYU 8/08)
Elder Walter Gonzalez of the Seventy said: Today is the time to prepare – not during the crisis. What are we doing today to engraven in our souls the gospel principles that will uphold us in times of adversity?
By doing so Alma tells us that our afflictions can be swallowed up in the joy of Christ. (Alma 31:38)
3-Who knows but that your experiences might be to help someone else?
In May when our ward held the fast for the 3 of us with cancer, my wonderful non-member neighbors came over that Sunday morning to tell me that they were fasting too. I was completely awed.
(There was also the story from a previous post about a woman they met while in Mexico)
4- A huge part of what I have learned concerns gratitude.
In D&C 59:21 the Lord says: “And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not his commandments.
I’m fairly certain that He really does mean all things!
In a wonderful article by Darla Isackson in Meridian Magazine she said, "I see now that my gratitude is the very heart of my faith, the very soul of my trust in the Lord. I am lost without it, because without it I lose the Spirit. The Holy Ghost never participates in my whining, self-pity, negativity, or blindness to the Lord’s purposes. The Lord never motivates or inspires me to complain about my circumstances. Only when I am attending to the commandment to give thanks in all things can the Spirit attend me. No wonder this commandment has been so often repeated".
5- God is in control.
Ardeth Capp, in a past Women’s Conference, taught: "Troubles are often the tools by which God fashions us for better things. Because He loves us He will not deprive us of the growth that comes from our tests, however hard they may be. If we understand the purpose in suffering, we can learn from it and become stronger because of it". (My Neighbor, My Sister, My Friend, Ardeth Capp, pp 27)
I don’t think we have to enjoy trials, but I do think we must see God’s will in them. And that’s not hard to do when we know that His will is the will of love.
In searching for help in the scriptures to meet this trial successfully in God’s eyes, I have learned that more often than not the Lord strengthens us to bear our trials rather than remove them from us, because ultimately they will refine our character and keep us humble. We are never left alone and Heavenly Father answers all prayers, but the answers we receive may not be what we expect or come to us when we want or in the way we anticipate. (Elder Bednar, Ensign, May 2008)
I have a clear understanding of the plan of salvation, and I know that Heavenly Father loves each one of us and is aware of our circumstances. I know that trials, no matter what their origin or difficulty, can be for our good and salvation depending on how we handle them. Anyone can outlast a trial, but the scriptures seem to suggest that there is a proper way to do it, a way that honors God. Elder Eyring said it this way: “The great test of life is…not to endure storms, but to choose the right while they rage.” That is my goal.