Turning Trials into Opportunities

We cannot learn by study alone. We must also learn through experience and action.

"Trials are part of the great plan of happiness." - Larry Richman

Photo by Tanner Vines

Chronic illness. Natural disasters. Premature death. Many trials surface in our lives, often seeming random, with no one to blame for their appearance. It’s easy to ask, “Why? Why do good people suffer such hardships?”

In a devotional titled “Learning through Life’s Trials,” Larry Richman discusses some of the reasons for our trials. He explains that while tribulation may arise from various sources, trials can become “expressways to learning and growth.”

Quoting Elder Orson F. Whitney, Richman says, “All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, [and] expands our souls,” helping us develop in ways that we couldn’t otherwise. Could we truly learn charity without first having a chance to practice it? Or could we learn patience without having a chance to prove it? And how could we acquire empathy without a chance to gain it? Richman shares, “I believe I am the man I am today because of the trials I’ve experienced, not in spite of them.”

Richman goes on to describe six ways to turn adversity into a learning experience:

  1. Rely on Christ
  2. Rely on others
  3. Let adversity make you a better person
  4. Live with integrity
  5. Be patient
  6. Keep an eternal perspective

Trials can be rough and lessons can be hard, but they need not wear us down. Richman testifies, “Each of us has the strength to bear our challenges in life because of who we are, who God is, and who we are together.”

Learn more about turning trials into opportunities by watching Larry Richman’s full talk, “Learning from Life’s Trials.”

Source: BYU–Idaho Speeches

—Emma Snow, Mormon Insights

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Find more insights

Read Elder Quentin L. Cook’s talk on living with hardships: “The Songs They Could Not Sing.”

To learn about cultivating patience during trials, read or watch Elder Robert D. Hales’s talk “Waiting upon the Lord: Thy Will Be Done.”

Read the Mormon Insights article “The Miracle of Peace” to learn how a young couple found comfort during their challenges.

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