One of the great philosophical question of all time is, “why do bad things happen to good people?” Thanks to the good news of the Gospel, again restored, we can resoundingly say, “there is no such thing.” Here’s how and why.
There is no such thing as bad things happening to good people. All there is his life.
This might sound like a different perspective from what you’ve learned or been taught, but it’s truth. This is the unique perspective of the latter-day Saint restored doctrine on opposition, resistance, and diversity. There are some trials and tribulations that are actually specifically ordained for us in this life to bring about specific results. Neal A. Maxwell explained it this way:
The curriculum in this classroom of life is custom tailored to each of us and as unique as we children are to God.
The more you can handle, the more that you can show that you can be faithful in tribulation and trial, the more the Lord will move you upward in the scale of things, with these trials increasing, so that you can come up eventually into the Church of the Firstborn and dwell with all the holy fathers in the presence of God to go no more out. So it has a purpose. All of this has a purpose.
Brigham Young, he says, “to have the promise of receiving eternal lives,” LIVES, as and by the way there’s a difference between eternal life and eternal lives. ” So
seal upon our heads of no power on earth or in heaven or beneath or beneath the earth can take from us is to the sealed up to the day of redemption and to have the promise of eternal lives, the greatest gift of all. The people do not fully understand these things and have not them in full vision before their minds. If they did I tell you plainly and honestly,” this right here,
” there is not a trial which the Saints are called to pass through that they would not realize and acknowledged to be their greatest blessings.”
Did you see that? So now we have a unique perspective of suffering, of trials, of tribulations, of adversity, of opposition, and resistance. In reality, if we understood these things, we would understand that they are the very things that bring us our greatest blessings.
To a few scriptures we turn for truth
- “It is impossible for a man to be saved in ignorance or without suffering.” D&C 131:6
- “For all who will have a blessing at my hands shall abide the law (which includes suffering) which was appointed for the blessing, and conditions thereof, as were institute from before the foundation of the world.” DC 132:5
- “There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated — and when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law (of suffering) upon which it is predicated.” D&C 130:20-21
- “If thou art called to pass through tribulation; if thou art in perils among false brethren; if thou art in perils among robbers; if thou art in perils by land or by sea; If thou art accused with all manner of false accusations; if thine enemies fall upon thee; if they tear thee from the society of thy father and mother and brethren and sisters; and if with a drawn sword thine enemies tear thee from the bosom of thy wife, and of thine offspring, and thine elder son, although but six years of age, shall cling to thy garments, and shall say, My father, my father, why can’t you stay with us? O, my father, what are the men going to do with you? and if then he shall be thrust from thee by the sword, and thou be dragged to prison, and thine enemies prowl around thee like wolves for the blood of the lamb; And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good. The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he? D&C 122:5-8
- “my son, peace be unto thy soul; and adversity and affliction shall be but a small moment; and then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt the on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.” D&C 121:1-6
- “And now, Jacob, I speak into you: thou art my firstborn in the days my tribulation in the wilderness. And behold, in thy child that thou hast suffered afflictions and much sorrow, because of the rudeness of thy brethren. Nevertheless, Jacob, my firstborn in the wilderness, thou knowest the greatness of God; and he shall concentrate the line afflictions for thy gain.” 2 Nephi 2:1-2
“So let’s look closely at that, in verse 1, you see three words that are mentioned. Actually four words, let’s look at them… ” in thy childhood thou has suffered“, there’s one word, ” afflictions“, the second word, ” much sorrow“, is the third word, ” and rudeness“, is the fourth word. Those are all opposition words. Sorrow, suffering, afflictions, and rudeness are all words that pertain to a telestial world. Now look at verse 2. Nevertheless, in other words, in spite of these four things… nevertheless means in spite of… in spite of these four things… ” you know the goodness the greatness of God he shall consecrate these afflictions for your gain. ” So all of the sorrow, all the suffering, all of the afflictions, and the rudeness that you’ve experienced in the telestial world are designed to give you spiritual eternal gain. That’s what they’re designed to do.”
Now let’s look at another one let’s go to section 98 of the Doctrine & Covenants. D&C 98 :1 through 3. Section 98 was at a time when the latter-day Saints were being driven out of Missouri. Some of them have been murdered, some of the sister’s have been raped, children have been killed, their property been burned and stolen. They were driven right out of the country across the river right into to another county. And each step that they were driven move them further and further away from Independence, Jackson County, Missouri, which was to be the place of the new Jerusalem. D&C 98 1 through 3, so we understand the background now. This is a sad time for the latter-day Saints. “Verily I say unto you my friends, fear not, your hearts be comforted; yea, rejoice evermore, and in everything give thanks;” Now, there’s four things Lord tells us to do in the midst of adversity. Look what it says. Don’t be afraid, be comforted, rejoice evermore, and Give thanks for everything. There’s four things that we can do. Here’s another one, ” waiting patiently on the Lord,” that’s five, ” for your prayer have entered into the ears of the Lord of the Sabbath, and are recorded with this seal and testament – the Lord hath sworn and decreed that they shall be granted. Therefore, he giveth us this promise unto you, with an immutable covenant that they should be fulfilled;” now look at the words he uses to seal upon us blessings in the midst of adversity. Go to verse 2, are you ready? He says these things are recorded with … A seal, a testament, their sworn and decreed, and promised. Now those are all words that show that if we will fear not, be comforted, rejoice evermore, give thanks in everything, and what patiently on the Lord, then the Lord has five words to describe… I’ve got something in store for you. And he uses those five words… And what has he got in store? ” all things wherewith you have been afflicted shall work together for your good, and to my name’s glory, saith the Lord.” I’ve got written in a little note on my Scriptures, our trials become sacred ground. Even if your trial results in the shedding of your own blood, the trial where you’re at, the time you’re at, and the place you’re at… if you’re faithfully involved in the trial that becomes sacred ground. Sacred ground, comments? Does that sound okay? Did you catch those words there? See how the Lord’s spells that out?
We live in a temporary world. Everything in this world is temporary. Everything has beginnings and endings. An oft used phrase in the Book of Mormon is, “if came to pass.” It didn’t come to stay, it came to pass. Yet, in all the passing the choices we make during this custom curriculum has a lasting effect on who we will become and where we will dwell.
“So your adversities can do one of two things to you depending on how you endure it. Either endure it well, or you endure it not well. You going to endure it. Because you’re going to be in until your out of it. So it’s either going to one of two things, it’s either to make you bitter or it’s going to make you better. And you’re in control of the lesson you can learn and the experience you can derive from the adversity and trial that you pass through. And remember what Brigham Young said, ” some of these trials are ordained ordeals that are specifically designed to move you into the Church of the Firstborn and give you full membership in that Zion society.” It’s up to you. So how are you going to do this, what’s the purpose of this truth? The purpose is for us to take a different look adversity, trial, opposition, and resistance and have a restored latter-day doctrine view of that, that helps us, so that when were in it we can endure it well. That’s the whole purpose. Because if you don’t endure it well and it a makes you bitter, instead of better what’s the purpose of it? What was gained?
Now if you take a look at experience, which comes in world of opposition. You shall experience some things. Is going to be good for you? Are you going to learn from it? Are you going to gain from it? Is a make you better? Is it going to make you bitter? You determine that. Having this view of adversity helps you make the determination that I’m going to be better as a result of this and not be bitter. That the whole purpose of this knowledge. People who end up shaking their fists at God because of the things they experience and suffer don’t have access to this knowledge. You and I do. So we should have a better view, and as a result, be able to endure things well. And as you come out of the experience, its experience is for your good. Now watch , experience is the mother or can be… Is the mother of wisdom.
“Seek not for riches but for wisdom; and behold, the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto you, and then shall you be made rich. Behold, he that hath eternal life is rich.” D&C 11:7
What is the end result of opposition: experience; going in a sequence; wisdom; mysteries of God; eternal riches; and eternal life. That’s a sequence. Can I be so bold as to suggest that your greatest wisdom comes from your greatest suffering. I do not believe there is any wisdom to be obtained sitting on a park bench in the sunshine. I believe that wisdom is found in dark, trying, opposing, resisting, situations. That is where wisdom comes.” Mike Stroud on adversity
“Struggle produces strength, suffering produces saints.” Neal A. Maxwell