To make a really long story short, I was recently diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, a chronic pain disease.
In my moments of anger, I think of how I’m only 25 and how incredibly unfair this whole thing seems. In my moments of clarity, I remember that this life is a life of trials and tests. And that God is in this with me, for the entire journey.
I know that God knows us as individuals and that He gives us trials for our good. (That's really hard to believe during some moments.) I also know that our trials are very personalized.
One night when I was feeling particularly beaten down and hopeless, my husband and I started talking about there are different kinds of trials (and pain)– physical, financial, mental, spiritual, etc. And it hit me.
And I just started cracking up! Laughing through my tears!
Of all the different kinds of trials, physical pain is the hardest for me to deal with. My husband and I named all those different kinds of trials and I was thinking, “Well, I wish it was a spiritual trial, that would be easy!”
I have been given a trial that is tailor-made for me. Physical pain is not something I handle well or with grace. And now, apparently, is my chance to learn.
Didn’t a General Authority somewhere along the line once say that we should love our trials? Something about appreciating the opportunity for growth and yada yada yada?
I don’t love this. Not even close.
But I know this difficulty will refine me-- smooth away my rough edges and bring me closer to my Savior and Heavenly Father. If I choose to react to my trial that way. Choose to treat it as an opportunity and not a burden.
(So far, it feels like a burden most of the time.)
I've been reading a lot of General Authority talks on trials and such, and I'd like to finish with a quote I found from Pres. James E. Faust that really helped me this week.
"Let us not presume that because the way is at times difficult and challenging, our Heavenly Father is not mindful of us. He is rubbing off our rough edges and sensitizing us for our great responsibilities ahead. May His blessings be upon us spiritually, that we may have a sweet companionship with the Holy Ghost, and that our footsteps might be guided along paths of truth and righteousness.
"And may each of us follow the Lord’s comforting counsel: 'Be patient in afflictions, for thou shalt have many; but endure them, for, lo, I am with thee, even unto the end of thy days' (D&C 24:8)."