Throughout time, people from every walk in life have learned that surviving hard times is difficult. The wicked mocked Noah for many years while he was building the ark before he saw the fulfillment of his faith. Job had everything taken from him and had to suffer a long time before he recovered and had everything restored to him. The Israelites lived in bondage to the Egyptians for hundreds of years and had to endure slave labor and abuse. All of the prophets’ stories contain elements of trial, but they also have another thing in common. The Lord delivered every one of them.
Even Jesus Christ, the greatest of all of God’s children, had to endure agony in the Garden of Gethsemane until His sweat was as blood. Then He was scourged, beaten, and crucified. Our Savior bore the weight and the pain of all things for us and does not expect us to do anything that He was not willing to do.
One of the great blessings of being in a family is the support that you can give to each other when hard times do arise. Whether the trial was caused by sickness, financial difficulties, relationship problems, or anything else, the family should be a source of comfort and protection against the trials that will come. The family should be a support system that will make surviving hard times easier for everyone.
Turning to God as a Family
One way that the family can work on surviving hard times together is to turn to God as a family. It is important to do spiritual things together such as attending church meetings, reading from the scriptures together and discussing them, and kneeling together as a family in prayer – combining the faith of every family member when asking for guidance from our Heavenly Father.
As you do these things together, the Spirit of the Lord will be invited into your home. God may not immediately take away your trial, but He will comfort you and will strengthen you as a family so that you are able to bear the burdens you are asked to bear.
In the Book of Mormon, there is a passage about a group of people who had been captured and made slaves. Their taskmasters were cruel and caused them to carry heavy burdens. But these righteous people cried out to God in their hearts and the scriptures record that God lightened their burdens, even so that they couldn’t feel them on their backs. He will do the same for you and your family.
Turning to Each other as a Family
In the scriptures, when God calls missionaries or messengers, He always sends them out in groups of at least two people. He does this in part so that they can strengthen each other through the hardest times.
Alma was a Book of Mormon missionary called to preach to a wicked and stubborn people. He and his fellow missionaries, some of whom were his family, became depressed and discouraged. Alma called them all together in prayer to ask the Lord to help them.
He then recorded the result of that experience:
And the Lord provided for them that they should hunger not, neither should they thirst; yea, and he also gave them strength, that they should suffer no manner of afflictions, save it were swallowed up in the joy of Christ. Now this was according to the prayer of Alma; and this because he prayed in faith. (Alma 31: 38)
When we are baptized, we promise certain things, including that we “…are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death…” (Mosiah 18:9).
What better way to fulfill this promise than by helping those in your own family? Help can come in the form of comforting words, in helping with family duties, in a thoughtful gift, or an earnest prayer. When more than one person bears a load, it becomes easier.
Jesus spoke of this concept in the New Testament when He said “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:30). A yoke is a tool for hooking two beasts of burden, such as oxen or horses, to the same load. As long as the animals pull together, they can pull a load much heavier than any single animal. When we symbolically yoke ourselves to Christ and to each other, we are also capable of accomplishing much more than we would alone.
Waiting on the Lord
Having faith in God includes being able to patiently endure the trials that come to us. We do not always know how long we will be asked to endure those challenges. Some trials may not end in this mortal life, but we can have the assurance that all trials will end for the righteous when they are called home to Heaven.
Elder Dallin H. Oaks, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, said this about faith: “Faith means trust—trust in God’s will, trust in His way of doing things, and trust in His timetable. We should not try to impose our timetable on His” (“Timing”, Dallin H Oaks, BYU Devotional, January 2002).
When we adopt this attitude, it is much easier to find joy in our lives, even when we are having trying times. This new perspective enables us to learn from the difficult circumstances in our lives. Often times, when you look back at a trial after it has ended, you will see that it was not a wall that was blocking your path, but a stair step that took you to the next level.
Some days, it will be one family member that is struggling hardest, and sometimes another. Find that person and strengthen their faith with kind words and gestures, reminding them of your love for him or her. Tomorrow, it may be you who needs the helping hand.
More about “Surviving Hard Times”
“Surviving Hard Times” was written by Michael D. Young. The subject, “Surviving Hard Times” is important to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. If you would like to know more about Mormons with no obligation, please click on the following links: