Saturday, July 30, 2016

Joseph B. Wirthlin on enduring life's challenges in faith

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin (1917-2008) served as a Seventy from 1976 to 1986, then as a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles from 1986 until his passing in 2008 at age 91.
"Learning to endure times of disappointment, suffering, and sorrow is part of our on-the-job training. These experiences, while often difficult to bear at the time, are precisely the kinds of experiences that stretch our understanding, build our character, and increase our compassion for others.
"Because Jesus Christ suffered greatly, He understands our suffering. He understands our grief. We experience hard things so that we too may have increased compassion and understanding for others.
"Remember the sublime words of the Savior to the Prophet Joseph Smith when he suffered with his companions in the smothering darkness of Liberty Jail:
"'My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;
"'And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.' (D&C 121:7-8)
"With that eternal perspective, Joseph took comfort from these words, and so can we. Sometimes the very moments that seem to overcome us with suffering are those that will ultimately suffer us to overcome."
- Joseph B. Wirthlin, "Come What May, and Love It," Ensign, Nov. 2008, pp. 26-28
Click here to read the full talk

Elder Wirthlin's insights on this topic are part of one of the most beloved of the talks he shared with Church members, as the last conference talk he gave less than two months before his passing. Having done some suffering and enduring of his own, he was very qualified to share these insights. He knew that going through the "disappointment, suffering, and sorrow" that life has to offer can help to:

  • stretch our understanding
  • build our character
  • increase our compassion for others
He also knew that because of the love of the Savior, we never have to endure alone; we can always know that He understands the suffering and grief of our challenges.

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