Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Howard W. Hunter on refinement through the trials of life

President Howard W. Hunter (1907-1995) was called to the Quorum of Twelve in 1959.  He served as Church President for only nine months, from June 5, 1994 to his death on March 3, 1995.
"Today other biographies of faith are being written—Saints who, like Job, suffer physical pain, emotional sorrow, and even disloyalty from friends—yet remain faithful; Saints who, like Jacob, see sons and daughters not so valiant as they should be, but who bless them for their potential; Saints who, like Paul, endure great ridicule and endure to the end; Saints who, like Nephi, must separate themselves from family because of their commitment to the gospel. There are those who know pain and sorrow because of loss of loved ones; who know spiritual sorrow because children go astray; who experience loss of health, financial reverses, and emotional distress, and yet, like Job, resolve, 'When he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold' (Job 23:10)....
"We stand on the summit of 150 years of Church history; yet there are other summits to climb before the work of God is crowned with victory. There will be tribulations collectively and hardships personally—that resistance so essential to the eternal plan.
"What makes us imagine that we may be immune from the same experiences that refined the lives of former-day Saints? We must remember that the same forces of resistance which prevent our progress afford us also opportunities to overcome. God will have a tried people!
"I witness today this truth from a verse of one of our favorite hymns:
"When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply.
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine.
(Hymns, no. 66)."
- Howard W. Hunter, "God Will Have a Tried People," Ensign, May 1980, pp. 24-26
Click here to read the full talk

We sometimes reflect with awe on the lives and examples of those in the past. President Hunter suggests that many new "biographies of faith" are being written by those today who are struggling with great challenges in their own way. Those challenges include physical pain, emotional sorrow, disloyal friends, wandering children, loss of family support, loss of health, financial problems, and so on—the list is long.

So many of life's challenges are part of the "refining" process that brings us true progress! That's where our faith enables us to not only survive the challenges, but to remember the Lord's truly remarkable promise that "all things shall work together for [our] good" (D&C 90:24) when our hearts are filled with love for God and trust in his eternal plan, and our lives demonstrate that faith in our deeds.

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