Sunday, October 1, 2017

Elder Robert D. Hales on responding to suffering in life

Elder Robert D. Hales (August 24, 1932-October 1, 2017) served as a Seventy from 1976 to 1985, when he was called as a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles.
"Suffering is universal; how we react to suffering is individual. Suffering can take us one of two ways. It can be a strengthening and purifying experience combined with faith, or it can be a destructive force in our lives if we do not have the faith in the Lord’s atoning sacrifice. The purpose of suffering, however, is to build and strengthen us. We learn obedience by the things we suffer. We should be humbled and drawn to the Lord, as in the case of the prodigal son who appreciated his home only after going into the world and experiencing sorrow when he shut out his loved ones. (See Luke 15:11–32.) So suffering in his case was a vital part of his repentance.
"When suffering comes as a consequence of sin, it should lead to repentance."
- Robert D. Hales, "Your Sorrow Shall Be Turned to Joy," General Conference, October 1983
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

It is a fact of our mortal experience that we all experience suffering, in different forms and at different times in our lives. Elder Hales counseled us to take care in seeing that we respond appropriately to suffering; the key is that the suffering be "combined with faith":

Not all suffering is a result of our own sin or bad choices. Elder Hales discusses other aspects of suffering as well. But it is always a grand key that we must meet suffering with faith in order to survive and be strengthened as God would have us.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2017)

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