The Beauty of Pain

Posted: 1 October 2010 in Thoughts
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A friend of mine posted a video on his facebook page of a woman who survived a late-term abortion. Despite being hated for the first few years of life, she was placed into a wonderful home with a loving family. In this video, the woman is speaking to a large group of people and she makes one very profound statement: “We misunderstand how beautiful suffering can be.” I for one have never thought of suffering quite like beautiful but obviously when we are in the midst of suffering it never is. It is only after we have suffered and are sitting the relative “calm after the storm” that we can how we have changed through our suffering.

Her biggest emphasis was how she was not her today without Christ. She calls herself “God’s Girl”. In essence we are all “God’s Girls and Boys”. He has given us the power to bring about mighty change as well as utter destruction. He has left it in our hands to decide how we will use this “power”, also known as agency.

One thing that struck we about the statement mentioned above and the demeanour of the woman in general is that despite all the trials in her life and the negative attitudes of those people early in her life, she never let the opposition or the obstacles get her down. She never gave up. She was strengthened by her faith and her sheer determination to live and be all she could be. She had truly suffered from before birth but it made her stronger in a positive way rather than a negative strength. She used her trials as a tool for educating people rather than harbouring ill towards her birth mother and the man who performed the abortion.

I’m sure we can all look into our lives and see how people or society has wronged us. It may have even made us bitter and angry, feeling like we are owed something for the pain that the world has caused us. I know I can. People weren’t always kind to me while I was growing up. Never to my face. It was always behind my back. The gossip and backbiting that youth and young adults are prone to do. It has been difficult at times to deal with because no one likes to be judged by people on a constant basis. At times I could even be mad a God for making me the way he did, but I don’t. I have been taught that God “give[s] unto men weakness[es] that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them” (Ether 12:27). I am not perfect so that I may develop faith that through my faith God might make me strong.

This past August I was in Manchester for a Young Single Adult (YSA) Conference for my church (LDS). The theme was from Joshua 1:9 “Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” While I didn’t learn to much at the conference (sad I know), reading this verse after listening to this woman’s story fills me with emotion. No matter where I am and no matter what trials I am dealing with, God is always by my side giving me strength, as long as I am looking towards him for guidance. Go figure right now I have on repeat “Abide with Me.” Nephi exclaims in 2nd Nephi 4:34 “O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh.” Nephi, a prophet from the Book of Mormon, knew that by trusting ones own works, they could only get so far, but by trusting in God and looking towards him in our times of need, that we will never be alone. Things may not happen how we would like them to, but God’s plan is not always understood by use. We just need to have faith and trust in him.

This is where the beauty in suffering comes into play. While suffering is not beautiful, as I said before, what is beautiful about it is our faith. That even through our suffering we never give up and always trust that something good will come of it. We show our faith by thanking God for the beauty around us while asking him to keep us strong. There are those of you who think that such thinking is impossible, but have you ever been suffering with the intense pains of food-poisoning, received a blessing and the next day been almost completely well? I have. I should have been suffering longer but because of my faith and the faith of those giving me the blessing God saw fit to make me well. Cynics may scoff and unbelievers may mock, but my faith will never be deterred. Even in the darkest hours of my life, even when the night can get no darker, even when the world turns its back on me because I believe, I will never deny that my beautiful suffering has made me into who I am today and has made my faith so strong that even in the depths of sin I will never deny my faith. By this I shall always remember “that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that [I] must build [my] foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon [me], it shall have no power over [me] to drag [me] down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which [I am] built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall” (Helaman 5:12). And although I may stumble I will never, ever fall.

  1. Teresa says:

    Love it. Certainly your most profound entry so far. Preach on brother, preach on! I think your personal struggles will make you an excellent teacher, whether in the classic sense or while working within the church through service.


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