During our local LDS (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) Fast & Testimony services this morning, Brother Francis Vancour quoted a homily that I had previously heard but since forgotten:
"Trials and tribulations are mandatory. Misery is optional."
That wise counsel struck a particular poignant chord within me as I reflected anew about my own life's history.
How grateful I am for the multitude of blessings that have been created for me as a direct result of my personal trials and tribulations.
Truly, the truths and principles of the restored gospel have brought me much understanding, appreciation, and joy in my journey through life.
Following the testimony of Brother Vancour, Sister Autumn Betts came to the pulpit to announce that "we are pregnant again.", and then tearfully expressed her joy for her family, and especially her worthy and faithful husband, who loves her and their children with all his heart.
She went on to express her profound gratitude for her marriage to such a humble Priesthood holder, who always is available to bless her and their children, by means of the Priesthood and also his own eternal love for them.
Shortly thereafter, Sister Sandy White arose and pointed out to us how the movie, "Spiderman II", reminded her of the importance of being true to what we know is true and the trust laid upon us.
As I further reflected upon all of this, I remembered how much I have been blessed whenever I strove to be true to my faith and my Priesthood ordination, despite otherwise distressing and discouraging circumstances.
For example, more than once in my life, my financial affairs have been in such peril that I despaired of ever making ends meet or even to provide a roof over my head,
However, by always paying my tithes and offerings to the Lord as my first budget priority, "the windows of Heaven" were opened for me, so much so that I could scarce receive it all. (King James Bible: Old Testament, Malachi, Chapter 3, Verse 10)
Also, as I have striven to live the health code and other commandments for Latter-day Saints, God's promise to us that "the destroying angel shall pass by..." has been fulfilled in my life many times over. (LDS Church Doctrine & Covenants: Section 89, Verse 21)
And so it is, that none of us are exempt from life's trials and tribulations, but the restored gospel strengthens us to better cope with and overcome them, so that we find joy in our journeys.