Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Why do bad things happen to good people?

One of the constants of the universe is entropy.  Without the input of external energy, things tend to wind down, degrade, decay, fall apart.  We interpret this from a personal perspective, and perceive that the universe is treating us unfairly.  Somehow, we have the notion that the universe has to act according to some set of rules, rules that make sense to us.  This leads to a lot of confusion, and genuine hurt.

Elder L. Whitney Clayton,   October 2009 General Conference  explains:

In a general sense, our burdens come from three sources. Some burdens are the natural product of the conditions of the world in which we live. Illness, physical disability, hurricanes, and earthquakes come from time to time through no fault of our own. We can prepare for these risks and sometimes we can predict them, but in the natural pattern of life we will all confront some of these challenges.
Other burdens are imposed on us by the misconduct of others. Abuse and addictions can make home anything but a heaven on earth for innocent family members. Sin, incorrect traditions, repression, and crime scatter burdened victims along the pathways of life. Even less-serious misdeeds such as gossip and unkindness can cause others genuine suffering.
 Our own mistakes and shortcomings produce many of our problems and can place heavy burdens on our own shoulders. The most onerous burden we impose upon ourselves is the burden of sin. We have all known the remorse and pain which inevitably follow our failure to keep the commandments.

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin,  October 2008 General Conference, relates his personal philosophy as his mother's counsel:

"...come what may, and love it."
I think she may have meant that every life has peaks and shadows and times when it seems that the birds don’t sing and bells don’t ring. Yet in spite of discouragement and adversity, those who are happiest seem to have a way of learning from difficult times, becoming stronger, wiser, and happier as a result...
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.

 Alma 7:11-12 teaches us about why Christ understands our suffering:
...he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.
 I know why there must be opposition in all things. Adversity, if handled correctly, can be a blessing in our lives. We can learn to love it.

1 comment:

a little music said...

I find it so hard not to weep at times like this. It can be so easy to count my blessings, but not my adversities . . . never my adversities, no. I can't comprehend that concept. I suppose I'm much too young to love my burdens. Perhaps in another millennium or so . . .