Trials come to everyone in mortality, and LDS singles are certainly no exception there. Being single in a family centered culture is challenging to say the least. If you don’t think it is, you’ve been living under a rock and need to get out more.
We all know our trials can help us to grow and become what we otherwise couldn’t become. They’re stepping stones in our journey to become more like our Heavenly Father.
Yet that knowledge can be cold comfort to someone in the midst of an especially challenging trial. We can focus on the adversity so much that we fail to see any hope for the future. The light at the end of the tunnel appears to be an oncoming train and not the other side of the mountain.
Yet there is always hope because there is always Christ. He will not leave us nor forsake us so long as we are true to Him. He will provide the tender mercies we need to carry on despite our adversities. He will give us eyes of faith to see the opportunity amidst the obstacle.
Opposition is essential
Many of us fail to see the opportunity because we’re fixated on the obstacle. Sometimes we need to take a step back to see it.
And yes, every obstacle we encounter in life comes with an opportunity. It’s eternal law. As Lehi taught his son Jacob, “For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things” (2 Nephi 2:11).
Opposites allow us to make sense out of our experiences. We don’t know the sweet unless we also know the bitter. We don’t know pleasure if we don’t know pain. Everything has its opposite.
That’s very inspiring when it comes to adversity. Opposites mean that for everything we encounter in life that would seem to hold us back, there must also be something that can help us to move forward. With every obstacle comes an opportunity.
We need eyes to see
Just because that opportunity is there, however, doesn’t mean we’ll automatically see it. Often we need eyes of faith to see the opportunity amidst the obstacle.
My favorite story in this regard is of Enoch. When the Lord called him to preach repentance to the people, Enoch could see only the obstacle. He protested, “Why is it that I have found favor in thy sight, and am but a lad, and all the people hate me; for I am slow of speech; wherefore am I thy servant?” (Moses 6:31).
The Lord’s response is a classic example of confidence and faith:
As good as that was, the best was still to come. The Lord instructs Enoch to anoint his eyes with clay, promising that then he would see. He did so, and the vision that unfolded before him was magnificent.
Enoch went on to be a powerful voice for righteousness. So powerful was his voice, in fact, that
Not bad for a lad who thought himself slow of speech!
Like Enoch, we often discount our own potential when faced with challenging obstacles. Yet also like Enoch, we can come to the Lord Who will show us what we can become and help us to see the opportunity amidst our obstacles.
We can find opportunity
Three weeks ago I touched on seeing the opportunity amidst the obstacle while discussing Elder John C. Pingree Jr.’s October 2017 General Conference address “I Have a Work for Thee.” Elder John C. Pingree shared two examples.
The first was a man laid off from his job as a successful human resources professional. This man saw the opportunity amidst the obstacle. He used his knowledge and experience to start a business helping others to find work. Having lost his job himself, he understood the emotional turmoil that comes with that situation. That understanding gave him an edge over other job placement agencies whose workers never had the experience of losing a job.
The second example was a young couple whose child was stillborn. This couple saw the opportunity amidst the obstacle. Their experience gave them an understanding of stillbirth they would not otherwise have. They leveraged that understanding to provide counseling and other support for other parents who experience stillbirth. Because of their own experience, they know exactly what these parents need.
With every obstacle that would hold us back comes an opportunity that can propel us forward and bless the lives of others in the process. But we need eyes of faith to see that opportunity. That’s why it’s so important to partner with the Lord. He can help us to see what’s already all around us. When we see the opportunity, we can overcome the obstacle. And that will bring more joy in our journey.
Howdy! I'm Lance, host of Joy in the Journey Radio. I've been blogging about LDS singles life since 2012, and since 2018 I've been producing a weekly radio show to help LDS singles have more joy in their journey and bring all Latter-day Saints together. Let's engage a conversation that will increase the faith of LDS singles and bring singles and marrieds together in a true unity of the faith.
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