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Nine Moons » Blog Archive : Does God Give Us Trials, If So Why? » Does God Give Us Trials, If So Why?

Does God Give Us Trials, If So Why?

Don - August 15, 2006

I’ve tried to ponder this question with all it’s ramifications and it just brings more questions to my mind. I realize we all have different trials and no one gets out of this life without them.

Let me dump out my random thoughts and ask for your feedback. First I think many of our trials are caused by two things, our own stupid actions/choices and “crap happens”. Earth life and mortal bodies bring sickness, disease and injuries. Our choices can bring sickness etc. but they are more likely to bring trials like emotional or financial trials.

The trials that come from consequences of my actions should be such that I can own up to them and take responsibilty for them. I shouldn’t “blame” God for them or wonder why He “gave” them to me, He probably didn’t.

Sickness and disease trials are different than choices trials to me. Some people fight health problems all their lives, some only later in life, some not much at all. Sure some of these trials can be from the consequences of our own actions, but part of it can be from “bad” genes, or where you grew up or even where you are living now.

Does God give us emotional, financial, or health trials? Scriptually it appears He does…there’s plenty of examples. But, why? The simple Sunday School answer is so we can learn…to be humble…trust in Him…be more empathic of others…etc.

As a loving father I have a difficult time thinking that I would cause a trial for one of my children, on purpose. Sure I want them to learn certain “lessons” but they don’t have to experience everything first hand to learn it. I didn’t have to take Rusty out to the garage and smash his thumb with a hammer…he was perfectly capable of doing that himself. I didn’t have to take him over to Mike’s house and expose him to the measles so he’d know about sickness. Or force him to smoke so he can understand what cancer is all about.

If Rusty had never smashed his thumb with a hammer would I feel it necessary to make sure he has that experience in his life and intervene so it happens? Maybe he doesn’t need this experience but his brother Bret does, so I make sure he gets it instead.

I guess it all comes down to thinking is God so involved with every detail of my life that He customizes certain trials so I get the experiences I need. Therefore I should be grateful for all my trials because I don’t know which ones He put on me and which ones I brought on myself. Do I thank Him for the ones I bring on myself? How do I tell the difference?

Random thoughts….maybe you have reasonable answers?


  1. There is no answer to the question that you or I can discover.

    You are the answer to the trials you recieve. The trials themselves are a question. How you rise to meet them is the answer.

    Comment by Seth R. — August 15, 2006 @ 1:26 pm

  2. Moroni 7:

    12 Wherefore, all things which are good cometh of God; and that which is evil cometh of the devil; for the devil is an enemy unto God, and fighteth against him continually, and inviteth and enticeth to sin, and to do that which is evil continually.
    13 But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God.
    14 Wherefore, take heed, my beloved brethren, that ye do not judge that which is evil to be of God, or that which is good and of God to be of the devil.

    Not that this scripture really clarifies anything, but I’ve always kind of carried that in my mind—anything good comes from God. Anything bad comes from the devil.

    And God is capable of turning bad things into good things—our weaknesses into strengths, etc. Any adversity is a chance for us to exercise our faith, which can be a good thing. And sometimes great blessings follow.

    Comment by Susan M — August 15, 2006 @ 3:54 pm

  3. Susan,
    What do you do with the scripture in Ether 12 that says God gives us weakness so we may be humble?

    Also, what is “bad”? I wonder if our mortal definitions of bad don’t match up with God’s, at least in terms of trials. Sickness is “bad” in my mind, and yet that is part of God’s design. Death is often seen as “bad” in our minds, and yet it is absolutely necessary. I think there are so many dimensions to what we experience that we truly can’t understand beyond the dark glass. “All things have been done in the wisdom of Him that knoweth all things.” “I know God loveth his children; nevertheless I do not know the meaning of all things.”

    When I try to explain my chronic illness to my children, I use the analogy of weights. In order to build muscles, sometimes some pain, opposition, resistance is necessary.

    I also think there is no way we could appreciate the Atonement or even turn to Christ for the healing power of the Atonement without challenges in our life. I even think that way when dealing with the larger “why is life so unfair” questions. We can’t possibly base our view of God solely on what happens in this life. Clearly, if we did, God would be a wholly unjust being. But we know He is not. So there must be more than meets the eye — on a global level as well as a personal level.

    One last thought — whether we bring trials on ourselves or God inflicts them on us (both are valid forces in our lives) isn’t the answer the same for both? Christ can make all things better — if not now, in the eternities. Either way, we are wholly reliant on Him to make things right.

    Comment by mullingandmusing (m&m) — August 15, 2006 @ 5:47 pm

  4. Ok, you finally prodded me to finish an essay I’ve been working on. I’ll probably have to do it again, but …

    Comment by Stephen M (Ethesis) — August 15, 2006 @ 8:25 pm

  5. What is your question here? You state that you know God indeed gives us trials but you don’t believe He needs to? Or are you asking WHY does God gives us trials?

    If it’s the latter, I’d say it’s like m&m’s analogy of building muscle. Or even better, Joseph Smith’s rough stone rolling analogy.

    Oh, and I took the advice of the old adage “Wise people learn from experience. Super wise people learn from other’s experiences” in regards to Rusty’s MANY mishaps! And yes, I’m amazingly wise…or at least a wise-cracker>:p

    Comment by Bret — August 15, 2006 @ 9:21 pm

  6. A simple thought about this topic is that we live in a fallen world and in a fallen condition. Therefore, hammers sometimes miss their mark. I often think that in some post-mortal classroom we will be taught a perfect understanding of what a fallen condition is, and our jaws will drop when we see what our fallen, mortal experience has done for us in our journey to be like Him.

    Comment by Hal H. — August 16, 2006 @ 12:58 pm

  7. My blog post on this subject

    Comment by Stephen M (Ethesis) — August 17, 2006 @ 4:38 am

  8. We tend to misread Ether 12:27, as in comment number 3 above. The scripture does not say “weaknesses.” It says “I give unto men weakness.” (singular) This potentially has a whole different meaning.

    As far as I know, there is not a single scripture that tells us that God gives us weaknesses. I too have struggled with the idea of a loving God giving us individual weaknesses. I am no scholar, but I believe in agency and being an individual child of God rather than some plaything made by God and molded by him like a craftsman might make a puppet, for his own enjoyment.

    The Lord says in Ether 12:27 that he gave us all “weakness,”(singular). Could not this be our inability to return to Him without accepting the atonement of His son? This is surely our weakness (see Jacob 4:7. Verse 27 and 28 read a little differently with that idea. The “weak things” (the ability to come back to God) become strong unto them (they can now come back through righteous living, faith, etc). Read v 28 in this light too. Jacob 4:7 too.

    Now I believe we are endowed with Godlike talents, because we are his offspring. And I think we can find scriptures to support this a lot easier than ones that indicate God gave us weaknesses.

    Incidently, the word “weaknesses” does not appear in a single place in any of the LDS standard works. Ether 12:27 is possibly one of the most misinterpreted verses in the canon.

    It’s like members who believe the scriptures–and often with reference to the word of wisdom–use the term “moderation in all things.” The word “moderation” appears once in the standard works (Philip. 4:5).

    Anyway, I think Ether 12:27 is great food for thought


    Comment by Roger — December 13, 2008 @ 9:37 pm

  9. Roger I think your reading of Ether 12:27 leaves it with no meaning whatsoever. There is nothing in that scripture that says God gave us weakness for his own enjoyment, or that we are like puppets. It says he gave us weakness that we may be humble. His grace is sufficient for us if we humble ourselves and turn to him. Then he will make weak things in us become strong. I have seen this process work in my own life and others. I think it’s real, and I don’t think it matters one bit whether the word weakness is singular or plural.

    Comment by MCQ — December 14, 2008 @ 1:24 pm

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