"What doesn't kill you makes you stronger."
I have always adhered to this statement. Thinking otherwise is just too darn depressing, but in reality it isn't necessarily so. We meet adversity on a daily basis, but usually in small doses. Sitting in a traffic jam may help teach us patience. Having a reprimand from a boss helps keeps us humble and may well point out a weakness that needs to be strengthened. These things help us grow.
We often hear that "God doesn't give us more than we can handle."
I'm sorry, but that is just not true. Not all adversity comes in small doses. Sometimes is is massive and terrible and overwhelming.
If we could handle everything that happens, we would never ask for His help.
If we could handle everything that happens, we would never be stretched and wouldn't grow.
If we could handle everything that happens, our faith would never be tested.
We came here to be tested. To learn. To grow. To develop faith. To learn to give and serve and to learn to be humble and receive.
None of these lessons come easily, but we do "handle" them. Sometimes we accept the challenges with grace and sometimes we react in anger and hurt. Sometimes we stretch and meet the challenge head-on and sometimes we withdraw into ourselves and hide from the problem.
Some people get stronger and then reach out to others.
Some people get angry and bitter at the unfairness of the challenge.
Sometimes people decide that they are not willing to be challenged anymore and remove themselves from the situation.
None of us particularly enjoy adversity. But the worst is watching other people that we love have to deal with adversity.
I have a friend who seems to have a never ending stream of unbelievable challenges in her life. A few she has brought upon herself, but most have been the result of situations far beyond her control. I don't think she feels strong, but I see a totally different woman now than I knew just a few years ago.
Right now I am watching Reed be challenged with injuries. I don't know why he is dealing with this. He had surgery on his right knee in January after it dislocated during wrestling practice.. It was painful and difficult. It tested his patience, his obedience, and his attitude. Apparently he didn't learn enough because last month he broke his right hand. And then yesterday he dislocated his left knee. Here he is facing another missed season. And yet, he has chosen to have surgery.
Last night he was mad and frustrated. There were some tears and raw emotions. He was asking, "Why me? Why me again?" It is a horrible thing to watch as a parent. Because it is all true and all too real. As the hours ticked by he began to understand the challenge before him. His humor began to haltingly return. He was willing to accept a Priesthood Blessing on his behalf and expressed gratitude and love to his dad and his brother, Colby. This morning was as whole different story. A few hours of sleep had allowed him to fully accept the challenge. All traces of anger were gone. There was no mention of how unfair it is that he is once again missing an activity he enjoys. When given a choice to let things go or to have surgery, he decided to accept the additional pain of surgery in hopes of more complete healing. I have to admit that I am stunned by his positive attitude.
I worry why he needs these lessons. What will he face in the future? Who will he need to help? What is the purpose of these specific challenges? I may never know the answers to these questions. But if he is willing to walk by faith, so am I.
In the words of Joseph B. Wirthlin, "Come what may and love it."
Photo from http://www.landeeseelandeedo.com/