The way we react to adversity can be a major factor in how happy and successful we can be in life.
When I was young I loved playing sports, and I have many memories of those days. But not all of them were pleasant. So the advice that my mother gave me has stayed with me all the rest of my life. "Joseph," she said, "come what may, and love it."
How can we love days that are filled with sorrow? We can't--at least not for the moment. But I do believe that the way we react to adversity can be a major factor in how happy and successful we can be. Over the years I've learned a few things that have helped me through times of testing and trial.
The first thing we can do is laugh. Have you ever seen an angry driver who, when someone else makes a mistake, reacts as though that person has insulted his honor, his family, his dog, and his ancestors all the way back to Adam? The next time you're tempted to groan, you might try to laugh instead. It'll extend your life and make the lives of all those around you more enjoyable.
The second thing we can do is seek for the eternal. You may feel singled out when adversity enters your life. You shake your head and wonder, "Why me?" Learning to endure times of disappointment, suffering, and sorrow is part of 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. So we experience hard things that we too may have increased compassion and understanding for others.
The third we can do is to understand the principle of compensation. The Lord compensates the faithful for every loss. That which was taken away from those who love the Lord will be added unto them in His own way. Though it may not come at a time we desire, the faithful will know that every tear today will eventually be returned a hundredfold with tears of rejoicing and gratitude.
The fourth thing we can do is put our trust in our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son." The Lord Jesus Christ is our partner, helper, and advocate. He wants us to be happy. He wants us be successful.
We can endure hardship and trial. We can say, as did my mother, "Come what may, and love it." The simple secret is this: put your trust in the Lord, do your best, and leave the rest to Him. Of this I testify in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.