(November 16, 2015)
When facing adversity, it is comforting to remember that all things work together for our good. But common experience shows that this isn’t always the case – sometimes adversity drives us and others away from the Gospel, damages our souls, and leaves wounds and scars that feel nearly irreparable. How are we to understand this, then?
I think the problem is that we remember the Lord saying this to Joseph Smith in Doctrine and Covenants 121 and forget this earlier reference in this Section. Verse 24 gives the requirements for all things working together for our good. It is not merely that something painful or challenging has to happen, but that we must also search diligently, pray always, and be believing. When we do these things, all things work together for our good. When we refuse to do these things, we are hurt or potentially destroyed.
The Lord, in Section 121, did not reiterate these things presumably because Joseph Smith was searching diligently, praying always, and was believing. Thus all things worked together for his good. Had he not been so living, he could have been destroyed or turned away from the Gospel.
Inevitably we will face challenges, trials, and painful events in our lives. The way we respond to them will make all the difference, and the Lord here gives us clear guidance on how to do so.