When tragedy, disappointment, and heartache surface in our lives, it is not unusual for many of us to become self-condemning and resentful. In the stress of the situation we declare, "What have we done to deserve this? Why does the Lord allow this to happen to us?"
Sometimes we spend so much time trying to determine what we did wrong in the past to deserve the unpleasant happenings of the moment that we fail to resolve the challenges of the present. Og Mansion wrote in his book The Greatest Miracle in the World, "If we lock ourselves in a prison of failure and self-pity, we are the only jailers...we have the only key to our freedom."
We can let ourselves out of such a prison by turning to the Lord for strength. With His help we can use our trials as stepping-stones. The keys are in our hands.
"I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise." (D&C 82:10)
If we are offended and resentful, can we believe that He is bound to help us in our tragedies and disappointments? The scripture does not tell us how or when this commitment will be effective or realized, but His promise is real and binding. Our challenge is to endure. There will always be testing and trials along life's paths. Heartaches and tragedies need not defeat us if we remember God's promise.
A worthwhile attitude for all of us could well be, "Help us, O Lord, to remember thy love for us and help us to be fortifid by thy strength when our eyes are blurred with tears of sorrow and our vision is limited."
It is expedient for all of us, particularly those who may be weighed down by grief because of acts of misconduct or misfortune, to recall that even the Prophet Joseph Smith had hours of despair because of his very trying experiences in the Liberty Jail. Perhaps he too was entitled to question, "What did I do wrong? What have I done to displease thee, O Lord? Where have I failed? Why are the answers to my prayers and please withheld?" In response to the feelings of his heart and mind he cried out: "O God, where art thou? And where is the pavilion that covereth thy hiding place?" (D&C 121:1)
The Lord responded to him, as He does to each of us: "My son, peace be unto thy soul: thine afflictions shall be but a small moment. And if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes." (D&C 121:7-8)