When people think of the Philippines, most remember the broadcasts of the devastation of Typhoon Yolanda. Big disasters make the news throughout the world. Those who lived through the storm continue to tell their stories. A missionary previously assigned to Tacloban shared the following:
Near the storm center, there were some missionaries who stayed in their house through the storm. When the worst had passed, they opened their door, only to find that theirs was the only house standing in the neighborhood.
In another area nearby, nearly ninety percent of the people lost their lives. The missionaries and the church members were among those who survived.
It is a miracle that although there were over 200 missionaries scattered throughout the island, none lost their lives. None were injured.
The typhoon has passed, and resilient people go about daily rebuilding their lives. But in the lives of the people of the Philippines, as in the lives of all people throughout the world, small storms continue to enter each life.
During the last several days, we have visited the family of a father of twelve who was killed in a fall. We visited another family to admire their newborn baby. Two young men were in a motorcycle accident. One escaped with scrapes and bruises, the other is in critical condition.
A man spoke of his desire to be baptized and of his struggle to overcome his addiction to nicotine. We went to the hospital where a daughter had brought her father because he could not talk. Nearby, a baby screamed while the nurses attempted to draw blood.
People are burdened by bills they cannot pay; others do not have even a few pesos to buy rice.
President Dieter F.Uchtdorf says “As I look over my own life, it is apparent that many of the times of greatest growth have come to me while passing through stormy seasons.
Our all-wise Heavenly Father knew that for His children to grow into the beings they were designed to become, they would need to experience seasons of adversity during their sojourn in mortality. The Book of Mormon prophet Lehi said that without opposition, “righteousness could not be brought to pass” (2 Nephi 2:11). Indeed, it is life’s bitterness that allows us to recognize, contrast, and appreciate its sweetness (see D&C 29:39; Moses 6:55).
President Brigham Young put it this way: “All intelligent beings who are crowned with crowns of glory, immortality, and eternal lives must pass through every ordeal appointed for intelligent beings to pass through, to gain their glory and exaltation. Every calamity that can come upon mortal beings will be suffered … to prepare them to enjoy the presence of the Lord. … Every trial and experience you have passed through is necessary for your salvation.”1
The question is not whether we will experience seasons of adversity but how we will weather the storms. Our great opportunity during the ever-changing seasons of life is to hold fast to the faithful word of God, for His counsel is designed not only to help us weather the storms of life but also to guide us past them. Our Heavenly Father has given His word through His prophets—precious knowledge designed to lead us through the challenges of difficult seasons toward the unspeakable joy and brilliant light of eternal life. It is an important part of our life’s experience to develop the strength, courage, and integrity to hold fast to truth and righteousness despite the buffeting we may experience…
Sometimes we cannot understand why difficult, even unfair, things happen in life. But as followers of Christ, we trust that if we “search diligently, pray always, and be believing, … all things shall work together for [our] good, if [we] walk uprightly” (D&C 90:24; emphasis added). (Liahona, Sept. 2013)
The tree in the picture was toppled by a storm a number of years ago. It did not give up, but grew deeper roots and new branches. It is now large, welcome shade tree, and is stronger than before.