“Suffering is universal; how we react to suffering is individual. Suffering can take us one of two ways. It can be a strengthening and purifying experience combined with faith, or it can be a destructive force in our lives if we do not have the faith in the Lord’s atoning sacrifice. The purpose of suffering, however, is to build and strengthen us. We learn obedience by the things we suffer.”
Elder Robert D. Hales, “Your Sorrow Shall Be Turned to Joy”, Ensign, November 1983
In our lives we have but one choice which will affect all others. The choice is whether or not we want to follow Christ. Granted, we sometimes do things that show we do not follow Christ. However, as long as our heart wants to, we will move forward following Christ, even if we take a step backwards every now and again.
As I read this, I was reminded of a mass shooting at a college in Oregon several years ago. The gunman would ask each person there if they were Christian, if they believed in God. What courage it would take to say yes. He then shot that person in the head.
As I thought about this, and I remember thinking this then, knowing and seeing the person in front of you get shot for being Christian, how would you answer that question knowing you would certainly die if you replied “yes”? What if I was in that situation? I’d like to say I would proudly affirm that I believed in Christ.
Now, our option to choose Christ or not probably won’t be so drastic or tragic, but you and I have to make that same choice everyday. And….our own death spiritually depends on our answer.