“What Did I Do Wrong?”


Over the course of my lifetime I have held private interviews with thousands of members of the church. Common among almost all has been the sharing of challenges and trials that have tested their faith. Some seemed to gain strength from them, while others faith seemed to falter. I am not totally sure why some seemed to whether the storms while others started to drown, but I think some of it has to do with the understanding of the plan of salvation. I read a statement by H. Wallace Goddard on this subject which I found interesting. He said:

“Latter-day Saints may be especially vulnerable to the rosy world view. We expect to be blessed for doing what is right. Then the sky falls. We don’t marry. Or our made-in-heaven marriage falls apart. Our children stray. Our careers flounder. We ask, “ What did I do wrong?” “Didn’t I have enough faith?” “Is God mad at me?” “Is the ‘good news’ really a deception?” It turns out that doing good does not guarantee a life of contentment and fulfilled dreams. We may be blessed for our efforts with the gift of serenity—or with new challenges. God will provide precisely the experiences that can lead us to greater faith and a closer relationship with Him…The rosy assumption does not hold up very well when we look at the lives of saints. Suffering Job. Joseph Smith. Jeremiah. Adam. Spencer W. Kimball. Jesus. These are good people who gave life their best and still got pummeled.”(The Lesson of the Washing Machine Hose).

The plan of salvation includes agency and the resulting consequences of that great gift. The use of that agency by man has a ripple effect as “no man is an island.” When you add the consequences of “the fall” which introduced death and sin into the world, we can sometimes feel that we are surrounded on all sides with peril. But by having a vision of the eternal nature of life, we can make better decisions that ultimately lead to happiness.

I think all of us know individuals who live difficult lives but end up using their challenges as a way to inspire and bless the lives of others. I think these people come to a realization that they are of value and worth, regardless of their circumstances in life. We can become “bitter” at life’s trials, or we can try to understand that part of the “plan” is learning to overcome “bitterness” and develop attributes of Christ.

“What did I do wrong?” is a question that has its answer packaged in the plan of happiness designed by our Heavenly Father. By understanding that, we find that nothing is ‘going wrong’ in our life. It is just according to plan!

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