The Lord commanded the prophet Lehi to prophesy to his people concerning the destruction of Jerusalem. Lehi was obedient, but the people were not receptive to his message. The Lord spoke to Lehi in a dream, and praised him for doing his duty. He told His prophet, "Blessed art thou Lehi, because of the things which thou hast done; and because thou hast been faithful and declared unto this people the things which I commanded thee, behold, they seek to take away thy life" (1 Nephi 2:1)
Did you catch that? The Lord told Lehi "Blessed art thou...behold, they seek to take away thy life." That sounds like a strange sort of blessing to me!
I find it interesting how different the Lord's perspective is from our perspective. Things that we now think of as great trials might someday, with an eternal perspective, be manifest as the richest blessings.
An elderly man in my ward who has been a friend of my family for years is in a care center with only days to live. Before his condition became critical, he would play bingo with the other residents to pass the time. Those who won each round would receive 10 cent coupons that could be exchanged for candy and other items at the gift shop. My littlest brother, when he went to visit this man, eagerly informed my mom that when he got old he wanted to live in THIS care center, too, so he could play bingo all day long and trade his winnings for candy. In his little mind, it hadn't occurred to him that the elderly people who live in such a place would gladly give up their bingo winnings for some of the youth and energy that he took for granted, or that great-grandparents probably place a much lower value on gift-shop candy bars than second-graders do.
I wonder if God doesn't sometimes look at us the way I looked at my little brother--with a kindly smile and a gentle assurance, "dear child, I know that your worldview might make sense to you now, but someday you will understand what really matters, you will see life from a higher plane, and you will realize what life is all about, you will see more and know more, and the things you experienced in this life will make infinitely more sense to you. Until then, please realize that all is not as it now appears to be."
All this is not to discount our struggles in this life, nor to belittle the very real pains and sorrows we must face, but it does give us hope that someday the things that we do not understand will be explained to us, that all will be right in the end, that eventually we will understand the meaning of all things. The sometimes-painful truths of our lives can be illuminated by him who "descended below all things, in that he comprehended all things, that he might be in all and through all things, the light of truth" (Doc. & Cov. 88:6).
Ether tells us that "whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God" (Ether 12:4). This better world is ours by covenant, as the Lord has stated, "Therefore, he giveth this promise unto you, with an immutable covenant that they shall be fulfilled; and all things wherewith you have been afflicted shall work together for your good, and to my name’s glory, saith the Lord" (Doc. & Cov. 98:3).
The Lord's word is good. His promise is sure. And even when we do not understand, even when our perspective is limited, we can have faith that the infinite love of a perfect God will see us through the storms that lie ahead, and will guide us until we reach that better world, where we will be able to look back and see the Lord's hand in things we called trials as well as things we called blessings, and know that all things wherewith we have been afflicted have truly worked together for our good.
Picture from http://www.lindajlord.com/2009/01/