Do we sometimes—maybe even often—feel that our burdens are too great to bear? That there is no release from suffering in all its forms: stress, anxiety, sickness, weakness, temptations, pain, misperceptions, disabilities, affronts, evil speaking, persecution, poverty, etc.? Lest we lose our perspective, let’s remember that we consented to bear these very burdens before we came to earth. Let’s also remember the burdens our Savior took upon himself for our causing ourselves and others such grief:
“For he thought, Surely they are my people, sons who will not play false; and so he became their Savior: with all their troubles he troubled himself, the angel of his presence delivering them. In his love and compassion he himself redeemed them; he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old” (Isaiah 63:8–9); “Even to your old age, I am present; till you turn grey, it is I who sustain you. It is I who made you, and I who bear you up; it is I who carry and rescue you” (Isaiah 46:4).
The Lord thus has full knowledge of what he is asking of us. Hasn’t he experienced all that humanity can possibly experience—which qualified him to become the Savior of the world? What else does John mean when he says, “There are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written” (John 21:25)? Do we presume to know better than John to limit what he means by that?
The scriptures evidently teach that what is called the “passion of Christ” can also become our passion. Says Peter, “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy” (1 Peter 4:12–13). Says Paul, who understood the same: “I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation” (2 Corinthians 7:4).
Saints who have come to understand the purpose of suffering—that it sanctifies the soul and can unite us with Christ—have learned to transform it into a God-given chance to rise above every evil. Witness Alma’s people, reviled and in bondage in the land of Helam: “The Lord provided for them that they should hunger not, neither should they thirst; yea, and he also gave them strength, that they should suffer no manner of afflictions, save it were swallowed up in the joy of Christ” (Alma 31:38).
Witness the humble followers of Christ who were persecuted by prideful members of the church: “They did fast and pray oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling their souls with joy and consolation, yea, even to the purifying and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their yielding their hearts unto God” (Helaman 3:35). Notice they didn’t consider putdowns cause for leaving the church!
Those who have learned how to transform their burdens into joy have applied Jesus’ divine promise. They know what he means when he says, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:29–30). They look not only inward but also outward, to the needs of any others whom they are able to help: “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2).