“Time passed away with us, and also our lives passed away like as it were unto us a dream, we being a lonesome and a solemn people, wanderers, cast out from Jerusalem, born in tribulation, in a wilderness, and hated of our brethren, which caused wars and contentions; wherefore, we did mourn out our days” (Jacob 7:26).
Many times throughout history the covenant people of the Lord have suffered as they wandered. They have wandered physically, emotionally, or spiritually in strange lands. Their sojourns in these wildernesses have been hard, harsh, and heavy. Oftentimes these people had to leave their homes behind to enter unfamiliar places. Some, like Jacob, felt that all their days were spent in mourning. Why are the righteous so often asked to do hard things and suffer?
We made the choice in the pre-earth life to come to earth. We knew that we would face suffering, sickness, limitations, and sorrow. We also knew that we could experience great joy and progression. We agreed to enter this ofttimes dark and dreary world because we knew of the blessings that would result if we were faithful. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland talked about some of the thorns and darkness of life during the October 2008 General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: “When Adam and Eve willingly stepped into mortality, they knew this telestial world would contain thorns and thistles and troubles of every kind. Perhaps their most challenging realization, however, was not the hardship and danger they would endure but the fact that they would now be distanced from God, separated from Him with whom they had walked and talked, who had given them face-to-face counsel. After this conscious choice, as the record of creation says, ‘they saw him not; for they were shut out from his presence’ (Moses 5:4). Amidst all else that must have troubled them, surely this must have troubled them the most.”