A common mistake we might make as we go about our earthly experience is assuming someone struggling with a trial brought it on themselves through sinful living, but we need to take a deeper look at why trials happen.
The life of Jesus Christ itself is a testimony that bad things happen to good people. Jesus Christ did not sin. Yet he still had trials. Why? As we look at the life of Christ we can learn that God tests His children, even His Only Begotten Son with trials, so that we can gain experience.
It is true that some trials come because of the fallen nature of the earth. And other trials come because of the fallen nature of man. But there is a deeper more important reason we have trials. And I would argue it is the most common reason we have trials, the trial is meant to give us experience.
We need to replace the idea that trials are a sign of wickedness with an understanding that trials are designed by a loving God to help us become like Him. Elder Burke H. Petersen addressed this topic in an amazing sermon in Oct 1973 entitled Adversity and Prayer. He said, “trials are an evidence of a Father’s love.” Can it be any clearer? It is within that idea that I have formulated what I call the Humility Cycle, it is the alternative path to the pride cycle.
The Pride Cycle Vs The Humility Cycle
We have all seen diagrams like this one. The Book of Mormon teaches us that this is an oft repeated cycle. But, there is another, a more important cycle and pathway we can choose, it is the humility cycle.
Unlike the pride cycle, which is often what society is doing, the humility cycle is another option. The humility cycle comes from a study of the life of Christ and faithful Saints through the ages. Particularly, the life of the late Neal A. Maxwell, an Apostle who was called to endure the ravages of cancer that eventually took his life. The humility cycle helps us make sense of all the awful trials that the saints are often called to endure. It is comprised of four parts.
1. Righteous Living
The first step of the humility cycle is righteous living. When we are humble and doing what is right and life is good, it is easy. But there is little growth in ease.