When life is hard do you ever get feeling picked on? Have you ever wondered, “Why me? What is happening? What have I done to deserve this? Why do I always seem to have the bad luck?”
I was thinking about the sons of Mosiah in the Book of Mormon the other day. Even if you don’t believe in the Book of Mormon, this story can still be applicable. In the book of Alma, we discover that all four of the sons of Mosiah were stalwart young men. Yet, only one of them really gets the “fame” in the Book of Mormon. They all went to preach the gospel to the Lamanites and yet it seems that it was Ammon who had all the fun and good fortune. He met up with King Lamoni and cut off arms and converted probably hundreds of Lamanites. His brothers, on the other hand, were not so fortunate. Aaron, Omner, and Himni ran into what seemed to be serious bad luck. They were cast into prison and suffered greatly at the hands of the Lamanites (see Alma 20). Why? Were they not equal in goodness and equally deserving of success and good fortune?
From my vantage point, I think they were just as deserving. So why weren’t they as fortunate? As I pondered on this unfairness, I realized that the whys to their situation just might not be as important as how they handled their “bad luck.”
How did they respond to such affliction? Did they turn their backs on God? How did they use their affliction? Did it help refine and humble them? Were they patient and trusting of the Lord’s promises to help and protect all who put their trust in Him?
Deliverance did come for these men but not after much suffering. As soon as Ammon learned that his brothers were in serious trouble, he went with the newly converted King Lamoni and rescued them from prison. Alma 20:29 reads: “And when [Ammon and King Lamoni] did meet them, [Ammon] was exceedingly sorrowful, for behold they were naked, and their skins were worn exceedingly because of being bound with strong cords. And they also had suffered hunger, thirst, and all kinds of afflictions. . . ”
But what were the mindsets of Aaron, Omner, and Himni? They were at peace! …At least that’s the perspective we are provided. But they seemed to understand the Lord’s workmanship. Verse 30 reads, “And, as it happened, it was their lot to have fallen into the hands of a more hardened and a more stiffnecked people; therefore they would not hearken unto their words.” Verse 29: “Nevertheless, they were patient in all their sufferings.”
“As it happened, it was their lot,” seems to be another way of saying “bad luck.” Sometimes we have “bad luck.” Perhaps it is because the Lord understands the value of trial, testing, and affliction. He knows that through hard times, we can understand better our absolute dependence and need for Him, if we will humble ourselves and surrender to His allowance of our hardship. Sometimes bad things happen. But with patience and trust we can be strengthened and sanctified, magnified and refined. Perseverance, a lot of determined prayer, and a faithful perspective can serve us amazingly when life seems to hand us a bad card.