"O God, where are thou? And where is the pavilion that covereth thy hiding place?
How long shall thy hand be stayed, and thine eye, yea thy pure eye, behold from the heavens the wrongs of thy people and of thy servants, and thine ear be penetrated with their cries?"
Doctrine and Covenants 121:1-2
Joseph Smith wrote these verses when he had been in jail in Liberty, Missouri for months, suffering unjustly. And I think that we all have times like this in our lives. Hopefully we won't get thrown in jail for our beliefs, but we will all encounter things that try us, that last far longer than is easy to bear, and that make us ask these same questions. Where is God, and how long will he observe rather than save us?
God's answer to Joseph comprises most of the rest of this section, but the gist of the message is clear, and simple. He has, already, saved us.
The trials that we encounter in our lives are temporary, and they require patience, and they require endurance, and prompt us to learn, but none of them are permanent. It seems like whenever we go seriously wrong, it is because we get tired of waiting. Our own impatience is our downfall. Yes, there are times... days, weeks, decades... where it seems very clear to us that we have suffered enough, and that it is past time for someone to come and bail us out. ... But we have to learn, or remember, that part of the goal of this life is learning to bail ourselves out. And learning to find happiness in our current circumstances. And lifting others and forgetting our own suffering. So many things to learn... and if we stubbed our toes and were immediately relieved from the pain, we wouldn't learn any of it.
There are people who say that God can't exist, because if he did he would relieve all the suffering in the world. Let's not get into that mental trap. We're here to learn... to learn how to become more like God. How could we possibly move from childhood to adulthood if our parents protected us from every lesson or saved us from all pain? Growing up hurts sometimes, and it isn't always fun. What our Father will do is help us bear it, talk it through with us, and be there to comfort us when it all goes wrong... he has to let us experience pain because he knows we need to grow up, but he also knows these trials are hard for us, and he loves us and wants to help us through it.
None of our sufferings are as serious or as permanent as they seem to us in while we are suffering them. In the end, we will see them as they are... temporary setbacks on our road to reaching our potential. Eventually we will all stand perfect and strong, and relieved from all suffering. Not because God will *finally* save us, but because he already has. Today, let's apply the atonement to our lives and be grateful for that greatest-of-all-gifts.