1 And now, Jacob, I speak unto you: Thou art my firstborn in the days of my tribulation in the wilderness. And behold, in thy childhood thou hast suffered afflictions and much sorrow, because of the rudeness of thy brethren.
2 Nevertheless, Jacob, my firstborn in the wilderness, thou knowest the greatness of God; and he shall consecrate thine afflictions for thy gain. (2 Nephi 2:1-2)
That part about God consecrating our afflictions for our gain has to be one of those very comforting, but often overlooked principles. We often repeat that bit from D&C 122 about our suffering being but for a small moment and how we will be exalted if we endure it well, but this adds the principle that our afflictions can become advantages to us and that we can profit from them.
I ran across this scripture at the end of May and I wrote about it in my scripture journal because the week before I read it I had taken a fall while mountain biking. I scraped up my right palm pretty badly and I had a pretty bad gash in my right knee, along with a sprain that I didn’t notice until my cut was healing. I found myself limping about, trying to keep my right knee straight so that the gash would have time to close. I had to spend some time on crutches to give it a rest. Bending my knee was uncomfortable, and I yearned the day it would finally heal, when I’d be able to bend it normally and be active again.
I wondered how that affliction would be consecrated for my gain, and I can now look back and say that I feel more sympathy for those who injure in those places. (I’m sure we all wish we could have the proper sympathy without having to suffer something like that, but experience really is a great teacher.) I also learned that it is possible to persevere and do things anyway when they have to be done.
When our afflictions help us learn greater charity and perseverance, that certainly consecrates our afflictions for our gain.
How else might it help?