I had a bishop who used to say that whenever he had a hard situation he used to ask in his prayers what he had to learn with that situation. He said that every trial we get is for a purpose and that we have something to learn from it. He also said that once he knew its purpose and have done what was required of him the hard situation he was facing would go away.
I don't know if I can say that God has given us SSA. But I believe that in my situation it has given me some blessings. Let me explain. I was raised in a very small community in Brazil, in the country... I started to realize that I was different. I felt attracted to other guys... [Several years later] I was feeling very depressed about these feelings and I still couldn't talk to anyone. I had decided that I would commit suicide... I had decided to [find a church to help with the SSA] and if it didn't work I would proceed with the suicide plans. About 2 or 3 days after that episode the missionaries knocked on my door... Two weeks after that first contact with the missionaries I got baptized. Served a mission and it's been 7 years now since that first contact with the missionaries.
I am telling all this to try to make my point which is: I would never have joined the Church were it not for the SSA... it was the SSA again that made me seek God for help.
I feel grateful that it has led me to join the Church though it is hard sometimes. Thinking on my bishop's thoughts on why we have trials I think I still have something to learn from this. I just hope I learn it soon.
This story inspired me. Usually when I think about the blessings God gives us, I don't think of the challenges. If people try to re-frame challenges to view them as blessings, I roll my eyes. But, they can't see me through the Internet, so I'm safe... until I just confessed it and now they all hate me. But I really like Rodrigo's story all the same.
Over the last couple weeks I've heard all sorts of people express their gratitude for SSA--people of all persuasions gushing their praise for SSA here and there, happy it has made them who they are. I could put in the links, but there would be too many. Rodrigo's story above is the most compelling I heard. I like the idea of learning from the challenges God gives us. I like the idea of looking on the positive side. I like the idea of burning in hell a little bit less, and the fact that my SSA motivates me to do things that could bring that about (like cheat on my family) tempers my gratitude.
I'll be grateful for my SSA and all that it has taught me once it is gone. But I fear that to laud it as some wonderful thing in my life invites me to incorrectly view it as good in itself. And I believe that SSA is morally neutral in and of itself--it's only the way I deal with it that makes it a blessing or a curse. I hope that someday I can express my true gratitude for the things SSA has taught me. I suppose it will happen when I'm certain that I'll have the strength to successfully bypass all the temptations that are associated with it.