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In the following excerpt from a speech he gave to a number of college students, Neal Maxwell tuly gives us an eternal perspective (God's perspective) in answer to this question.

”But for a Small Moment” (excerpt from speech given at BYU; September 1, 1974)
(from the book, The Inexhaustible Gospel, containing 21 speeches given by Neal A. Maxwell)

… it is because you have a rendezvous with destiny that will involve some soul stretching and some pain that I have chosen to speak to you tonight about the implications of two things we accept sometimes quite casually. These realities are that God loves us and, loving us, has placed us here to cope with challenges which he will place before us. I’m not sure we can always understand the implications of his love, because his love will call us at times to do things we may wonder about, and we may be confronted with circumstances we would rather not face. I believe with all my heart that because God loves us there are some particularized challenges that he will deliver to each of us. He will customize the curriculum for each of us in order to teach us the things we most need to know. He will set before us in life what we need, not always what we like. And that will require us to accept with all our hearts—particularly your generation—the truth that there is divine design in each of our lives and that you have rendezvous to keep, individually and collectively.

God knows even now what the future holds for each of us. In one of his revelations these startling words appear, as with so many revelations that are too big, I suppose, for us to manage fully: “In the presence of God, …all things…are manifest, past, present, and future, and are continually before the Lord” (D&C 130:7). The future “you” is before him now. He knows what it is he wishes to bring to pass in your life. He knows the kind of remodeling in your life and in mine that he wishes to achieve. Now, this will require us to believe in that divine design and at times to accept the truth which came to Joseph Smith wherein he was reminded that his suffering would be “but a small moment” (D&C 121:7). I’d like to talk to you about some of those small moments that will come your way in life and that come to each of us.


"For a long time it seemed to me that real life was about to begin, but there was always some obstacle in the way. Something had to be got through first, some unfinished business; time still to be served, a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life." - Bette Howland; "If we study the lives of great men and women carefully and unemotionally we find that, invariably, greatness was developed, tested and revealed through the darker periods of their lives. One of the largest tributaries of the RIVER OF GREATNESS is always the STREAM OF ADVERSITY." - Cavett Robert; “Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs.” - Henry Ford; “You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing that we call “failure” is not the falling down, but the staying down.” - Mary Pickford; "It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped." - Anthony Robbins; "When written in Chinese, the word "crisis" is composed of two characters. One represents danger and the other represents opportunity." - John F. Kennedy; "Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out." - John Wooden; "Without a struggle, there can be no progress." - Frederick Douglass; “God give me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change, the courage to change the one I can, and the wisdom to know it is me.” - Dalton Roberts; "Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors." - African Proverb; "The difficult can be done immediately, the impossible takes a little longer." - Army Corp of Engineers; "In the depths of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer." - Albert Camus; "How committed are you? There is a remarkable difference between a commitment of 99% and 100%." - Vic Conant; "I've missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over in my life. And that is why I am successful." - Michael Jordan; "The real value in setting goals is not in their achievement. The acquisition of the things you want is strictly secondary. The major reason for setting goals is to compel you to become the person it takes to achieve them ... the greatest value is in the skills, knowledge, discipline, and leadership qualities you'll develop in reaching those goals." – Jim Rohn; "The difference between great people and everyone else is that great people create their lives actively, while everyone else is … passively waiting to see where life takes them next. The difference between the two is the difference between living fully and just existing." - Michael E. Gerber

To the majority, life is such a dark room, and their frequent hurts—their disappointments, perplexities, sorrows and pains—are caused by sudden contact with principles which they do not see, and are therefore not prepared to deal with. But when the light of wisdom is introduced into the darkened understanding, confusion vanishes, difficulties are dissolved, all things are seen in their true place and proportion, and henceforth the man walks open-eyed and unhurt, in the clear light of wise comprehension. – James Allen

(... Last, but not least ... don't take things so seriously that you lose your perspective and ability to laugh ... especially at yourself!) (read An Attitude of Gratitude, Perspective on Life, Worth While, Adversity, the Benefits of Failure & Life is Difficult)

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