Positive response to undeserved adversity can bring one closer to God and the Savior, and the scriptures teach such positive response, Elder Ronald E. Poelman of the First Quorum of the Seventy said Saturday afternoon.

"Adversity in the lives of the obedient and faithful may be the consequence of disease, accidental injury, ignorance or the influence of the adversary," he observed. "To preserve free agency the Lord also at times permits the righteous to suffer the consequences of evil acts by others. (1 Ne. 18:16.)"Citing 2 Ne. 2:11-16, he said adversity is an essential part of the process whereby one prepares to return to the presence of God.

He added that the Savior, Himself, "learned . . . obedience by the things which he suffered" (Heb. 5:8) and that "all things work together for good to them that love God. (Rom. 8:28.)"

Elder Poelman suggested some scriptural examples and role models relating to overcoming adversity. He said the sons of Mosiah, during their missionary labors, suffered afflictions yet became strong in the knowledge of the truth. (Alma 17:5.)

Likewise, in the time of Nephi, son of Helaman, the more humble people suffered affliction, fasted and prayed, and thus became firmer in their faith in Christ (Hel. 3:34-35), Elder Poelman said.

He counseled listeners to look to the Savior for divine assistance because, having suffered pains, afflictions and temptations, He knows how to help His people. (Alma 7:11-12.)

Daily scripture study gives a reminder of covenants made with the Lord and His promised blessings, including the baptismal covenants to "bear one another's burdens," "comfort those that stand in need of comfort," and "stand as a witness of God . . . in all things" (Mosiah 18:8-9), Elder Poelman pointed out.

"Should we therefore desire or seek to experience adversity and suffering? No! May we appropriately try to avoid it? Yes! Is it proper for us to ask for relief? Yes, always adding in accordance with the Savior's example, `Nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.' (Matt. 26:39.)"