And when Ammon did meet them he was exceedingly sorrowful, for behold they were naked, and their skins were worn exceedingly because of being bound with strong cords. And they also had suffered hunger, thirst, and all kinds of afflictions; nevertheless they were patient in all their sufferings.
Why does God allow us to suffer? When Ammon found his brother Aaron and his fellow missionaries in Middoni, they had been suffering greatly.
Surely God was aware of their suffering. He told Ammon to go rescue them.
I don’t pretend to know God’s reasoning for their suffering or any of ours. But there is a clue in the last sentence of that verse. Nevertheless, they were patient in all their sufferings. Somewhere, in all their trials, they had learned humility.
I think about who Aaron used to be. He was king Mosiah’s son, the next rightful king. He was probably at least somewhat arrogant and haughty. He’d been with Alma the younger going about reviling against the church. He’d been present when the angel called them to repentance.
So for him to be in this circumstance now, broken, beaten, naked, and hungry, was a big switch. But he bore his sufferings with patience.
Sometimes I think we skim over these familiar lines without seeing real people behind them. The Lord was intimately aware of him. But He allowed the suffering so Aaron could be developed as he needed to be. Then the Lord sent relief.
I don’t pretend to know the hearts of any of these people, any more than I know the hearts of anyone today. I’m still trying to understand my own heart and what I’m willing to give. But I know that Aaron is a great example to me of humility and growth. The fact that he could bear what he did with patience teaches me about humility and trust in the Lord.