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Anthropology professor says trials are temporary, but God’s blessings are eternal

Landscape photo of woman wearing a flower lei and smiling at the pulpit in the Cannon Activities Center
Eve Koller, assistant professor in the Faculty of Culture, Language & Performing Arts, shares life experiences that taught her more about divine love in her devotional address on October 12, 2021.

BYU-Hawaii Professor Eve Koller expressed how she felt divine reassurance while losing her newborn son after just six hours of life.

At a devotional on Oct. 12, Koller, assistant professor in the Faculty of Culture, Language & Performing Arts, said God operates by giving his children maximum blessings for minimum suffering.

“The next days and months were the hardest of my life, but between the sorrow were moments of peace. I am so grateful I got to meet him alive for even those few moments.”

A short-lived life, she said, taught her how much Heavenly Father loves us. “God has been kind, and while I’ll probably always cry for my baby, He has also blessed me to feel the joy of life again.”

Greg Tivles, a junior from Vanuatu majoring in communications, said Koller’s story taught him how God truly sees us, when she said, “If my little baby who lived only six hours mattered, you matter.”

“We all have a purpose,” shared Tivles. “We all matter to him because we are His sons and daughters.”

Koller expressed how this godly love strengthens our understanding of life and the purpose of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

“His love is something we can continue to discover and about which we can deepen our understanding throughout our mortal lives, and have that increased understanding continue to inform how we love those around us.”

Koller shared how her faith was tested while incurring and recovering from a spinal injury in 2011. She explained how she saw tender mercies through reuniting with a friend who oversaw the apartment buildings near the spinal clinic she needed to go to in California.

“This was one of the many miracles that let me know that God had not forgotten me. … What could have been one of the hardest times of my life ended up being one of the happiest, most fun times of my life because of the good people I met.”

She shared something her mother used to say to her: “‘People say living the Gospel is hard. But it’s not the Gospel that’s hard. Life is hard. Living the Gospel can make life easier.’”’

Koller compared the blessings of facing trials to dropping a stone into a pond. She said the stone represents the challenges we face, while the ripples in the water symbolize God’s promised blessings. “Our trials are temporary, but the blessings that come from it will keep expanding out for eternity.”

Gillian Rosier, a senior from Utah majoring in communications, said Koller’s talk taught her there is happiness and hope behind every difficulty. “No matter what situation you’re in, there’s always going to be blessings from it, even if we don’t see them right away. And blessings will come out of any situation.” She said Koller’s talk also provided comfort from the stress of having to think about her future.

“My prayer is that people feel loved, remembered by God, seen and heard, and that they matter and that they have things to offer the world and humanity that are unique gifts,” Koller expressed.