Thursday, January 9, 2014

All We Can Give

Why do bad things happen to good people? As a missionary, that is a common question I get asked. My simple answer, because He loves us enough to teach us.
During my life, I have discovered not only how much God loves me, but how important His plan is for me. God is the author of our lives. At times it may seem like we are running the show, but really, it is all Him. He has given us all that we have, everything from our bodies, to our possessions to life itself. There is nothing we have that does not belong to our Father in Heaven. Thus, there is pretty much nothing that we can give back to Him. Nothing except our will. Our will and the agency behind will are the only factors in life that we control.
As we go through  life, our will is tested and tried. This life is not always easy, nor was it meant to be. It is a time of testing and trying. Our weaknesses are magnified and enlarged. We are often pushed to our very limits. Depression, anxiety, anger, resentment, disappointment and frustration are often present. This testing can often lead us to question the motives of God, and even if He is actually there.

The Will of the Lord

President Hugh B. Brown, formerly a member of the Twelve and a counselor in the First Presidency, provided a personal experience. He told of purchasing a rundown farm in Canada many years ago. As he went about cleaning up and repairing his property, he came across a currant bush that had grown over six feet (1.8 m) high and was yielding no berries, so he pruned it back drastically, leaving only small stumps. Then he saw a drop like a tear on the top of each of these little stumps, as if the currant bush were crying, and thought he heard it say:
“How could you do this to me? I was making such wonderful growth. … And now you have cut me down. Every plant in the garden will look down on me. … How could you do this to me? I thought you were the gardener here.”
President Brown replied, “Look, little currant bush, I am the gardener here, and I know what I want you to be. I didn’t intend you to be a fruit tree or a shade tree. I want you to be a currant bush, and someday, little currant bush, when you are laden with fruit, you are going to say, ‘Thank you, Mr. Gardener, for loving me enough to cut me down.’”
My personal philosophy is "Be Humble, or Be Humbled". God loves us enough to teach us lessons for eternity. He gives us the blueprint of how we should live, and then lets us start building. Quite often, we don't quite follow this blueprint. So, God knocks us back down and shows us how to do it properly. This love takes us from sons of man, to sons of God.

The Will of Us

Our will is the only thing that we can give to God. We are faced with many trials and hardships in our lives. Many are difficult to overcome, some we may not overcome until the next life. But as we turn our will toward the Lord, He will help us. 

When life seems hard, remember the Savior in the Garden of Gethsemane. Bearing the sins and transgressions of the world, He performed the mighty ordinance of the Atonement. That event not only changed the world, but changed eternity. Jesus Christ invites all of us to "Come, follow me".To follow Him and be perfected.  

"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." - Matt 11:28-30
As we turn our will to God, and trust in Him, we are lifted beyond our weakness. Those things that hold us back in life can be taken away. All things are possible to them that believe. I testify of a loving God who wants us to succeed. He does not want to see us fail, and will do whatever it takes to help us as long as we are willing to follow Him. No trial in this life will last forever if we trust in the Lord. My favorite poem, "The Race. By Dee Groberg" has a line in it that we can all apply to our lives.
"For all of life is like that race, with ups and downs and all. And all we have to do to win, is Rise each time you fall..."
I know that God lives and loves you. I know that He loves you because He loves me. His Son Jesus Christ lives. He stands at the door and knocks; it is up to us to open it. As we turn our hearts and will to the Lord, we are opening that door to eternal life.
Nothing in this life is too hard for God to fix.
-Elder Ben Cullen