Monday, November 18, 2013

Let us Give Thanks

Well, hello there. It's been a while! I decided to write a post today after reading several friends' blogs. It seems that people can always better express their innermost thoughts in blog/journal form, even though technically anyone can view a blog. I've found this to be true for me as well. But here's the scoop: some people express trials they are going through, and it's shocking at times. What I want to say today is that I am grateful for my life, and my many, many blessings. Because a lot of people (most people) have it harder than I do. Most of all, I want to thank those who are going through trials for not giving up, and to declare that God loves each and every one of us.

I used to always think that God loves all of us, plain and simple. Sometimes, it's easy to see how God loves other people, but not necessarily how much he cares about little old you. The truth is, God loves you. He wants you to succeed, and he knows your griefs. Even though it's hard to understand or even witness, God is with you every step of the way. And sometimes, it's especially hard when the Lord is pruning us, and the pain is great. Little do we realize that such a pruning will one day make us into a fruitful currant bush. If you're confused at this analogy, see Elder Hugh B. Brown's talk titled, The Currant Bush.

As Elder Brown puts it,
"You sometimes wonder whether the Lord really knows what he ought to do with you. You sometimes wonder if you know better than he does about what you ought to do and ought to become." Later, after relating the story of the currant bush, he states, "I wanted to tell you that oft-repeated story because there are many of you who are going to have some very difficult experiences: disappointment, heartbreak, bereavement, defeat. You are going to be tested and tried to prove what you are made of. I just want you to know that if you don’t get what you think you ought to get, remember, “God is the gardener here. He knows what he wants you to be.” Submit yourselves to his will. Be worthy of his blessings, and you will get his blessings."
What a beautiful realization--God is in charge, and he is shaping us into our best selves, if only we let him. This act of letting the Lord shape us takes a lot of humility and strength. Those two words might not often be used together, but from my point of view they are inseparable. If we submit our will to God's will, and put our trust in him, we will be okay. It might take years to realize it, or even eternity, but we will become what we need to be if we let God shape us. And if you keep your eyes open, you'll receive little proofs of it along the way.

What are these little proofs, you ask? Some people call them blessings. Others refer to them as "tender mercies," and some even say it's God's hand in our lives. Call it whatever you like. But if you look for these little proofs of God's love for you, you will find them. They are everywhere, great and small. I find it's often the small things that hit me hardest, because if God cares enough about me to worry about the petty, insignificant things, I know he'll be there in my hardest difficulties.
6 Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise.

Let us be meekly watching for such simple expressions of God's love for us. He's there, and He loves you.