Wednesday, September 23, 2015

He Knows Best

August 31, 2015

This week I have learned many powerful lessons. It has been a week of prayer and disappointment and joy. I have learned more than anything this week that the My Father in Heaven knows exactly who I am and He knows what I need to learn and grow. There is a story by Hugh B Brown quoted in a talk “As Many as I Love, I Rebuke and Chasten” by D. Todd Christofferson in the April 2011 conference "God uses another form of chastening or correction to guide us to a future we do not or cannot now envision but which He knows is the better way for us.”

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.’” 

Years later, President Brown was a field officer in the Canadian Army serving in England. When a superior officer became a battle casualty, President Brown was in line to be promoted to general, and he was summoned to London. But even though he was fully qualified for the promotion, it was denied him because he was a Mormon. The commanding general said in essence, “You deserve the appointment, but I cannot give it to you.” What President Brown had spent 10 years hoping, praying, and preparing for slipped through his fingers in that moment because of blatant discrimination. Continuing his story, President Brown remembered:

“I got on the train and started back … with a broken heart, with bitterness in my soul. … When I got to my tent, … I threw my cap on the cot. I clenched my fists, and I shook them at heaven. I said, ‘How could you do this to me, God? I have done everything I could do to measure up. There is nothing that I could have done--that I should have done--that I haven’t done. How could you do this to me?’ I was as bitter as gall. “And then I heard a voice, and I recognized the tone of this voice. It was my own voice, and the voice said, ‘I am the gardener here. I know what I want you to do.’ The bitterness went out of my soul, and I fell on my knees by the cot to ask forgiveness for my ungratefulness. …

“… And now, almost 50 years later, I look up to [God] and say, ‘Thank you, Mr. Gardener, for cutting me down, for loving me enough to hurt me.’”

This week I felt a little bit like the current bush. It has been an interesting experience transitioning on the flip of a dime. With that transition there is always growing experiences which are not easy. But the Lord will always be there besides us. I know that He loves me and that He loves each of you. Even though there will be times of difficulty there will always be miracles.

One of those miracles that we saw this week was with our Investigator Felix who moved here from the U.S. when he was little. We have been trying to get in contact with him and set a time but it just hasn't worked with his schedule. So on Friday we were going out to the outskirts of Torrejón to visit an investigator out there and we just started our walk when we heard someone yelling at us out their car window. We went over talked to him for a minute and told him where we were going. He told us he lived in that very same building and so we were able to get a ride with him and talk for a minute. Really it was a blessing from the Lord for which I am grateful.

Really what I have learned this week is that the Lord knows best. As we humble ourselves to His will He will lead and guide us in all that we need. I am grateful that as we make mistakes that we have the Atonement to overcome our mistakes and improve our weaknesses. I know that because he rose we can be free of our sins.

I love you all
Elder Gustafson

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