Step It Up
Keep It Simple
Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on: you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of—throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace.[George MacDonald, cited in C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (New York: Macmillan, 1960), p. 160]
Elder Hugh B. Brown shared a story that illustrates that God knows best:
I was living up in Canada. I had purchased a farm. It was run-down. I went out one morning and saw a currant bush. It had grown up over six feet high. It was going all to wood. There were no blossoms and no currants. I was raised on a fruit farm in Salt Lake before we went to Canada, and I knew what ought to happen to that currant bush. So I got some pruning shears and went after it, and I cut it down, and pruned it, and clipped it back until there was nothing left but a little clump of stumps. It was just coming daylight, and I thought I saw on top of each of these little stumps what appeared to be a tear, and I thought the currant bush was crying. . . . I looked at it, and smiled, and said, “What are you crying about?” You know, I thought I heard that currant bush talk. And I thought I heard it say this: “How could you do this to me? . . . I thought you were the gardener here.” . . . I said, “Look, little currant bush, I am the gardener here, and I know what I want you to be. . . . And some day, 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, for caring enough about me to hurt me. Thank you, Mr. Gardener.” [Hugh B. Brown, “The Currant Bush,” New Era, January 1973, pp. 14–15; emphasis in original]
I pray, brothers and sisters, that when the adversities come—and, as I have mentioned, they will—we might respond to our Father in Heaven, saying, “I am not sure why I am having this adversity at this time or at this intensity. I know I will have something to learn. Help me to endure. Just help me to endure this trial that I have.” Then maybe, like the Savior, we will say: “Not my will, but thine” (Luke 22:42). I pray, brothers and sisters, that we might always be able to remember: It is “for thy good. . . . Art thou greater than he?”
I pray that the Lord’s blessings will be with us as we are proven, as we are tried, as we go into that crucible of adversity, that we will know there is always going to be the brighter day, and the brightest day will be the day when, if we stay true and faithful and we understand, we can enter into the presence of God the Father and Jesus Christ. How glorious it would be if we could have the Judge who will judge us all, Jesus Christ, stand at our side, being our advocate, our defender, our attorney with our Father in Heaven, and have Jesus Christ say to the Father, “Have mercy on him. He defended my name, he was valiant, he was one of my servants. Have mercy on him, let him live with us throughout the eternities.”
BY: Harold G. Hillam was a member of the Presidency of the Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, this address given on 25 June 1996.