I have some thoughts and an experience at the end that I want to share with y'all. It will be really quick.
I thought this quote was so insightful. This has been my life. I have often pondered, as do all, why God allows us to fail and experience trials where we have to pick ourselves back up time and time again. Why do trials seem to escalate as we make good decisions? A lot of times we are under the false impression that when we do good and keep God's commandments that trials and opposition will ease or cease completely. I have found the opposite to be true. As I have come closer to God, my trials and temptations seem to increase. I have begun to realize why that is.
When we covenant with God at baptism we promise to take upon us the name of Christ and to stand as His witness at all times and in all places. Real personal experience is necessary in order to be a witness. In order to be a witness of Christ's healing power, we must be given opportunities to be healed. In order to be a witness of Christ's enabling power of grace, we must be given opportunities to be weak. In order to be a witness of Christ at all times and in all places, we must have real, personal experiences with Christ at all times, and in all places. Those opportunities to "experience Christ" are given in the form of trials, opposition and service. When those opportunities arise we have two choices, we can leave the world behind and go to Christ, or we can leave Christ behind and go to the world. In all of our earthly experiences, God wants to teach us about His Son and what it means to be His witness.
I can't tell you all how much peace and love I have felt on my mission as I have learned about Jesus Christ and my Heavenly Father. As I have come to know what it means to be Their witness, I have realized that there is so much good to be done in this world. There are so many promptings we are receiving on a daily basis to do good. Learn to recognize the voice of the Good Shepard and act on those promptings. I want to leave you with one experience from this week.
We were driving home from the city yesterday and as we stopped at a light at a busy intersection, my attention was directed to a family on the side of the street. It was 95 degrees outside and this family was sitting under a 7-Eleven Sign with all their stuff. They had two teenage daughters about 12 and 13 years old. Their dad was on the phone and mom looked really stressed. I couldn't stop looking at them. I felt so much compassion for this family. Elder Garder looked at me and said "man, we really do have amazing lives, we are so unbelievably blessed". I thought about it to myself and the first thoughts that came into my mind were "there is nothing you can do for this family." "you have no money to give them, and you can't give them a ride, you will only embarrass yourself". Then, the prompting to pull over and go talk to them came. I pulled into McDonalds and we parked and got out and walked towards this family. We knelt down and talked to them and had some good laughs. They told us that they had just lost their home and that they were worried because they had nowhere to stay and dad was looking for work. As we listened to their story, I felt so much love for them and wanted to help them so badly, but there was nothing we could really do besides pray. Before we left, we asked if we could pray with them all. We all stood up and for a time, everything around us seemed to go "still" as we all held hands in a circle and prayed to our Father as brothers and sisters.
I learned from this experience that more times than not, we cannot solve people's problems for them, only God can do that. We did not give this family money, a home or some magical solution to their problem, but we were able to comfort those that stood in need of comfort at "that time and in that place". Secondly we were put into a situation that Christ was in many times while He was on the earth. As I walked away from the family a thought popped into my head, "So this is what He felt like…" I knew Him a little better after that experience because as we followed through on that prompting we were able to witness what He must have felt like as He went about His life and ministry. That experience changed our hearts and our desires to become more like Him were strengthened. Through His Spirit, God taught us what it felt like to be a witness of Jesus Christ in that time and in that place.
We can all have those experiences as we look to do good, observe those around us and pray for the courage to act on those promptings. They will change you if you act on them. :)
Love you guys!!
Elder Dallin Cutler
Hello from Oklahoma.