When you seem to be the only one around with trials and setbacks, how can you still trust in God’s plan?
When my husband and I got married, we received several succulent plants as gifts. Although we’d never had our own plants before, we’d heard succulents were the easiest plants to manage, so we were excited. We watered them often to make sure they could have happy little plant lives. But a few months later, we stood in front of the trash can sadly throwing away the now-withered succulents. Some of our friends who happen to be plant-growing veterans informed us that succulents live longer lives when they’re watered less often. That information got me thinking. Water is a nice, refreshing thing to give a plant, so why is it that some plants thrive with constant watering while others are drowned by too much moisture?
In the video “The Will of God,” Elder D. Todd Christofferson tells a story of a gardener and a currant bush. When the gardener cuts down the tall, barren bush, he imagines the bush crying, seeming to ask the gardener, “Why would you do this to me?” The gardener lovingly tells the currant bush that by cutting it back, the bush will be able to bear better fruit, thus better fulfilling its purpose. The gardener then imagines the currant bush saying, “Thank you, Mr. Gardener, for loving me enough to cut me down.”
In this story, we’re like the currant bush, and Heavenly Father is like the gardener. Imagine if that currant bush had been looking around, seeing all the thriving currant bushes that didn’t need to be cut back in order to grow. Sometimes trials and setbacks in our lives are necessary to help us become something better than we were, and we can’t compare ourselves to others, because no two people face all the same trials while they’re progressing. Elder Christofferson says, “All of us can meet God’s high expectations, however great or small our capacity and talent may be….Let us pray for His love-inspired correction.”
Instead of thinking of myself as a currant bush, I think of myself as a succulent that thrives on little water. Although I don’t get as much water as some other plants seem to, I’m still growing and progressing, and I’m getting just what the gardener knows I need.
—Anna Canlas, Mormon Insights
FEATURE IMAGE BY JAROSLAW KNAPEK
Find more insights
Read more from Elder D. Todd Christofferson in “As Many as I Love, I Rebuke and Chasten.”
Watch “The Refiner’s Fire” to understand God’s will for us.
Read about trials in Larry Richman’s talk “Learning through Life’s Trials.”
Watch J. B. Haws’s BYU devotional address, “Wrestling with Comparisons.”
Check out the Gospel Topics page titled “Adversity.”