Obedience by George MacDonald
I said: "Let me walk in the fields."
He said: "No, walk in the town."
I said: "There are no flowers there."
He said: "No flowers, but a crown."
I said: "But the skies are black;
there is nothing but noise and din."
And He wept as He sent me back---
"There is more," He said, "there is sin."
I said: "But the air is thick,
and fogs are veiling the sun."
He answered: "Yet souls are sick,
And souls in the dark are undone!"
I said: "I shall miss the light,
and friends will miss me, they say."
He answered: "Choose tonight,
If I am to miss you or they."
I pleaded for time to be given.
He said: "Is it hard to decide?
It will not seem so hard in heaven
To have followed the steps of your Guide."
I cast one look at the fields,
then set my face to the town;
He said, "My child, do you yield?
Will you leave the flowers for the crown?"
Then into His hand went mine;
And into my heart came He;
And I walk in a light divine,
The path I feared to see.
Today I went to the temple with 2 sisters who will be in the MTC with me!
As I pondered in the temple, I thought of The Fall. The only way Adam and Eve could know joy, was to leave behind their comfort zone or the Garden of Eden- and enter into the unknown while trusting God to lead their way. They had to go through the hard, to feel true joy.
Now that i'm only 20 days away i'm getting a lot more sentimental, (and emotional), and sometimes I wonder how in the world I will be able to leave behind the comforts of my home and family. I mean, i'm really fortunate that life here is easy. I don't have to go to bed at 10:30 and wake up at 6:30, devoting all my time and even skipping meals sometimes to preach my religion to others, all while trying to learn to speak a language I don't know. Right now I can watch movies, go to chick-fil-a, go shopping, hang out with friends. Right now I don't have to walk everywhere and don't need a constant companion. I can go out in sweats without brushing my hair with no one knowing what family name I need to honor.
On my mission, I will have a strict schedule with strict rules. I will have a constant companion, and I will constantly bear the name of the person I need to bring honor to in front of others- Jesus Christ. Which means my actions, my appearance, and my willingness to serve matters. I will be going out of my comfort zone 24/7 to give others the gospel of Jesus Christ, while trying to manage whatever spanish I know so they understand. I will face rejection and most likely some sickness- not to mention loads of insects that i'm terrified of.
In my mind, I am definitely leaving behind a beautiful garden for a lone and dreary world.
However, as Adam and Eve learned, and what I see my future journey as, just because you live in a lone and dreary world doesn't mean your world needs to be lone and dreary. We can trust in God and trust in His ability to lead and direct us, and be filled with light and love from Him. We can find pure joy in the hardships of life- especially the hardships of life as a disciple of Jesus Christ. I know that missions are hard, but I know that I will come to know real joy by doing the hard things the Lord asks me to do.
The poem above talks about flowers and crowns. I like to think flowers are simple- and a simple life surely is beautiful. But a crown means glorious. The crown to me is perfect: I don't think we serve the Lord with the intention of receiving a ton of tangible blessings-or rich jewelry. I believe that as we dedicate our lives to follow the Lord, we will recognize our divine nature as children of God or our "crowns"- Heirs to His kingdom - and others' divine nature as well.
We aren't guaranteed a perfect life if we do the hard things the Lord needs us to do, but we will experience a life that is so much richer and sweeter and WONDERFUL- even in the midst of hard times.
Here's to the last 20 days of my time in my garden. :)