Saturday, April 16, 2016

And the Thorns Sprung Up

A week after he concluded the first session of General Conference, President Eyring also opened the next session. In his Saturday Morning talk, Where Two or Three Are Gathered, he spoke about two converts who had recently written to him. They both had testimonies of the gospel, but were concerned "that feelings of love for the Lord and His love for them were lessening."

President Eyring related this to the parable of the sower, in which one of the types of soil in which seeds are sown is thorny. The seeds that landed there fell among soil that was good, and the seeds started to grow, but then "the thorns sprung up, and choked them" (Matthew 13:7).

Similarly, many of us have received the Gospel and have felt it grow within us. We have nourished it and have tasted of its fruit, proving that our soil is good enough to grow the good plants within us. But Satan works against all of God's children, especially against the ones with the greatest potential, so just like the enemy in the parable of the wheat and the tares, he sows weeds in our fields, trying to choke the gospel out of us.

If we look at this from a certain perspective, this can be almost encouraging. Satan attacks us when he sees the good in us. He wouldn't bother sowing thorns in our soil if there were no good plants in there to choke. If we feel that our testimonies are wilting because the enemy is trying to choke the life out of them, that's because he knows that if he doesn't, those testimonies will grow healthy and strong and will bear fruit.

We can also choose to weed the thorns out and make our soil good again, assuming that we notice that the weeds are there. As President Eyring teaches us, "Satan is clever." He is often subtle enough that we don't notice his weeds growing within us until our plants begin to wilt. That's why President Eyring said that "Those who are saddened by the loss of the joy they once had are the blessed ones. Some do not see the withering of faith within themselves." We can only weed thorns out of our lives once we know they're there, so noticing that our plants are wilting because our garden has weeds is actually a good sign. We noticed, and now we can do something about it.

If we find that we have thorns in our soil, that fact proves many good things. It proves that our soil is good enough to grow things. It proves that Satan is nervous enough about the progress that we're making that he wants to put a stop to it. And it proves that we have become aware of the devil's scheme, which puts us in a good position to thwart it. Finding thorny weeds in our garden isn't typically a pleasant experience, but I agree with President Eyring that those who notice such weeds or the wilting they cause are actually the blessed ones. Satan sows weeds into the gardens of many. Those whose gardens grow anyway are those who notice the thorns in their lives, take courage, and weed them out.

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