*Mom's note: Elder Wallgren had no way of knowing our struggles this
week when he sent us this about his studies. Steve had been put on
leave at school and not told why. Rumor was eventually confirmed that
Mr. Wallgren was accused of assaulting one of his middle school
students. This letter helped us to know that our Heavenly Father is
aware of us, right now. That our son, wise beyond his years, was
a messenger of peace to our souls, our hearts and was serving
exactly how and where the Lord wanted him. I cried for an hour,
grateful for seeing blessings through this trial. Again, we are
blessed by our son's willingness to do what he's asked.
This week I'm going to talk about "The Hope of God's Light" by Dieter F Uchtdorf in April of 2013. He talks a lot about finding hope in dark places and the happiness that we can get from him. 5 stars. 2 thumbs up. 10/10 would read again. "It is part of our condition as mortal beings to sometimes feel as though we are surrounded by darkness. We might have lost a loved one; a child might have strayed; we might have received a troubling medical diagnosis; we might have employment challenges and be burdened by doubts or fears; or we might feel alone or unloved. But even though we may feel lost in the midst of our current circumstances, God promises the hope of His light--He promises to illuminate the way before us and show us the way out of darkness." -I think of being lost on a trail. When we get lost, the biggest thing that we want is to be found, to be able to find our way back to the ones we love. As he says, even when; ESPECIALLY when we feel lost and alone., that is when God will lead us back to light and illuminate the way before us. "I’d like to tell you about a woman who grew up in a room filled with darkness--I’ll call her Jane. From the time Jane was three years old, she was repeatedly beaten, belittled, and abused. She was threatened and mocked. She awoke each morning not knowing if she would survive until the next day. The people who should have protected her were those who tortured her or allowed the abuse to continue. In order to protect herself, Jane learned to stop feeling. She had no hope of rescue, so she hardened herself to the horror of her reality. There was no light in her world, so she became resigned to the darkness. With a numbness that can come only from constant and unrelenting contact with evil, she accepted the fact that any moment might be her last. Then, at age 18, Jane discovered The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The joy and hope of the restored gospel penetrated her heart, and she accepted the invitation to be baptized. For the first time, light entered her life, and she saw a bright path before her. She left the darkness of her world and decided to attend school a great distance away from her abuser. At last she felt liberated from an environment of darkness and evil--free to enjoy the Savior’s sweet peace and miraculous healing. However, years later, after her abuser had died, Jane was again troubled by the horrible events of her youth. Profound sadness and anger threatened to destroy the wonderful light she had found in the gospel. She realized that if she allowed that darkness to consume her, her tormentor would have a final victory. She sought counseling and medical help and began to realize that, for her, the best path for healing was to understand and accept that darkness exists--but not to dwell there. For, as she now knew, light also exists--and that is where she chose to dwell. Given her dark past, Jane could easily have become vindictive, venomous, or violent. But she didn’t. She resisted the temptation to spread the darkness, refusing to lash out in anger, hurt, or cynicism. Instead, she held fast to the hope that with God’s help she could be healed. She chose to radiate light and devote her life to helping others. This decision enabled her to leave the past behind and to step into a glorious, bright future. She became a schoolteacher, and today, decades later, her love has influenced the lives of hundreds of children, helping them to know that they have worth, that they are important. She has become a tireless defender of the weak, the victimized, and the discouraged. She builds, strengthens, and inspires everyone around her. Jane learned that healing comes when we move away from the darkness and walk toward the hope of a brighter light. It was in the practical application of faith, hope, and charity that she not only transformed her own life but forever blessed the lives of many, many others." -I love this story, especially because I see that even though her life may have been covered in complete darkness, gods light reached out to her and she was able to find her way towards the truth and light. The darkness even seemed to reach back out towards her, but this hope that the light provided engulfed her ever more so than the darkness could ever hope to. She took her negative situation; a life covered in darkness, and now she helps other find the light that God provides for them. -I love how even though her life seemed to be in shambles, the church, it's teachings, but most of all the LOVE OF CHRIST pulled her into a state in which she now teaches children and pulls them towards gods light. "God’s light is real. It is available to all! It gives life to all things. It has the power to soften the sting of the deepest wound. It can be a healing balm for the loneliness and sickness of our souls. In the furrows of despair, it can plant the seeds of a brighter hope. It can enlighten the deepest valleys of sorrow. It can illuminate the path before us and lead us through the darkest night into the promise of a new dawn." -I just love his testimony. I can't think of any better way to say what he has said.... Other than the way he just said it. "Nevertheless, spiritual light rarely comes to those who merely sit in darkness waiting for someone to flip a switch. It takes an act of faith to open our eyes to the Light of Christ. Spiritual light cannot be discerned by carnal eyes. Jesus Christ Himself taught, 'I am the light which shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not.' For 'the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.'" -ACTION. We CANNOT expect to sit in a dark room alone and have someone else hit the light switch for us. The light would only turn on by our own efforts. Why is that so easy to understand with physical light, but so difficult with gods light? We all need to strive to do things that will help us strain gods light on OUR OWN EFFORTS. BUT HOW?! President Uchtdorf gives some steps- 1. Start where you are The very moment you begin to seek your Heavenly Father, IN THAT MOMENT, the hope of His light will begin to awaken, enliven. And ennoble your soul. 2. Turn your heart toward the Lord Acknowledge your shortcomings. Pour out your heart and express your gratitude. LET HIM KNOW of the trials you are facing. 3. Walk in the light Your heaven father knows that you will make mistakes. He knows that you will stumble-perhaps many times. This saddens him, but he loves you. He does not wish to break your spirit. In the contrary, he desires that you rise up and become the person you were designed to be. -follow those.... Yeah "Yes, we will make mistakes. Yes, we will falter. But as we seek to increase our love for God and strive to love our neighbor, the light of the gospel will surround and uplift us. The darkness will surely fade, because it cannot exist in the presence of light. As we draw near to God, He will draw near to us. And day by day, the hope of God’s light will grow within us, “brighter and brighter until the perfect day.” To all who feel they walk in darkness, I invite you to rely on this certain promise spoken by the Savior of mankind: “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” -take that advice, we will falter, we will make mistakes. God doesn't expect us to be perfect. He knows we are far from it. Just remember that dark and light cannot exist in the same space. And then again.... He says it better than I ever could: "Nevertheless, I bear witness that our living hope is in Christ Jesus! He is the true, pure, and powerful entrance to divine enlightenment. I testify that with Christ, darkness cannot succeed. Darkness will not gain victory over the light of Christ. I bear witness that darkness cannot stand before the brilliant light of the Son of the living God! I invite each of you to open your heart to Him. Seek Him through study and prayer. Come to His Church, even The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Learn of Him and of His gospel, participate actively, help each other, and joyfully serve our God. Brothers and sisters, even after the darkest night, the Savior of the world will lead you to a gradual, sweet, and bright dawn that will assuredly rise within you. As you walk toward the hope of God’s light, you will discover the compassion, love, and goodness of a loving Heavenly Father, “in [whom there] is no darkness at all.” Elder Braden R Wallgren Montana Billings Mission 2015-2017 Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints 1 Nephi 22:16 16 For the time soon cometh that the fulness of the wrath of God shall be poured out upon all the children of men; for he will not suffer that the wicked shall destroy the righteous.