Tuesday, November 11, 2008

About God

“God is our Heavenly Father. We are His children. He has a body of flesh and bone that is glorified and perfected. He loves us. He weeps with us when we suffer and rejoices when we do what is right. He wants to communicate with us, and we can communicate with Him through sincere prayer.

He has given us this experience on the earth so we can learn and grow. We can show our love for Him through our choices and our obedience to His commandments.

Heavenly Father has provided us, His children, with a way to be successful in this life and to return to live in His presence. However, we must be pure and clean through obedience in order to do so. Disobedience moves us away from Him.”1

I reiterate that God is Our Father; He has an immortal, perfect, physical body of flesh and bone and we are created in His image. “We believe in a God who is engaged in our lives, who is not silent, not absent, nor, as Elijah said of the god of the priests of Baal, is He “[on] a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be [awakened]” (1 Kings 18:27).”2 He is not some distant, estranged being or entity that resides in the cosmos somewhere, possibly providing a sense of hope and security to those who cry out for help only when completely desperate. Of course, He does reach out to those who cry unto Him in need, but He does so as a father does with his own child because He is our Father and we are His children.

By understanding who our Father in Heaven is, we may better understand His role in our lives and His interest for our success and long-term happiness. One of my favorite descriptions of God comes from the quote above, “[Our Heavenly Father] loves us. He weeps with us when we suffer and rejoices when we do what is right.” I know that this is true. Our Father in Heaven truly cares about what happens in our lives and cares enough to guide us to lasting happiness. I see “tender mercies” of the Lord in my life every day. He looks out for me and while He does not protect me from every bad experience or feeling, He helps me learn from each trial so that I may grow and learn what He is trying to teach me. His commandments are not restricting boundaries or merely guidelines; His commandments are His instructions to us on how to live happy, successful lives that will lead us back to Him.

God wants all of us to talk to Him, to share our thoughts, feelings, desires, fears, and accomplishments with Him. He knows all that goes on in our lives of course, but as we pray and express these things to Him, our bond with our Father in Heaven grows and we become closer to Him. We feel the guiding influence of His hand more and more in our lives and we become more like the person He would have us become. John teaches that “This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3).

God lives, He loves us, He looks out for us, we can communicate with Him through prayer, and we can return to Him if we simply do what He asks.

1Preach My Gospel, Ch 3, Lesson 1
2Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “My Words . . . Never Cease,” Ensign, May 2008, 93

Further reading:

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “The Grandeur of God,” Ensign, Nov 2003, 70
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “The only True God and Jesus Christ Whom Thou Hast Sent,” Ensign, Nov 2007 40-42
Bishop Keith B. McMullin, “God Loves and Helps All of His Children,” Ensign, Nov 2008, 75–78