There is in life a wonderful thing that happens when we come to know that we have a loving Heavenly Father. With that knowledge comes an inner peace and a quiet confidence that can be had in no other way. Why? The answer lies in the fact that once we know that He is our Father, that gives us the assurance that we, as His children, can become like Him. Did you catch that? We can be like Him, the most powerful, glorious, majestic being in the universe. For me that sends my confidence soaring. It gives me hope, strength, courage, and determination to good and be good.
Another marvelous thing that comes with the knowledge that God is our loving Heavenly Father is the quiet assurance that He, like all loving fathers, cares deeply about our personal welfare. He wants us to be happy. His is the marvelous invitation, "Draw near unto me, and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you," (Doctrine and Covenants 88:63). As we draw near unto Him by seeking Him diligently, and knocking, He will draw near, and we will receive according to our faith and prayers in the Lord's own way and time. He loves us.
I've experienced first hand our kind Father's love in a multitude of ways--so many ways in fact that I can't begin to name them all. However, I will share a personal and family experience from this last year.
Last April, after careful thought and prayer, I resigned from the job I was working at to remove myself from a situation in which I felt the I was being asked to compromise my integrity. It was not an easy decision as it meant not having income flowing in, not having insurance, and the very real possibility that we would need to move which carried a whole different set of additional burdens. It also meant searching for a new job which can be a thoroughly grueling process. It was a time of much fasting and prayer personally, with my sweetheart, and with our children. Though the many challenges that we faced seemed daunting, as we turned to the Lord in faith, He did not leave us comfortless. Rather, He gave us the sweet and calming reassurance that only the Holy Ghost can give, that everything would be okay. With that reassurance came the accompanying gift of confidence. We then moved forward in faith.
I revamped my resume and sent it to some close friends for advice as to how to improve it. I then submitted it to specific sites and looked for specific work in specific places as guided by the spirit. I was very particular in looking at the companies I applied for as I didn't want to end up in the same situation again.
In parallel, we also worked hard to get our home ready to sell. We'd been guided through prayer and personal revelation to start preparing the year before when we had the money to do so. The Lord new what was coming and we were tremendously blessed. Had we not given previous heed, we would not have been read to sell this year when the time came. As it was, we only had about a third of the work left to do.
in July, after three months of searching, interviews, turning some opportunities down, and not receiving other anticipated offers, I was contacted by a recruiter about a job in a little town I'd never heard of . It turned out to be a great opportunity. I would not interview until August and then start, if I got the job, in September or early October. The timing was perfect as it allowed us to put the finishing touches on the house.
Then came the challenge of finding a good realtor and getting the home sold. Part of the reason we did the work on the home the previous year was to put it on the market then in an effort to move based commitments for my prior position. The Lord new we weren't going to move, but we didn't. We put the house on the market and it didn't budge.
This time, we wanted to make sure we found the right realtor who could help us get the home on the market quickly, who would work hard for us, and who would listen to our needs while guiding us through the process. Again we turned to the Lord in prayer, seeking His help to find just the right person. We then turned to the Internet and started reading through realtor reviews. In doing so we found Karen (name changed). We read multiple reviews and everyone had nothing but good things to say. We prayed about using Karen and felt good about it, so we went with that feeling.
Karen was happy to help us. She listened to our needs and helped us get our home listed within two weeks. Within 8 days we had an offer. Two months later we closed.
Throughout the entire experience, we felt the arms of our kind Father and loving Savior around us. Was everything easy? Not by a long shot. Did we receive immediate answers to our prayers? Sometimes, but not very often. Most of the time it took multiple prayers, fasting, and lots of soul searching before the answers came. Nevertheless, they did come, and the Holy Ghost strengthened us to endure in faith while we waited. He was our help and strength and guided us forward, even as Nephi of old, who moved forward with faith, not knowing beforehand what He should do.
I know that God lives and loves us and that He takes a very personal interest in our lives. I know that His promise, that if we draw near to Him He will draw near to us, is true for I have experienced this myself. I love Him and want to continue to draw near to Him.
If you have wandered from God's side, I invite you to put His promise to the test. Turn to Him in prayer. Seek Him diligently as He asks, read and ponder the scriptures, and strive to learn and keep His commandments. As you do, I can promise you, as surely as I am writing this, that He will draw near to you and you will feel His love again in your life.
Randy McNeely is a father of five, an aspiring author as well as a singer/songwriter. He has written several patriotic songs, children’s songs and multiple religious hymns, including Oh Jesus, Savior of Mankind, which won a Special Recognition award in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints 2008 Music Submission contest.
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