Monday, October 21, 2013

"Does God Care About Me?"

There may be times in our lives where we ask ourselves questions like "Is God really there?" "Does God care about me?" or "How can I know that God loves me?"  Maybe in these trying times we are going through illness, loss of a job, or some other tough situation.  It can be very difficult to feel God's love in such circumstances.  What can we do when this happens to us?  I will share three ways in which I have found comfort knowing of God's love when I have been in such a place in my own life.

1. Guidance Through Scripture
In my teenage years I was unsure how I felt about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or religion generally.  However, a time came when I had a mental collapse and didn't know what I wanted.  In my journal I described it as thus:

"Physically I was fine afterward, but I wanted to die... Eventually my thoughts drifted towards a friend's question:  When was the last time you read the Book of Mormon?  I didn't know why, but I knew I had to read the book."

While reading I learned of someone who felt much like I did then.  His name was Alma Jr.  Alma explains how he came to know of God's love when he wrote:  "I remembered also to have heard my father prophesy unto the people concerning the coming of one Jesus Christ, a Son of God, to atone for the sins of the world.  Now, as my mind caught hold upon this thought, I cried within my heart:  O Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me, who am in the gall of bitterness, and am encircled about by the everlasting chains of death.  And now, behold, when I thought this I could remember my pains no more" (see Alma 36).

As I read about the story of Alma Jr. I knew I could also feel the same way that he did if I prayed to the Lord as he did.

2. Comfort in Prayer
Quoting my journal again, after closing my scriptures I found a quiet place where I could have complete privacy, and "I then said the shortest prayer of my life.  'God, do you love me?'  The feeling I got was one big powerful, 'Of course I do.'"  At that moment I felt a peace I had not known before, or in Alma's words I could remember my pains no more.

After that short prayer I felt confidence in myself, love towards God, and hope for what I could still do in life.

3. Strength From Others
Returning from my prayer I talked with a couple close friends of mine.  They could sense I was having a hard time and one of them said, "God loves you, and we're here for you.  You'll get through it."

Of course going through such times is never an easy thing and could take a long time to do, but when we read the scriptures, pray for help from the Lord, and use the added strength of friends and family we can get through these situations.  We can all have the assurance that I received that God is really there, he does care about us, and even loves us.
"Above all, never lose faith in your Father in Heaven, who loves you more than you can comprehend. As President Monson said to the Relief Society sisters so movingly last Saturday evening: “That love never changes. … It is there for you when you are sad or happy, discouraged or hopeful. God’s love is there for you whether or not you feel you deserve [it]. It is simply always there.” Never, ever doubt that, and never harden your heart." (Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, Like a Broken Vessel, 2013.)
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