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Alive through the Love of God (1)

May 6, 2008

Last night I was moved by a verse in the Book of Mormon, one of our sacred books of scripture. In 2 Nephi, chapter 11, we read that Nephi was anxious to learn from God what his father, Lehi, had seen in a vision about the tree of life. Then, as he pondered in his heart, Nephi was “taken away” by the Spirit of the Lord. A beautiful conversation followed between the two, but I want to focus on verses 16-17, where the Spirit asks:

“Knowest thou the condescension of God? And [Nephi] said unto him: I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things.”

One of the reasons I cherish this verse is because it puts everything in the right perspective. In life we sometimes wonder why “bad” things happen, especially why bad things happen to good people. We search for an understanding. We search for reasons. And when we don’t find any, we get frustrated and perhaps even blame God. I personally believe everything happens for a reason, but that doesn’t mean I always understand what that reason is. In fact, by the time our lives are over there will most likely be many unanswered questions. What I have to ask myself is: Am I okay with that, the part about not understanding everything – especially the times of hurt and despair?

Getting back to the “right perspective”, Nephi gives the answer that comforts. Although he is not in this context thinking about the trails of life as such, his reply is the key to everything. He says that he (as well as we all) does not know the meaning of all things. So far we agree. But before that he rightly states as his first conviction: “I know that [God] loveth his children.” Do we all agree with that… or rather, truly believe that?

This is the crucial key to making it through life: knowing, in your heart, that God really loves you. Why is this so crucial? Simply this: if you know you are loved and cared for – especially by your Heavenly Father – you will be able to cope with any difficult situation ahead; you will know that hardships are not punishments, but means to shape your character. If God cannot test you, how can you truly show who you are. And if you can’t show it, how can you ever know it? Again, we may still not understand everything, but now we will at least make it through, because of the love of God.

To put it in more simple words: God’s love is what keeps us alive. And by that I mean truly alive. My point is that we haven’t really lived if we haven’t felt the love of God. There is a power in God’s love, unprecedented in kind, nothing to match it. It is the power that sets us free, free to enjoy life in its full. What I am talking about is being truly happy, experiencing lasting joy, being able to keep that positive nature through good times as well as the bad.

The ancient apostle Paul understood this. I esteem his words in Romans 8:38-39:

“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Whenever I write in this forum, of course I can only speak for myself. I do so today as well. But I nevertheless feel the need to bring you my strongest witness about this. I have felt the love of God. I have planted it in my heart. This very moment it is consuming me, and there are no words to describe how that feels. The only way I can begin to convey that feeling is to say, in the spirit of Paul’s words, that nothing in this life can separate me from the love of God. The very thought of that happening is terrifying .

I try not to use the word “truth” flamboyantly, but here and now I say: the love of God will keep you truly alive. That is the truth.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. Linda permalink
    May 8, 2008 11:07

    Oh, sorry about that.

    Guess I got a little carried away 🙂

  2. May 7, 2008 13:23

    Sorry, I had just posted a reply as a new post when I saw this. You’re too fast.
    But I agree with both of you, knowing of course there are many dimensions to this question – and you both bring up important ones.

  3. Linda permalink
    May 7, 2008 12:01

    Those are interesting questions, and I do agree with you Anna, the answer to both these questions must be a definite “no”.

    We should absolutely reach out to help end suffering, or make an effort to have better lives. Because when you think about it; our help will be part of their experience, just like our experience will be enriched through the help of others.

    That’s what I mean by “keeping an open mind to listen to Gods guidance”. We are not meant to play a passive role. Quite the opposite; our effort to change an unwanted situation could be just that experience that would help us grow and develop.

    Resting in Gods love does not mean we’re not supposed to be active. His love however, puts everything in the right perspective, as Louis also said. It keeps everything in balance. Without that love, all kinds of suffering would be just that; suffering.
    But being surrounded by Gods love, we are allowed to rest assured that he knows what’s best for us; he sees us in our everyday lives and knows what we need to learn.

    What are your thoughts on this Louis?

    Linda

  4. Anna permalink
    May 7, 2008 10:35

    One thing a just love about this blog is the mixture of light and heavy subjects. (Plus I find it easier to understand the LDS way of thinking through ordinary peoples thoughts in their everydaylife than through books of doctrines.)

    Anyway, today it´s a heavy subject, and a very interesting one, I might add. In a way, I totally agree: we don´t need all the answers, the christian life is first and formost a relationship with God, not a university. And, yes, I do believe that most people can “take” almost anything as long as they know that someone loves and cares for them.

    Still, to balance: there are two risks with this way of thinking (not that the thinking is wrong, but there are ditches to avoid) (And with this I don´t mean to say that this is included in the LDS way of thinking. I don´t know enough to tell about that.)
    a) If trials and sufferings leads to something godd for other people, does that mean that we shall not try to take away these sufferings (like poverty in the world, or the neighbour abusing his family)?
    b) If trials and suffering might lead to something good for us, does that mean that we shouldn´t try to have better lifes, that we should just try to endure no matter what?

    To both these 2 questions, I would definitevely say: No!
    One good thing with the evil in the world is that it gives us something to fight, opportunities to do good, to show mercy and love towards ourselfs and others, that need a helping hand to get out of their suffering.

  5. Jeannette Larsen permalink
    May 6, 2008 15:48

    Amen to that!

    I have had some hard problems in my life. And I did not understand it all. But through my trying times I’ve learned to be humble and to seek the love of God. And I know, that I am a daugther of God and that he loves me.
    I got the gift to be able to not blame it on God just because my life isn’t easy. It might as well be me who has to learn something. And we all get problems in our lives, som that we can grow stronger, wizer and most of all more Christ like.
    I think we can all agree that the Son of God, Jesus Christ got the hardest part.

    Dear Louis! Thank you so much for this inspiring site. It helps me through the day when I can read all these wonderful spiriual words that you put together.

    Keep up the good work:-)

    And give your family a big hug from me.

    Jeannette

  6. Linda NH permalink
    May 6, 2008 12:19

    Louis, thanks for a great post.
    This is exactly what I believe to be the truth. We are not punished, but shaped. We need guidance, continuously, and the moment we understand this very important difference, we start seeing our lives (including the hard times) in a whole different perspective.
    We are not meant to understand everything, the meaning of all things is not for us to know, not yet. But God knows, and he loves us eternally and want the very best for us in all things. So what we have to do is rest in his love and try to keep an open mind to listen to his guidance.
    Hey why am I even writing, you already said it all. It just struck me as: Yes, that’s exactly it!

    Linda

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