On this special day, I feel to celebrate my Heavenly Father.
Often amazing fathers seem in the background, quietly doing the consistent, mundane, fix-it work of the family–loving them with their diligent and daily constancy.
I often feel that about God. His majesty, in part, is His unfailing healing and helping love for each of His children, you and I.
No matter what. No matter who. No matter where.
Whether we believe, pray, or obey Him or not, He is still available, connected to, and loving us.
Do we really know that God loves us? Do we really allow ourselves to feel that love? It is always there. Always.
As I look back on my life, in those turbulent experiences of childhood and adulthood, I can honestly say there has not been a time that I didn’t know He was there. Even as a young girl in situations that were far from that holy feeling, I had a sense that He knew me and loved me. That it was all somehow going to be okay.
Now, weekly, when taking the sacrament, I find myself drawn to also focusing on my Father in Heaven. Thinking about His sacrifice in letting His Son come to this earth, to be hated and mocked and hurt, and ultimately to allow Him to be crucified. As a parent, I have the tiniest but still painful glimpse of what that could require on His part. And yet, His desire to have us know Him, really know Him, allowed Him to send His Son who embodied that great love in all He did to reflect it.
As Elder Holland says in “The Grandeur of God”, if we want to know God, we need to know Jesus. If we want to deeply feel the love of our Father in Heaven, we need to open to and receive the love of the Savior.” Jesus did not come to improve God’s view of man nearly so much as He came to improve man’s view of God, and to plead with them to love their Heavenly Father as He has always and will always love them.
The plan of God, the power of God, the holiness of God, yes, even the anger and the judgment of God they had occasion to understand. But the love of God, the profound depth of His devotion to His children, they still did not fully know—until Christ came . . . In His life and especially in His death, Christ was declaring, ‘This is God’s compassion I am showing you, as well as that of my own.’” (https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/…/the-grandeur-of…) Compassion. Kindness. Comfort. Those and so much more are traits of our Father in Heaven. And, like the Ultimate Divine Parent, He works tirelessly, and eternally, for our benefit.
On knowing the depth of His love, Elder Holland continues: “It also helps us understand . . . that vivid moment in the Book of Mormon allegory of the olive tree, when after digging and dunging, watering and weeding, trimming, pruning, transplanting, and grafting, the great Lord of the vineyard throws down his spade and his pruning shears and weeps, crying out to any who would listen, ‘What could I have done more for my vineyard?'”
I remember serving my mission in Japan many years ago and being in a leadership position that gave me additional meetings with my mission president. After hearing of the misdeeds of one of his missionaries, this loving grandpa of a man broke down crying. In essence, he said those self-same words: “What more could I have done?” I felt the powerful love this man had for a “child” who was not his own biologically, but through stewardship spiritually. How much more, so much more, does God love us? He never gives up on us. And what we do, think, and feel matters to Him. This is personal, and eternal, and He is guiding and giving us all He has, all the way along.
In truth, regardless of the presence or lack of presence of the father in your life; whether he is here or has passed, whether you are close or not, you always have a Father to go to. One who will wrap you in His love, and you will know and feel “encircled about eternally in the arms of his love.” (2 Nephi 1:15)
To read Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s full talk, go here: The Grandeur of God