The Love of God


Tonight is another beautiful sabbath, and though there are many things worth talking about, the sabbath tends to focus one's attention on what is important. So we'll save those other things for some other day besides Sunday.

The older I get, the more I appreciate General Conference. It is an event that allows some time away from the world and its constant demands. And each speaker is trying very hard to day something of value. No one is phoning it in. It's a very special couple of weekends in our year, marking both the passage of time but also circling back to the heart of things.

I knew when I listened to Elder Holland's talk that this one had something for me. Don't we all come to conference in the hopes that God will speak to us through one of the presenters? Sometimes the recognition is not straightforward. But other times it is instantaneous, and so it was for me with this talk.

There are many wonderful things in it, but I think the most profound part was near the end. Let me quote:

"[T]he first great commandment given to the human family [is] to love God wholeheartedly, without reservation or compromise, that is, with all our heart, might, mind, and strength, This love of God is the first great commandment in the universe. But the first great truth in the universe is that God loves us exactly that way--wholeheartedly, without reservation or compromise, with all of His heart, might, mind, and strength. And when those majestic forces from His heart and from our heart meet without restraint, there is a veritable explosion of spiritual, moral power."

When I heard Elder Holland's words, they pierced my soul! Knowing this is knowing all. It resonates with all that I have learned as a mother. It really is so simple--God feels about me the same way I feel about my children, whom I love with every atom of my being. All God wants is what I want from my children--that they love me in return because of how much I love them and want only good for them.

And of course everything else flows from this truth . . . to love my brothers and sisters in the family of God, to hearken to God and keep God's precepts, to be of good cheer and not fear. All power, all wisdom, all capability, all love is derivative from that great and mutual love between Parent and child--from that great explosion!

This gives such a new perspective on "turning the hearts of the children to their fathers [and mothers]," does it not? That verse is not in the first place about family history work. In the first place, it is about that passion between our Heavenly Parents and us as Their child, and how our turning our hearts to Them answers the end of all creation.

And that is why one of the surest ways to come unto God is to experience heartache over a child. Perhaps that is why so many parents--all, I'd venture to say--have such heartache at one time or another. To pour out our souls unto God on behalf of our afflicted children makes our hearts and God's heart beat as one. It may be the key necessary to wholly love God, which unleashes the power of Heaven in behalf of our child. This may also give new meaning to D&C 29:48, where God tells us, "For it is given unto [little children] even as I will, according to mine own pleasure, that great things may be required at the hands of their fathers." Those great things that are required turn our hearts to God in a powerful manner, because in those moments our hearts beat as one with God's.

I feel I have experienced this for myself. The times when I have felt I have known God most intimately have been the times when I have turned to the Lord because a child of mine was afflicted in some way. And the times I have felt the greatest joy have been when a child turned their heart to really see me, how much I love them, and how much I will good for them--and I felt God's joy echoing in my own.

Brothers and sisters, this is such a Good Plan. Feel the truth of God's love for you and let it change you forever . . . turn to God as a child finally turns and sees the parent who adores them and wants only good for them!