Every one of us has felt the weight of the world upon us at one time or another in our lives. When we face troubles in life which seem to offer no way out, or when we simply feel that no one understands quite what we are going through, there is peace in knowing that there is a God on high who knows us and has His arms stretched out to us, always.
When I was a young man we lived in a rural area of Northern California. I often walked to the edge of our property and climbed a small hill to a grove of trees where I took time to think over what seemed to my teenage mind to be very weighty problems.
I remember having the feeling that what I was facing could not be fully understood by my parents or even my close friends. Thankfully, as I prayed in those moments of solitude on the hill, I began to develop a better understanding of my relationship to God.
As I grew in my understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ, I began to recognize that the scriptures were not being simply poetic when they taught that God is our Father.
One of the most comforting doctrines the Bible teaches is that we are truly spiritual offspring of God (Matthew 5:48, Hebrews 12:9). He is the father of our spirits and so has a keen interest in every aspect of our lives. We are invited by the Savior to "pray always, without ceasing" (Luke 21:36, 1 Thessalonians. 5:17). This invitation/commandment to pray or commune with God unceasingly is a loving gesture to allow us to stay close to Him. That closeness will bring a feeling of comfort and longing to return to Him at times when we are weighed down with life's problems. He is a loving Father and wants our happiness.
We may at times feel, as we pray to Him, that we are not being heard. It may seem that the greatest desires of our heart are not being attended to by Him whom we know to be our Father and our God. His love includes allowing us to learn the lessons of life by giving us what we need, as opposed to what we want. He is most certainly listening to us and answers our prayers as it is best for us at the time. Sometimes our faith in Him and love of Him must be demonstrated by having faith in His timing.
We can know through the power of the Holy Spirit that we are heard and cared for by a loving God. That spirit whispers to our heart and to our mind that what we are feeling is of God. The manifestation of that is not that every detail of our life flows seamlessly or that our every petition for blessings is immediately and exactly answered according to our specifications. It is in the peace we feel, as we move through the trials and struggles of this life, which let us know that He is listening.
President Todd G. Anderson serves as second counselor in the Walla Walla Stake Presidency for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Pastors in the U-B circulation area who want to write a column should contact Catherine Hicks at 509-526-8312, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.