Archive for the ‘love of God’ Tag

Mind the Gap

Reading: “Mind the Gap,” Barbara Thompson, Second Counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency, General Relief Society Meeting, October 2009

In London, England subway stations “Mind the Gap” is painted on the ground in front of the gap between the platform and the train. This wonderfully British phrase helps remind riders to be careful of this potetially dangerous gap. In her talk Sister Thompson uses this as a metaphor to encourage us to be careful of the gaps in our own lives.

The gap she spoke about that most struck me was the gap between believing that God loves us and really knowing that we are beloved daughters of God.  When I  think of all the ways that I fall short of perfection, or at least my ideals of where I would like to be, I start to think that God could not possibly love me because I am so imperfect.  Sister Thompson assures us this is not the case:

You need to know that there is nothing that can “separate [you] from the love of Christ.” The scriptures clearly tell us that no tribulation, distress, persecution, power, nor any other creature can separate us from the love of God.

God has done so much for us up to this point, not because we have been perfect, but because he loves us as his children.  My little toddler makes mistakes all the time, and while in my imperfection I might get frustrated with her, I never stop loving her because of them.  On the contrary, some of the times I feel the love for my daughter the greatest is when I see her try and try to do something, keep failing, and then finally succeed.  God also loves me the same way – as a Father helping a child reach his or her potential, not as a human resources manager evaluating my performance as the sum of my worth.

What gaps in your life need your attention? Some other gaps she mentioned were gaps between testimony and obedience, and between Young Women and Relief Society. What can you do to help take better care of those gaps?

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Longest Chapter in the Book of Mormon

Reading: Jacob 5, 1 Nephi 19:23

Sunday evening I got out my scriptures for my evening scripture study and read a handwritten note at the top of the chapter, “Longest chapter in the Book of Mormon.”  The chapter, of course, was Jacob 5 containing the allegory of the olive tree.

Now, I have gone through the different meaning of the allegory of the olive tree several times in seminary, sunday school, and on my own.  I know that it is a story about the gathering of Israel, and that each trip to the garden is symbolic of different dispensations of the gospel.  That doesn’t make it any easier for me to read.  It’s like reading the daily log of a farmer’s work: lots of repetition, not a lot of excitement. Even with all that education I have a hard time figuring out what the allegory is supposed to mean.

However, if there’s anything I’ve learned from my in-depth study of 2 Nephi 2 it is that a close study of scripture can yield great results.  So, I don’t want to to just put away Jacob 5 without gaining anything from it.  Nephi also tells us that although Isaiah’s writings can be hard to understand, we can gain from them if we apply it to ourselves.  From 1 Nephi 19:23:

And I did read many things unto them which were written in the books of Moses; but that I might more fully persuade them to believe in the Lord their Redeemer I did read unto them that which was written by the prophet Isaiah; for I did liken all scriptures unto us, that it might be for our profit and learning.

So, the following is a list of the doctrines I can glean from Jacob 5 that actually mean something to me, personally:

  • God works with prophets (the servant) to accomplish his work on Earth.
  • God is determined to do all he can to raise up a righteous group of people (the good olive tree & fruit).
  • Although it is hard for us to see where the gospel will prosper, God knows his people (the garden) and knows what to do to yield the greatest results.
  • God loves his people (the garden) so much that he weeps at the losses, and waits many times to see if some good would come even though he could have destroyed it.
  • A day of harvest is coming where God will “reap the fruits” and we will all be judged.

Perhaps the greatest lesson of this story is this: that God loves his people and is doing all he can to bring them home.  In Jacob 5:47 it says:

But what could I have done more in my vineyard? Have I slackened mine hand, that I have not nourished it? Nay, I have nourished it, and I have digged about it, and I have pruned it, and I have dunged it; and I have stretched forth mine hand almost all the day long, and the end draweth nigh.

When I think about Jacob 5 from this perspective it gives me hope that God is working to help me overcome my own weaknesses and to be worthy to return to live with him someday.

Today I am going to work on reading Jacob 5 again, but this time highlight every time there is some evidence of God’s love for his people.

What do you think about Jacob 5 and the allegory of the olive tree?  Is there some part of the story that touches you or that illustrates some important doctrine especially well for you?

The Prey of the Mighty Shall Be Delivered

Reading: 1 Nephi 21

Last night I read one of my favorite chapters in the Book of Mormon, 1 Nephi 21.  In this “Isaiah chapter” God is talking to Israel, telling them that he has not forget them and that they will be restored. In verses 24 and 25 he says,

For shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captives delivered? But thus saith the Lord, even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered; for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children.

In another verse God’s love is said to be stronger than a mother’s love for her child.  While there are some mothers who will neglect or harm their children, he says, he will never forget.  In verse 15:

For can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee, O house of Israel.

The beautiful part of this chapter, to me, is how God assures Israel that although it may seem as if he has forgotten them, “he will show that he hath not.” (verse 14)

I can think of several times in my life where things seemed pretty bad and felt as if perhaps God had forgotten about me.  However, as I did cling to God’s promises at that time, eventually I felt as if God had definitely showed me that he had never forgotten me, but my trials were a necessary learning experience.

Today I am going to try to memorize the last verse or two of “How Firm A Foundation,” which is a favorite hymn and lullaby for me that has about the same message as 1 Nephi 21.

Are there times in your life did you feel that God had forgotten you, only to see later that he had not?  Or, if you can’t think of a specific time, are there stories in the scriptures that stand out to you?