This October, President Uchtdorf spoke in General Conference on Saturday morning on the topic, “A Yearning for Home.” I appreciated that one of his first main points was that “the sublime message of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is that God is our Father, and that He cares about us, and that there is a way to return to Him.”
We spend a lot of time and energy in the Church talking about a lot of things that are perhaps related to this “main point” but maybe not enough time talking about it and about that way to return to Him—namely through the Savior.
President Uchtdorf reminds us that God knows us and all of the good and bad things that happen to us and that we go through. Many times, especially when we are in midst of a mental illness, we think that God isn’t helping us or hearing our prayers. Yet, President Uchtdorf stated in his talk that “God knows the many times you have sought Him. […] The many times you have wept in loneliness. The many times you have felt helpless, confused, or angry.”
Sometimes we wonder why God, if He knows about all of those times, has seemingly left us to suffer and go through these trials. I once heard Jon Bytheway say, “God is sometimes more interested in our growth than in our comfort,” and somehow that made sense to me. Yes, I believe that God loves us. I believe that He wants to help us and wants us to be happy. But I also think that God knows us even more than we know ourselves. He knows what we are capable of and what we can endure and do.
There are times when I go with my children to the park and see them trying to do something on the monkey bars or wherever, and they might ask me to help them—and sometimes I have helped, but other times I know that they can and need to figure it out on their own. I know that they can do it, even if they don’t. Or, I know that they’ll figure out a different way to overcome their challenge—and letting them figure out, even if it takes longer or isn’t what they say they want at the time—will help them more in the long run than if I stepped in and did it for them.
Using Us for Good
One of my favorite parts of President Uchtdorf’s talk came when he talked about how God will use us, our abilities, and the things that we’ve been through for good if we let Him. He said,
“No matter your position in your community or in the Church, God will use you, if you are willing. He will magnify your righteous desires and turn the compassionate actions you sow into a bountiful harvest of goodness.”
I have seen this promise work in my life. I’ve probably explained this before, but I wanted to write for so long but felt like I didn’t have a passion. I didn’t know what I should or could write about—until after I went through my severe OCD and got treatment. Once I got my life back in order, I realized that I needed to write about OCD and being a member of the Church in order to help others and show people that they are not alone and that hope and help are possible.
God will take our challenges and trials and use them for both our benefit and the benefit of others if we will let Him do so. Many times it involves going through really hard times and even feeling alone and abandoned in order for us to learn the lessons that we need to become the people we are meant to be. Remember that you have an advocate and that you really are never alone, no matter how much it feels like it.
God loves you, and He needs you.
What did you like about President Uchtdorf’s talk?