Friday, May 10, 2013

God is for Us

I am reading Elder Jeffrey R. Holland's book For Times of Trouble: Spiritual Solace from the Psalms right now. My sister bought it for me for Christmas, and I'm finally getting to it. I am really enjoying it. I've learned some interesting things and I find it comforting, enlightening and enjoyable. Best of all, it is written in 3 different sections (reflections, Messiah, 23rd Psalm) and each section is broken down to cover just a few verses from the Psalms. Then he gives his reflections, other related scriptural passages and quotes from other General Authorities about those verses. I can read one or two passages a night and then focus my scripture study around those passages and the related verses or other verses that spring to mind or that are in the footnotes. I've marked so many passages and written down thoughts I've had and things I've learned in my scriptures. It has been wonderful. There is so much that I'm underlining in the book. I'd almost like to photocopy whole sections from the book to paste into my scriptures. :)

But one thing has stood out to me more than anything else. It is what he begins with...Psalm 56:9 which reads, "When I cry unto thee, then shall mine enemies turn back: this I know; for God is for me." He writes, "That truth has to be seared into our hearts, written in bold letters across the tissue of our brains, and never forgotten."

This is so powerful. God is for me. That doesn't mean that I won't have trials; I will. That doesn't mean that my heart won't break at times; it does. That doesn't mean that I will never feel fear or disappointment or sorrow; I do. But it does mean that "that all these things shall give [me] experience, and shall be for [my] good." (D&C 122:7)

Elder Holland writes:
Whenever we go out and always when we come in, no matter what the trouble and trial of the day may be, we start and finish with this eternal truth that God is for us. He loves us. He is our Heavenly Father. He never sleeps nor slumbers in His watchcare over us.
(page 12)

What powerful words those are...he never sleeps nor slumbers in His watchcare over us. Always he is there. Always.

2 Kings 6:16 says, "And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them." Always they that be with us are more than they that are against us, because God is on our side!

Elder Holland goes on to say:
God's singular, solitary quest is to bless and exalt His children, to save (if they will let Him) every human soul. So in our efforts to swim through our sea of troubles, we must master this thought; in the common parlance of our faith, we must get a testimony of it. God is for us. He is never against us. We and all others have the freedom, the eternal agency, to make choices, including stupid or cruel or evil ones. Because of this He can be against things we do and against things others do to us. He will always be against sin, abuse and error in whatever form they come and from whomever they may flow. But even then He has the divine ability to separate His opposition to the sin from His unyielding love for the sinner. (page 13)

I loved reading this post a few days ago about how the Savior loves to forgive (And hey, he recommends reading Elder Holland's book, so I thought that was a nifty little recommendation as I'm enjoying it so much!). It isn't just that He will forgive or that He can forgive. But He wants to forgive us. It is part of His nature. Just as it is part of God's nature to be on our side, to be for us. I know this to be true, and I feel such gratitude. As it says in Romans 8:31, "...If God be for us, who can be against us?"