As Fathers’ Day was this past Sunday, I’ve been doing some thinking. As human beings, the closest thing to unconditional love that we see is the love that parents have for children. Our fathers and mothers love as much as they can. I say this recognizing that some of us don’t receive that love, or have in other ways been failed by our parents. And while earthly parents may fail us, our Heavenly Parents never will.
I love my father very much. I recognize he is not perfect, but he tries. I am learning and growing and changing, and so is he. He has taught me a lot, and in many ways I’ve modeled myself after certain behaviors that I saw in him. As I know my earthly father, I am striving to know my Heavenly Father. However, I can’t call up God on the phone to have a chat, and I can’t watch how He interacts with the world directly. So in trying to know my Heavenly Father, I turn to the scriptures.
Scripture bears record of God’s interactions with man, and though there is little direct interaction to teach us about the precise character of God, there are a few moments that are important to think about.
First, we must know what our relationship is with God. He made us in his image, and we are His children. Throughout the scriptures, we are called children of God. The verse that encompasses that fully is in Romans 8, where we read:
16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
If we are to be joint-heirs with Christ, we must follow his example, and know what is commanded of us. We know that we are called to become like Our Father. In Matthew 5, it reads:
48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
Now, perfection is no easy task. It’s a journey we are asked to take for the entirety of our earthly lives. And we can get closer to perfection. But we cannot ever reach it without the Atonement of Christ, and the mercy of God. For awhile, I thought this seems silly. What was the point in trying if I was never actually going to be able to get there on my own? But we are simply not capable of reaching perfection on our own in this life. We must not allow pride to stand in the way of accepting God and his love. We get credit for trying on our own, but Christ will help us make up the difference if we ask.
We know that God loves us, and wants us to choose Him. In Moses chapter 7, Enoch sees God weep, and inquires as to why.
29 And Enoch said unto the Lord: How is it that thou canst weep, seeing thou art holy, and from all eternity to all eternity?
30 And were it possible that man could number the particles of the earth, yea, millions of earths like this, it would not be a beginning to the number of thy creations; and thy curtains are stretched out still; and yet thou art there, and thy bosom is there; and also thou art just; thou art merciful and kind forever;
31 And thou hast taken Zion to thine own bosom, from all thy creations, from all eternity to all eternity; and naught but peace, justice, and truth is the habitation of thy throne; and mercy shall go before thy face and have no end; how is it thou canst weep?
32 The Lord said unto Enoch: Behold these thy brethren; they are the workmanship of mine own hands, and I gave unto them their knowledge, in the day I created them; and in the Garden of Eden, gave I unto man his agency;
33 And unto thy brethren have I said, and also given commandment, that they should love one another, and that they should choose me, their Father; but behold, they are without affection, and they hate their own blood;
. . .
37 But behold, their sins shall be upon the heads of their fathers; Satan shall be their father, and misery shall be their doom; and the whole heavens shall weep over them, even all the workmanship of mine hands; wherefore should not the heavens weep, seeing these shall suffer?
God weeps for his children, and does not wish to see us suffer. We know that His love for us is deep, and unconditional. He has given us the ability to choose for ourselves what we will do, but we know He wants for us to love one another, and choose Him. But the world is chaotic and confusing, and it can be hard to choose God. Still, we know that he calls us to repentance continually, because He wants us to become like Him, and to be able to return to Him.
God has so much love for us. It is greater than any earthly love, as it is endless and unconditional. His plan for His Children is perfect, and all encompassing. We are born here to earthly parents, and given this time to learn, grow and choose for ourselves. We must simply make the decisions that will lead us to Him. We must choose God in thought, word and deed.
I leave you with a challenge. Hopefully you did something for your Earthly father this Fathers’ Day. So now, do something for Heavenly Father! Search your scriptures, and find something in them that tells you about the nature of God. Find His message for you, and strengthen your relationship with God.