Have I Seen the Hand of God in My Life?

Sister Susan Bednar

CES Devotional for Young Adults • March 3, 2013 • University of Texas Arlington

As I travel the world with my husband, I’m saddened to discover that many young people feel alone and doubt that the Lord knows them personally or loves them. I’ve prayed about the principles I could emphasize tonight that would help you know the Lord does know you and love you. I pray for the Spirit to help me deliver this message.

I am going to use words from a seminary song to organize my remarks:

We must have ears to hear the word of the Lord,
And eyes to see His plan,
Feet to follow in His path,
And hearts to understand.
(Steven K. Jones, “Hearts that Understand,” Hold to the Rod Songbook [1988], 20)

Ears to Hear the Word of the Lord

First, we must have ears to hear the word of the Lord. We can hear the voice of the Lord as we study the scriptures (see D&C 18:34–36). When I was your age, Spencer W. Kimball was the President of the Church. A quote from him has guided me throughout my life. He said: “I find that when I get casual in my relationships with divinity and when it seems that no divine ear is listening and no divine voice is speaking, that I am far, far away. If I immerse myself in the scriptures the distance narrows and the spirituality returns” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball [2006], 67).

I testify that if we have ears to hear the word of the Lord, we will feel His love as He speaks to us through the scriptures.

Eyes to See His Plan

Second, we must have eyes to see His plan. One day I was thinking about a returned missionary I knew when, unexpectedly, I received an email from her. She told me how she felt the Lord working miracles through her in the mission field, but since her return home she wondered sometimes if He was really aware of her.

In my answer to her, I shared some important counsel Elder Henry B. Eyring gave to BYU–Idaho students. He said: “I bless you that every day, if you will ask in prayer to be shown where the hand of God intervened in your life that day, I bless you that you will see that. It will be made manifest to you. That you will see that He is leading and guiding and lifting you, and that He knows you” (“A Steady, Upward Course” [Brigham Young University–Idaho devotional, Sept. 18, 2001], web.byui.edu/devotionalsandspeeches).

I then explained how I prayed daily for this blessing and had seen the hand of God reaching out to touch me through her thoughtful note. I reassured her Heavenly Father would do the same for her.

I testify, as we pray for eyes to see His plan, we will be aware of God’s involvement in our lives and know that He knows us.

Feet to Follow in His Path

Third, we must have feet to follow in His path. Many young adults become disillusioned, disheartened, and discouraged because events they thought would happen in their lives have not yet occurred. Some mistakenly believe if God hasn’t given them the happiness or blessings they were hoping for or thought they deserved, He doesn’t care. To show their displeasure with God, some lose faith, dishonor covenants, put their trust in worldly pleasures, and turn from God to self. Instead of having feet to follow the path of righteousness, they deviate from the gospel path, wander off, and become lost. We all know someone who is “off the path.” We can feel God’s love in our lives as we see the positive reaction of many as we reach out to serve and to rescue.

The Lord’s path is clearly marked by the teachings of prophets, seers, and revelators. Next month is general conference. I testify, if we prayerfully seek to identify a personal question or concern to take to conference, the Lord will answer us through the messages of His anointed servants. We will feel His love and concern and have increased courage and steady feet to follow in His path now and forever.

Hearts to Understand

Fourth, we need hearts to understand the gift of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Elder Bednar has taught: “It is one thing to know that Jesus Christ came to earth to die for us—that is fundamental and foundational to the doctrine of Christ. But we also need to appreciate that the Lord desires, through His Atonement and by the power of the Holy Ghost, to live in us—not only to direct us but also to empower us” (“The Atonement and the Journey of Mortality,” Ensign, Apr. 2012, 42).

To me, the Atonement of Jesus Christ provides individual comfort and powerful evidence of God’s love for us. It strengthens us to do hard things—things we do not think we can do. It helps us hold on when we do not understand God’s will and timing in our lives. I testify God lives, and we will feel His love and know that He knows us as we dedicate our hearts to understand more fully the blessings of the Atonement of His Son, Jesus Christ.

We must have ears to hear the word of the Lord,
And eyes to see His plan,
Feet to follow in His path,
And hearts to understand.
(Jones, “Hearts that Understand,” 20)

In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

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