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Monday, May 5, 2014

Our Relationship With God

I find that so many people these days of many religions, including many members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, including myself sometimes, may not be truly understanding our relationship with God the way it really is, or at least, as it should and can be.  The more I have heard people's opinions and perspectives regarding our Father in Heaven and how they think of Him, the very concept of Father, in association with Him, is, I think, not given near enough importance. I don't say this to diminish the fact that He is, most assuredly, the most powerful Being in the universe and our God, but rather to focus on the indescribable beautiful truth that this all powerful, all perfect and all knowing God is, in absolute fact, also, quite literally, our Father!

 I love the way Jack R. Christianson (author of The Mortal Christ) put it. I don't have the direct quote here but in that book he mentioned how it shouldn't be any wonder to us that the one title God wants us to know Him by the most is "The Father". I echo him in asking, should it really be that surprising to us that God asks to be known as our Father? I don't think so. Now wait a minute. Do you know what that means? Our Father, our literal Father, is the greatest and most powerful being in the universe!

Take a second to let that sink in. Just say this once to yourself: "My Dad is the most powerful being in the universe". It's a mind blowing concept. I prefer, though, to think of it as the most wonderful and reassuring thing ever. Yes, most, if not all, Christian people out there have heard this many times, but bear with me here. In today's world, many would find it next to impossible to give a fitting perfect description of what the perfect father would be like because of the limitations of a mortal perspective. But I find it very hard to believe that a Father who loves us perfectly, totally, completely, without a trace of hesitation or reservation no matter what we do, would ever want us to think of Him in any other way.

If the veil were to be taken from us completely, even for a small moment, I think we would, as I read it from the work of a certain Latter Day Saint: "not remember sharing Father... with [our siblings, but] being individually and singularly loved and cherished..." I think we would "remember Father well, His power and majesty, His face, His hands, His form, His touch and tender care... playing with Him, running [our] fingers through the soft hair on His arm, laughing with Him, going to divine destinations, sampling future earthly delights, tasting new things, viewing divine events, watching galaxies and eternities flare into being under His hand."

Here is what I think a scene of that last quote might have been like

(image from christpictures.org) I believe 100% that I got private piano lessons from Him, may have played with the celestial equivalent of legos with Him, learned from Him about earthly technology and how to use it for good.

I think He took a paternal interest in each of our individual personalities and helped us develop and enjoy our different interests and abilities to the extent that we could without physical bodies. I see no flaw in this logic considering that He weeps when we weep, is overjoyed when we experience life's purest happiness and is sad when we stray from Him. Good heavens, He sent our Eldest Brother, Jesus Christ, to willingly, deliberately and lovingly suffer every last ounce of everything unpleasant we would ever experience and set the ultimate example for us so we wouldn't be lost out here in the world;

So we would have something to guide us;

Protect us;

Make a way for us to change and be like Them;

A way for us to never have to worry about the terrifying thought of being alone and purposeless forever; He loved and loves us with a FATHERLY - let me say that even louder, FATHERLY - love that is so untainted, so absolutely personal and intimate with each of us that such a thought is not something He was willing to tolerate.

And the most beautiful part of all of this (to me anyways)? He has shown us how to be like Him and thus how to have this indescribably perfect love with us every second of every day, through His Son, Jesus Christ. This road map, example or whatever else you want to call it, is there 24/7/365 (or 366 on leap years), not being guarded by anyone. Not being protected by a password. It's not padlocked, behind closed doors or even wrapped up in a bright shiny box. It's sitting there in plain sight, in broad daylight, right in the words of the prophets and all we have to do is take it and use it! Right now, all day, every day! It will never not be there!

One of my favorite scriptures is 2 Nephi 26:24-28. Part of this passage says "Behold, doth he cry unto any, saying: Depart from me? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; but he saith: come unto me all ye ends of the earth, buy milk and honey, without money and without price...Hath he commanded any that they should not partake of his salvation? Behold I say unto you, Nay; but he hath given it free for all men..." I can't speak for anyone else, but I can't imagine a perfect Father figure doing things any other way.

Now I'm going to take this one step further. Think of everyone you have ever met. Actually I take that back, because our mortal memories, in most cases, aren't capable of that kind of thing. So how about this instead? Take a few seconds to think of as many people as you can towards whom you have ever had negative feelings.

Here comes the interesting part. Guess what? God, our FATHER, loves them just as much as He loves you. 

Personally.

Perfectly.

Singularly.

Intimately.

Profusely.

Flawlessly.

Without a trace of reservation or hesitation.
No matter what they've done to you or anyone else. He loves them the same.

Wow. That even hurt me to type that. I now feel just a little worse about every bad thought I've ever had about another member of our Father's family. But you know what else? And this helps me feel a lot better all of the sudden. He still loves me and you the exact same way. That hasn't changed, and it never will, whether you like it or not, whether you feel worthy of it or not, whether you think they are worthy of it or not. So I have a challenge for all of us.

The next time you or I feel like being angry, resentful, jealous or any other negative thing toward one of our brothers or sisters (meaning anyone, remember we're thinking on a basis of familial relationships here), lets remember that we have the same Father and it breaks His heart to see so much contention between us all even if it only resides in our minds and hearts, it tears Him apart inside, for lack of better words at the moment, to know that we feel such things about our own family. We all loved each other before this life the same way He still loves us. We have the same spirit in us that we did before this life. That perfect love is still a part of us, even in this life.

Lets find it and then use it.
Lets love ourselves and everyone else, like He does.