With all the turbulence going on in the world it is hard to come to know God. We get caught up in the fear of the evil that is in the world and we wonder if there is something or someone out there who hears us when we are scared, hurt, lonely, or searching for something more.
Does God Exist?
One of the questions you may have had is if God does in fact exist? M. Russell Ballard says,
“In last October’s general conference, I invited listeners to follow Brigham Young’s counsel to stay on the Old Ship Zion, which is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and to hold on with both hands. Since then, I am happy to know that some of my family and others were listening and have asked me this question: “What’s in the Old Ship Zion that we should hang on to?” I reminded them of what President Brigham Young said: “We are on the old ship Zion. … [God] is at the helm and will stay there. … He dictates, guides and directs. If the people will have implicit confidence in their God, never forsake their covenants nor their God, He will guide us right.”
It is comforting to know that “God is at the Helm” and that He will lead us through the difficulties of the world. He sends us tools to help us along in this life. President Henry B. Eyring says,
“We were not sent here completely in the dark. Each of us was given a portion of God’s light, called the “Light of Christ,” to help us distinguish between good and evil, right and wrong. This is why even those who live with little or no knowledge of the Father’s plan can still sense, in their hearts, that certain actions are just and moral while others are not.”
President Henry B. Eyring continues,
“Our sense of right and wrong seems especially keen when we are raising our children. Innate in almost every parent is the desire to teach his or her children moral virtues. This is part of the miracle of Heavenly Father’s plan. He wants His children to come to earth, following the eternal pattern of families that exists in heaven. Families are the basic organizational unit of the eternal realms, and so He intends for them also to be the basic unit on earth. Though earthly families are far from perfect, they give God’s children the best chance to be welcomed to the world with the only love on earth that comes close to what we felt in heaven—parental love. Families are also the best way to preserve and pass on moral virtues and true principles that are most likely to lead us back to God’s presence.”
I believe that this quote is saying that the best way we can come to know or find God is in our families. As we teach our children and give them the tools to know right and wrong, we come closer to God. This is the plan for all of us and it will help us to return back to God’s presence.
Who is God?
It is hard for us to figure out how to know who God is when we haven’t met Him face to face. However, one way to know who God is, is to look at His Son, Jesus Christ, who exemplified His nature when He was ministering on the earth. Jeffrey R. Holland says,
“God in His ultimate effort to have us know Him, sent to earth His Only Begotten and perfect Son, created in His very likeness and image, to live and serve among mortals in the everyday rigors of life.To come to earth with such a responsibility, to stand in place of Elohim—speaking as He would speak, judging and serving, loving and warning, forbearing and forgiving as He would do—this is a duty of such staggering proportions that you and I cannot comprehend such a thing. But in the loyalty and determination that would be characteristic of a divine child, Jesus could comprehend it and He did it. Then, when the praise and honor began to come, He humbly directed all adulation to the Father. “The Father … doeth the works,” He said in earnest. “The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever [the Father] doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise” [John 14:10; John 5:19]. On another occasion, He said: “I speak that which I have seen with my Father” [John 8:38].”
I like to think of a God that loves us so deeply that He provides a way for us to return to Him despite our flaws which lead to human mistakes.
Does God want to help people?
Of course, God wants to help people. We only have to ask for His help because He gives us all our agency so that we can make our own choices. This can be seen in the story of Adam and Eve. Robert D. Hales explains,
“Now we are here on earth, where opportunities to use our agency abound; for here “there is an opposition in all things.” This opposition is essential to the purpose of our lives. As Lehi explained, “Adam and Eve were the first of God’s children to experience these enticements. Having sought the misery of all mankind, Satan, “the father of all lies,” tempted Adam and Eve. Because they chose to partake of the “forbidden fruit they were driven out of the garden of Eden, to till the earth.” Because of that choice, they also “brought forth children; … even the family of all the earth,” and this earthly state “became a state of probation” for them and for their posterity. For “behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things,” Lehi told Jacob. “Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.”
“Sometimes we forget that our Heavenly Father desires that each of us have this joy. Only by yielding to temptation and sin can we be kept from that joy. And yielding is exactly what Satan wants us to do.”
Why do bad things happen?
Bad things happen because everyone on this earth was given agency by God to act and make their own decisions. Robert D. Hales says,
“Now we are here on earth, where opportunities to use our agency abound; for here “there is an opposition in all things.” This opposition is essential to the purpose of our lives. As Lehi explained, “To bring about his eternal purposes in the end of man, … the Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself. Wherefore, man could not act for himself save it should be that he was enticed by the one or the other.”
This is how we learn and grow. The bad things that we go through are to bring us closer to God so that we make the decision to return to Him. He doesn’t force anybody to believe in Him. It is a trial of faith.
Robert D. Hales continues with,
“We have been given agency, we have been given the blessings of the priesthood, and we have been given the Light of Christ and the Holy Ghost for a reason. That reason is our growth and happiness in this world and eternal life in the world to come.”
God exists, how do I find Him?
One of the ways that we can find God is prayer. When I first prayed to Him, to know Him, I was eighteen years old. I had been bullied a lot in high school and I felt alone. I prayed for Him to let me know if He was there and to feel His comfort and love. This was the first time that I felt His love wash through my body. This is how I came to find Him when I was in one of my darkest moments. He will reach out when prayers are said. James E. Faust says,
“Great is the power of prayer. No earthly authority can separate us from direct access to our Creator. There can never be a mechanical or electronic failure when we pray. There is no limit on the number of times or how long we can pray each day. There is no quota of how many needs we wish to pray for in each prayer. We do not need to go through secretaries or make an appointment to reach the throne of grace. He is reachable at any time and any place. When God placed man on the earth, prayer became the lifeline between mankind and God.”
This is the way that we come to find and know God. I have come to Him through prayer many times since that first time that I prayed to Him. It is amazing to feel that depth of love through prayer to God.