Father of the Fatherless

When a suffering mother was asked about her hardship, she replied, “Oh, God loves me so much.” Perhaps she said this because she understood that suffering now increases our capacity for joy later. Or perhaps she had discovered and felt God’s love, and the rest paled in comparison. Have you experienced this love?


Video transcript (edited):

Today I have two thoughts. The first starts with a story that someone told me, so I'm relating this second hand. A dear woman in my church shared with me that her mother suffered for many years with physical illness and was in great pain for a long time. She asked her mom, "Why? Why does God let you suffer this way?" Her mom said, "Oh, God loves me so much!”

I've thought about this story a lot. I've wondered, what is it that made the woman respond that way? Why did asking her about her pain lead her to talk about how much God loved her?

One answer is the reason this woman shared her story with me. I read an explanation of hardship in the book, That Ye May Believe, by Elder Neal A. Maxwell. He teaches that one of the reasons we experience so much pain and so many hard things in this life is so that we can appreciate their opposite.

I have experienced this principle many times. For example, as long as my body works perfectly I don’t really think about it; I don't really appreciate it as a gift. But when I’m sick and then when I'm healed, I appreciate and enjoy my body in its proper functioning so much more. Likewise, my mom passed away when I was 25 and the reunion that I'm going to have with my mom is going to be more tender and more dear and the joy of eternal life, -- of knowing my mom and living with her forever and never being separated by death again -- that joy will be greater because of the separation and the pain that I've experienced already. So I do believe that pain and hard things give us capacity for joy.

It’s hard to internalize that principle when I’m suffering but I have tasted its truth.

After I shared this idea in church, this woman shared her story about her mom, and suggested that when her mom said “God loves her” in response to her suffering, it because she understood that her suffering was part of God's loving, tender, gentle, wonderful plan for her.

I like this idea. And, I had another thought, today as I was reading.

I was reading a talk by a leader of my church from the most recent April 2018 General Conference. General Conference a meeting of every every congregation in our entire church. The leaders of our church speak and teach about Jesus Christ and
God’s plan for us. The talk I read is, "Am I a Child of God?” The author writes,

"I love the God of my fathers, the Lord God Almighty who weeps with us in our sorrows, patiently chastens our unrighteousness, and rejoices when we seek to give away all our sins to know Him. I worship Him who is ever a father of the fatherless and a companion to the companionless."

What hit me so strongly today is that last part, "a father of the fatherless and a companion of the companionless." I feel lonely so often. I’m always surprised by how often and how deeply I feel loneliness. Yet, in the last year I have been able to pray and be filled. When God talks to me and when He gives me His love and when I feel His love for me, it fills up that loneliness so that I feel strong, bright, and ready to face the world.

So today I thought that another reason this woman’s mother may have said, "Oh, God loves me so much," is because even in those hard times, when she’s suffering she can turn to God and He can fill that void with His love. He can perform His role, as the father of the fatherless, the companion of the companionless. Pain can become precious when we fill it with His love

So that's my testimony too. One, that hard things are for our good, and two, that even in the midst of hard things God can be right there with us walking by our side, supporting us and sustaining us. Knowing His love, tasting it, and experiencing that connection to God is so amazing, I think it's the most joy I've ever felt in life. Maybe this mother had experienced God’s love, and she “felt to sing the song of redeeming love” even while she suffered.

So my question for you is, do you know God? Do you experience this joy? Do you turn to Him and have you felt Him fill your voids with His light and love?

That's all.

Keep shining!


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