As winter nears its end, I look forward to the coming of spring. Buds appear on trees; plants start pushing their way through the soil reaching upwards to the sky. The grass begins to green. It is the time to prepare the garden and plant seeds.
My wife Janet and I purchase flowers to plant in containers around the house to bring color to the yard. We have over 60 containers. They require a great deal of work to plant and maintain, but it brings us joy to see the beautiful flowers in bloom. In the warmer weather, varieties of birds add their voice to the sounds of spring.
Right behind our swing we have a lilac bush. I patiently wait for its delicate coloured blossoms to bloom and to breathe in their intoxicating aroma. As we prepare the yard through spring, colors begin to explode, and vegetables are appearing in the garden.
When I have an opportunity to sit on the swing and look at all that is happening, I am reminded of the Primary song; “My Heavenly Father Loves Me,” Children’s Songbook, 228-229).
Our Heavenly Father does love us! We willingly came to earth, to be part of families, to have joy, to experience challenges that make us stronger, to find the true gospel. I know Heavenly Father loves us because He sent His Only Begotten Son to this world to teach us and to be always for us.
Jesus Christ Is the Only Way
One of the key ideas in the Come, Follow Me ideas for personal study for the week of June 3-9, 2019 is the “The Holy Ghost helps me fulfill my purpose as a disciple of Jesus Christ.” On the final evening of His mortal ministry, after the Last Supper was concluded, the Savior gave instruction to His disciples, as recorded in John 14-16. The Savior taught His disciples truths that would prepare them for His arrest and Crucifixion, as well as for their roles as leaders in His kingdom. The Savior’s teachings about what the Holy Ghost can do for us are among the clearest instructions on the Holy Ghost in all scripture.
Jesus told His disciples, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). He did not say that He knew the way, but that He was the way, the truth, and the life. Coming to the Father means we must do more than learn about Jesus Christ—we must follow Him and try to be like Him.
Elder Lawrence E. Corbridge of the Seventy exhorted us to follow Jesus Christ as “the Way”: “There is only one way to happiness and fulfillment. He is the Way. … We can either follow the Lord and be endowed with His power and have peace, light, strength, knowledge, confidence, love, and joy, or we can go … it alone—without His support, without His power, without guidance, in darkness, turmoil, doubt, grief, and despair. And I ask, which way is easier? … There is only one way to happiness and fulfillment. Jesus Christ is the Way” (“The Way,” Ensign, Nov. 2008).
The Holy Ghost Is Our Comforter and Guide
While the Savior repeatedly told His disciples during the evening before His death that He would be going away from them for a time, He also reassured them that He was not abandoning them. He told them, “I will not leave you comfortless” (John 14:18).
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland taught about the various ways the Lord provides comfort and companionship for His disciples as they journey through mortality: “Because Jesus walked such a long, lonely path utterly alone, we do not have to do so. His solitary journey brought great company for our little version of that path—the merciful care of our Father in Heaven, the unfailing companionship of this Beloved Son, the consummate gift of the Holy Ghost, angels in heaven, family members on both sides of the veil, prophets and apostles, teachers, leaders, friends. All of these and more have been given as companions for our mortal journey because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the Restoration of His gospel. Trumpeted from the summit of Calvary is the truth that we will never be left alone nor unaided, even if sometimes we may feel that we are. Truly the Redeemer of us all said: ‘I will not leave you comfortless: My Father and I will come to you and abide with you’ (John 14:18)” (“None Were With Him”, Ensign May 2009)
God Is with Us When We Are Called and Released
I have a testimony of the Father being there for me. I was called to serve as a bishop in 2009. After hands were laid upon me to set me apart, I felt great love for the members of the ward. After a brief meeting with the former bishop, I was alone in the office contemplating what had just happened. The weight of the office was sinking in, and I was wondering how I could do this. I have never been a bishop before. I knelt in prayer and asked my Father in Heaven for help and guidance. After my prayer I felt an overwhelming calm and peace to my soul. I heard him whisper to me, “Son I am there with you.” As I served with faithful priesthood holders in the bishopric, we had many amazing experiences by listening to the promptings of the Holy Ghost.
After I was released, I felt somewhat lost for a time. You go from the racetrack to a park bench. It was challenging. I called upon two loving priesthood brethren to administer to me. When they laid their hands upon me, the first words to be given to me were, “Heavenly Father loves you.” Upon hearing those four words, an uncontrolled flood of emotions enveloped me. At that very moment I knew The Father and The Son were by my side. Peace came to my soul, again. The Father whispered, “Son, I am with you.” It is an experience I will never forget.
Jesus Is Our Friend
As the time of the Savior’s suffering and death drew near, He told His beloved disciples that they were His friends. He went on to explain that His friends are those who “do whatsoever I command you” (John 15:14).
President Gordon B. Hinckley spoke of the Savior’s sacrifice for us as the ultimate act of friendship: “Jesus is my friend. None other has given me so much. ‘Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends’ (John 15:13). He gave His life for me. He opened the way to eternal life. Only a God could do this. I hope that I am deemed worthy of being a friend to Him” (“My Testimony,” Ensign, May 2000).
Jesus is our friend and Savior. Our Heavenly Father loves us. I am glad that I live in this beautiful world, and “Yes, I know Heav’nly Father loves me” (“My Heavenly Father Loves Me, Children’s Songbook, 228-229).