What is God’s plan for His children? What is His purpose in sending us to Earth, through the veil? To sum it up succinctly, Lehi states that, “Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy” (2 Nephi 2:25). God wants His children to be happy. We are here to learn to have lasting happiness, which happiness comes through obedience to God’s commandments.
Some wonder why, then, God allows His children to suffer. Many ask, “If God were real,” or “If God cared, why would He put me through this?” The thought of a loving Father who allows His children to struggle with pain and suffering, whether by our own choices or circumstances, seems, at first, counterintuitive if we believe 1 John 4:8, “God is love.”
I have a toddler, and he is infinitely curious. Just the other day, he learned how to open and shut the top drawer in the kitchen. As many times as I tell him not to, he goes back and does it again. Even if I physically remove him from the situation, he finds his way back to the drawer again. Yesterday, when playing this fun game, he shut his fingers in the drawer. His poor little fingers were stuck in the drawer and he was both scared and in pain. I, like any parent would, came to his aid, opened the drawer to unstick his fingers, and held him until he felt better.
How many times does God do this for us? How many times does He warn us of both trial and sin? How many times does He try to teach us to avoid these situations or to prepare for them? And how many times does He come to us when we need Him, offering what help and comfort we allow Him to give? In 3 Nephi 10: 4-5, Jesus tells the people of the Americas:
“How oft have I gathered you as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and have nourished you. And again, how oft would I have gathered you as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings.”
Orson Pratt Huish, the author of this song, pens a profound plea to the reader:
Come unto Jesus
… He’ll ever heed you
…He’ll surely hear you
…He’ll safely guide you
…Ever he calls, “Come to me.”
If we but ask, our Savior will be there to pick us up and to guide us to “brightest mansions above.” As many times as He asks for us to follow, He will gather us up at least that many times. Just like the situation with my toddler, He offers us guidance and instruction to keep us safe. And, just like the situation with my toddler, He offers us rescue and comfort when we fail. Huish’s words remind us that God is in control, regardless of our situation. As Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles stated:
“Trust in God. Hold on in His love. Know that one day the dawn will break brightly and all shadows of mortality will flee. Though we may feel we are ‘like a broken vessel,’ as the Psalmist says, we must remember, that vessel is in the hands of the divine potter.”
2 Nephi 26:33 states, “For none of these iniquities come of the Lord; for he doeth that which is good among the children of men; and he doeth nothing save it be plain unto the children of men; and he inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile.”
Do we actively come unto Jesus when we are oppressed, either by our circumstances or our choices? Do we seek His rest? Do we search for the power of the atonement, or the power to allow us to have that joy that God so desperately wants us to have? No matter the situation, no matter how dark the moment or how dim our hope may be, His love will find you and gently lead you/ From darkest night into day.