This is the fourth excerpt from Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s new book For Times of Trouble. Here is the first excerpt, and the second, and the third.

Psalm 27:10

When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up.

hollandclick to buy Nothing should be more dependable in a child’s life than a mother and father. Fortunately, most parents are magnificent. Even though it may not always be manifest perfectly, the love a father or mother has for a child is the closest thing to divine love that most will ever know in this world. Parenting is so very important for just that reason: as mothers and fathers we represent-and to the best of our ability are to replicate-the love and strength our heavenly parents have for the children they have loaned us. With heavenly parenthood as a backdrop, mortal parenthood takes on its profound, eternal significance.

Unfortunately there is that rare father or mother who abdicates his or her responsibility, who flees home and hearth either literally or figuratively, forsaking the child who looks to that parent for love. That is a painful and devastating thought, but there is evidence of such abandonment in some elements of societies, including societies that make a mockery of marriage and turn a blind eye to the destruction of the family unit. To any child who experiences such a loss-and no child should have to face it-the Psalmist offers an assurance that will never fail, a love that never grows cold, a parenthood that never walks out the door or out of our life. He offers the love of a heavenly parent.

The love of God toward His children is secure. His parenthood is His most treasured role; of all His titles He most prefers that of “Father.” He will “take [us] up” in His strong arms when no earthly parent is there to do so. He will never forsake us.

For Times of Trouble: Spiritual Solace from the Psalms by Jeffrey R. Holland is available from BYU Bookstore and on Kindle.