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Well, hello there, my dear friends. It has been a while since I’ve been able to contribute to Meridian magazine. Because of amazing blessings from our Father in Heaven and His Son, my work is not yet done. But that’s a story for another time.
Being Guided by the Lord’s hand
I would like to share a few thoughts on the blessings of being guided by the Lord’s hand in our daily life. The scriptures tell us that we should pray over all things. This is vital to having a happier life. It is at the crux of finding joy, and of being of good cheer (counsel offered over and over again by Jesus Christ). I’ve come to better understand the importance and the blessings of focusing in on this counsel. Here are a few ways the Lord’s hand has been, and continues to be manifest in my life, as I’m sure it has in yours:
1. Sometimes the guidance comes through loved ones who have ‘been there, gone through that’, or they have the best, loving counsel because they love us deeply. My mother and father were a lifeline to heavenly guidance when they were upon the earth. Having gone before me in difficulties, experiences, and understanding, they cared to spare me from any hurt or harm they could. So, they gave me advice. Did I always take it? I wish I could say, “YES!” I didn’t always. Most of the time, though, I “heard” them, and I was obedient. In my later years, I celebrate with tears the loving guidance they offered. My personal additional connections to Heavenly help came through them.
Now it comes, sometimes, from the younger generation. It’s surprising and beautiful what our children can remind us, and help us learn!
2. Many times I’ve found strength and guidance through sacred hymns. Some hymns tie me to my growing up years. Family times when everyone on Mom’s side of the family gathered and there were always two things to count on: good food and great music!
My husband and I made a trip back to South Carolina last year to visit with cousins. We absolutely have our “singing” times. Over and over again, those harmonies that brought joy to the heart, to the mind – all those memories colliding with the present food and music we shared, and strength to the spirit.
“We get nearer to the Lord through music than perhaps through any other way except prayer” said President J. Reuben Clark. I certainly can feel that in my soul. I’ve felt it when writing sacred music as well. Sometimes, it has been as if I’ve heard this music before, and it comes directly through the spirit to my mind and heart.
President Ezra T. Benson said, “Inspiring music may fill the soul with heavenly thoughts, move one to righteous action, or speak peace to the soul.”
Music of the Spirit softens our heart and allows us to think more clearly, while it allows us to listen more humbly. The lyrics may lead us to scripture study that opens our eyes to new understanding and renewal of covenants. How beautiful, right?!
3. Our Heavenly Father knows us individually. He loves us. He understands us better than we understand ourselves. He knows when we hurt, when we’re angry, when we’re discouraged, and when we need to step it up a bit in our quest for progression. He hears us when we pray to Him. Once we know that we are never alone – and this can be a hard concept for some to come to grips with – we can accept He is there for us, He will watch over us through trial, send answers to earnest prayers, be a safe place to share our woes, and will lovingly guide us along our life’s path.
I realize that this last paragraph is one you’ve read or
heard, in one way or another, over and over again. There is always room to
better understand the words and their importance. There are always good folks
who need to hear it and feel it for the first time, and there are those who
need the reminder. I suppose all of us
need the reminder, especially when the terrain gets rockier to navigate and the
air seems thinner as we keep pushing upward, to see with more clear eyes and
free ourselves from more of the world’s distractions, or dig in to hold on
during a particularly tough trial.
He is there. He is aware. He provided a Savior in order that we need never, ever carry the burden alone. Which takes us to number four…
4. Jesus Christ, our Savior, has provided The Atonement in order that we may feel, sense, hear, know that loving guidance and comfort is always at-the-ready. Not as we might like, but always there. I share my testimony that Jesus Christ “descended below (us) all.” (D&C 122:8), so that his feelings of love, caring, peace, and righteous guidance could always be readily available for us.
There aren’t enough words of glory, gratitude or explanation to properly express our love for our Savior. But we can do a few things to help Him know. By them, our Father will also know:
a. Be obedient. We can each think of a little story in our life when we ‘listened’ and obeyed. Blessings comes when we obey what is right. It may be months or years or decades later that we see the experience for what it was- an example of seeing the Lord’s hand in our life. It will come! We continue this learning cycle all through mortality.
b. Show gratitude for what we have, instead of focusing on what we don’t have.
While this seems a ‘given’, it may be easier said that done at times. If we’re willing to settle back and make note of the myriad of little, tiny things we can be grateful for, our heart will soften, our mood will lighten, and our desires may shift. A grateful heart is a more optimistic one. Unknowingly, this shift can allow the Lord to work more fully in us, and guide us along.
c. Study the teachings of Jesus Christ. As we come to better know Him, we better know of the things of righteousness. We are better able to tap into the quiet reality that teaches us we are never on our own. The virtues of Godliness become more real, more beautiful, and more obtainable as we work on them. We can better see the hand of the Lord working. We are trained to note the touches of light and the shades of tender caring that are ours. Because we’re more open to the Holy Spirit, we more clearly see all that we’re receiving. Remember that all things are spiritual to the Lord. Some things may not be manifest temporally as of yet, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t being put together for us spiritually.
d. Love people. This is inherently easier for some than others. At least, in a way that another can realize the righteous love you’re about. But the Lord knows our heart. If we keep asking our Father, in prayer, for ways to better love; and ways to show that love; our capacity will grow. As we reach out to be a blessing to more of His children, we’ll see how He is guiding us with His Holy hand to be a better follower of Christ. Worldly scales fall from our eyes, and we become aware of how very closely He is tending us!
A bit of overview
During the course of our life, the hand of the Lord will sometimes be so common place that we don’t even realize He is part of that equation. Not until later, when things are sorted out. Sometimes, when we kneel in heartbroken prayer, asking where He is, and where His protection and guidance are, we will not note that He was with us all along. Because it won’t be realized until later – sometimes, much later- when we see and know that, indeed, He was with us and we were in His tender care.
When all is said and done, it will all be okay. Until then, we can take it day by day. We can work on shaking off this doubt, dusting off that particle of pride, casting away any unbelief, and keep on stepping forward in faith. Our loving God is aware and is guiding us with His Holy hand.