- God is our ancestor, not distant but close. He is the Father of our spirits; we are his children. If we are to have the words of the gospel of Jesus Christ touch us, then we must believe in God. We must want to be with him. And we must sense our need to be purified to be with him again. The day will come when we will see him again.
The relationship we can have with God should be very personal to each of us. Although God is not physically here with us, we know how to nurture relationships when people are far from us physically. President Eyring reminds us that our relationships with others is much like the relationship we can have with our Father.
- We need to feel now that God knows us and loves us as individuals. There are times you have felt the closeness of God, your Father, and that you are his child. Those times can come more often. There is a simple way to think about it. If you want to stay close to someone who has been dear to you, but from whom you are separated, you know how to do it. You would find a way to speak to them, you would listen to them, and you would discover ways to do things for each other. The more often that happened, the longer it went on, the deeper would be the bond of affection. If much time passed without the speaking, the listening, and the doing, the bond would weaken.
To listen to the words of God to each of us can be an simple as reading the scriptures.
- Jesus Christ speaks the words of the Father. You can read the scriptures, listen, and then hear God’s answers to you.
The Spirit will help us feel closer to God as we listen to God's authorized servants and read the scriptures. Studying talks by His authorized servants is another way we can feel God's presence in our lives.
- It is the Spirit which will bear record to your heart as you read the scriptures, as you hear the Lord’s authorized servants, and as God speaks directly to your heart.
The Holy Ghost will help us draw closer to God but we have to be able to listen. President Eyring speaks about the quietness of the Spirit and how the best way to listen is to have our lives in order so that we have inner peace. When our lives our in order, when we don't have distractions from sin and unrighteousness, we are able to hear the whispering of the Spirit more easily and feel the presence of God more in our lives.
- I testify it is a small voice. It whispers, not shouts. And so you must be very quiet inside. That is why you may wisely fast when you want to listen. And that is why you will listen best when you feel, “Father, thy will, not mine, be done.” You will have a feeling of “I want what you want.” Then, the still small voice will seem as if it pierces you. It may make your bones to quake. More often it will make your heart burn within you, again softly, but with a burning which will lift and reassure.
God doesn't just tell us what we should do. He wants us to be committed to following Him that takes our personal devotion to accomplish.
- You might prefer that God simply tell you how well you are doing. But he loves you, wants you to be with him, and knows you must have a mighty change in your heart, through faith on the Lord Jesus Christ, humble repentance, and the making and keeping of sacred covenants.
The Lord only wants us to have a repentant heart to feel that closeness we all desire. But never underestimate the need to serve our fellowman. We serve God by serving others.
- God loves his children. They have great needs. Everything belongs to God, so there is not much you can give him, after you have given him a repentant heart. But you can give kindness to his children. If you were my earthly friend, you would win my heart by being kind to my children. God loves his children more than any earthly parent, so think what your kindness to his children means to him.
At times we feel alone. We feel the distance between us and God is too much to handle. We can look at the Savior as our example of enduring and realize that all things we feel have been experienced by Him before.
- Even the Savior of the world, when he was on the cross, felt his Father far from him. You will have moments, perhaps long moments, of feelings of separation. But you know the way to draw closer to God.
President Eyring ends with these words:
- You will still be startled to realize how familiar the face of our Heavenly Father is. But when you see him, you will know his voice, because you will have prayed, listened, obeyed, and come to share the thoughts and intents of his heart. You will have drawn nearer to him.
Loneliness and feeling distant from God is real in our lives. President Eyring reminds us that we don't have to feel this way. We can read the scriptures, listen to talks by His servants, and spend time in prayer to our Father. All these activities will help us draw nearer to God. When we do these things and repent, God comes closer to us and we can feel His presence in our lives more often and stronger. But there are times of loneliness. I am reminded of a talk by Elder Holland where he shares that when God withdrew from Christ when he was on the cross allowed the Savior to know the loneliness and abandonment that we sometime feel in our relationship with God. Christ knows how we feel, he knows our struggles, and throughout all this, he wants to help us come closer to our Father. The example of the Savior overcoming all things is an inspiration to us to never give up and continue to push for more and more of God's influence and presence in our lives.