I have a few questions to ask you and I want you to think about them for a minute:
Do you know you are loved? Do you really know? How do you know you are loved?
These are questions that many people face in their life and I would like to answer them.
It is hard to know you are loved if you live alone. It is hard to know you are loved when you move to a new area. It is hard to know you are loved when you have trials and tribulations in your life.
1. Living alone: It is difficult to have the feedback of another human being when you live by yourself. I sometimes think about Moroni (from The Book of Mormon) after he took the plates and hid from the Lamanites. He knew his mission in life and continued to write on the plates. Moroni chapter 1: 1-4 -- chapter 7: 1-2
He could write these things because he knew he was loved by his Heavenly Father and his Savior Jesus Christ otherwise I don’t’ think he would have been able to write.
I found a story that illustrates this idea in the Ensign this month under the question and answer section.
I know if we know that we are loved then our actions turn to others to serve them. We feel good about what we are doing in our life and we can be happy.
2. Moving to a new area: This is a difficult situation for those who have to move to an area where you are unknown to others. No one knows your dislikes or your likes. No one knows what your past history was and what your strengths are now. True---many people who move have their families with them and that does help but finding extended friends and family in a new place is difficult. I think of Nephi and his family who had to leave everything they knew and live in the wilderness. Of course they didn’t have any new neighbors to meet and all they had were themselves but it was a difficult situation to be in. Nephi knew he was loved by his parents and His Savior. From 2 Nephi 9:40-41:
40 O, my beloved brethren, give ear to my words. Remember the greatness of the Holy One of Israel. Do not say that I have spoken hard things against you; for if ye do, ye will revile against the truth; for I have spoken the words of your Maker. I know that the words of truth are hard against all uncleanness; but the righteous fear them not, for they love the truth and are not shaken.
41 O then, my beloved brethren, come unto the Lord, the Holy One. Remember that his paths are righteous. Behold, the way for man is narrow, but it lieth in a straight course before him, and the keeper of the gate is the Holy One of Israel; and he employeth no servant there; and there is none other way save it be by the gate; for he cannot be deceived, for the Lord God is his name.
Nephi could testify of the truthfulness to his family because he had that strength of knowing he was loved by his Heavenly Father. He could teach with power and the Spirit because he had the confidence of knowing he was loved.
President Ezra Taft Benson’s Talk give great guidance: Seek the Spirit of theLord April 1988 Ensign
And I believe that we will also feel the love from our Heavenly Father. When we feel the Spirit-- when we know that the Holy Ghost is speaking to us ----we are loved.
3. Tribulations in your life: This situation is the most difficult of all to know that you are really loved-- Not only by your family here but by a loving Heavenly Father and the Savior Jesus Christ. When everything is not going well in your life and you are feeling the burden of tribulations it is especially hard to remember that you are loved. You have to face tough decisions and having that knowledge that you are loved by those around you helps immensely. These trials are actually for your benefit and help you to be a better person. If it helps to know that it’s not what happens to you but its how you handle what happens to you that give you a different perspective. If you know that you are loved then those trials are not so difficult
We have all heard the many great examples in the scriptures of those having tribulations in their lives; who acted accordingly because they knew they were loved: Job, Nephi, Joseph Smith and even Jesus Christ. Along with scripture examples--- we can all think of those people we know personally who go on in life when life gets tough.
Butch (my deceased husband) has the most amazing cousin ever. Her name is Darthel Pike—She raised 9 children and now has about 100 grandchildren---her husband’s on dialysis and for a while taught the gospel to people in prison. She is the busiest woman in the world and she still finds the time to write to me. She is a great example to me on someone who knows she is loved and helps everyone else around her. Not only does she write me but she includes copies of little words of wisdom and inspirational messages in her letters. During one of my times of discouragement, I read one of those inspirational messages and I would like to read it to you now:
The troubles that beset you, along life’s winding road. Are sent to make you stronger, to share another load. We cannot share a sorrow, if we haven’t grieved a while, nor can we feel another joy until we’ve learned to smile. Sweet mystery of music, great masters and their art, how well we understand them, when we’ve known a broken heart! Let tyrants lust for power, Sophisticates be wise, Just let me see the world, dear God, through understanding eyes. By Nick Kenny
As a single woman in the Gospel for the past two years---I have noticed one overwhelming attribute of many singles over 30 in the church----and that is that they do not know that they are loved. They do not know that they are loved by a Heavenly Father. This has a profound affect on how they live their lives. You are all loved and if you don’t know it or feel it then you need to pray to feel that love in your life. It will have a profound affect on you and the decisions you make.
So back to my original question---How do you know that you are loved? You feel at peace. You are motivated to do the Lord’s work. You do service for others and are happy about it. You can write about the truthfulness of the Gospel and bare a true testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ. You don’t feel self-pity but are confident that you are doing what is right in your life. You feel the Spirit and the Holy Ghost can teach you.
When I first received the invitation to speak on love---I thought this was a very broad subject but the Spirit told me very specifically what to talk about and I hope the words I have spoken this morning will help you in some way.