Remembering God's kindness
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When his children were very small, President Henry B. Eyring started keeping a journal recording the hand of God blessing his family. He wrote down a few lines every day for years and something began to happen.
"As I would cast my mind over the day, I would see evidence of what God had done for one of us that I had not recognized in the busy moments of the day. As that happened, and it happened often, I realized that trying to remember had allowed God to show me what He had done."
Speaking during the Sunday morning session of general conference the day after he was sustained as second counselor of the Church's First Presidency, President Eyring said more than gratitude began to grow in his heart.
"Testimony grew," he said. "I became ever more certain that our Heavenly Father hears and answers prayers. I felt more gratitude for the softening and refining that comes because of the Atonement of the Savior Jesus Christ. And I grew more confident that the Holy Ghost can bring all things to our remembrance even things we did not notice or pay attention to when they happened."
Recounting the blessings that came from the journal, President Eyring urged Church members to find ways to recognize and remember God's kindness.
"It will build our testimonies," he said. "You may not keep a journal. You may not share whatever record you keep with those you love and serve. But you and they will be blessed as you remember what the Lord has done."
Remembering, President Eyring said, will not be easy. "Living as we do with a veil over our eyes, we cannot remember what it was like to be with our Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, in the premortal world; nor can we with our physical eyes or with reason alone see the hand of God in our lives. Seeing such things takes the Holy Ghost. And it is not easy to be worthy of the Holy Ghost's companionship in a wicked world."
That, he said, is why forgetting God has been such a persistent problem among His children since the world began. And, he added, the challenge to remember has always been hardest for those who are blessed abundantly.
"Those who are faithful to God are protected and prospered. That comes as the result of serving God and keeping His commandments. But with those blessings comes the temptation to forget their source. It is easy to begin to feel the blessings were granted not by a loving God on whom we depend but by our own powers."
President Eyring said, sadly, prosperity is not the only reason people forget God.
"It can also be hard to remember Him when our lives go badly. When we struggle in grinding poverty, or when our enemies prevail against us, or when sickness is not healed, the enemy of our souls can send his evil message that there is no God or that if He exists He does not care about us. Then it can be hard for the Holy Ghost to bring to our remembrance the lifetime of blessings the Lord has given us from our infancy and in the midst of our distress."
There is a simple cure for the terrible malady of forgetting God, His blessings, and His messages, President Eyring said. "Jesus Christ promised it to His disciples when He was about to be crucified, resurrected, and then taken away from them to ascend in glory to His Father. They were concerned to know how they would be able to endure when He was no longer with them.
"Here is the promise. It was fulfilled for them then. It can be fulfilled for all of us now: ' But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you."' (John 14:26).
The key to remembering, President Eyring said, is receiving the Holy Ghost as a companion. "It is the Holy Ghost Who helps us see what God has done for us. It is the Holy Ghost Who can help those we serve to see what God has done for them."
President Eyring said God has given a simple pattern for Church members to receive the Holy Ghost. The pattern is repeated in the sacramental prayer. "We promise that we will always remember the Savior. We promise to take His name upon us. We promise to keep His commandments. And we are promised that we will have His Spirit to be with us. Those promises work together in a wonderful way to strengthen our testimonies and in time, through the Atonement, to change our natures as we keep our part of the promise."
President Eyring said it is the Holy Ghost who testifies that Jesus Christ is the "Beloved Son of a Heavenly Father Who loves us and wants us to have eternal life."
"With even the beginning of that testimony, we feel a desire to serve Him and to keep His commandments. When we persist in doing that, we receive the gifts of the Holy Ghost to give us power in our service. We come to see the hand of God more clearly, so clearly that in time we not only remember Him but we come to love Him and, through the power of the Atonement, become more like Him."