This week has been pretty amazing and I learned a lot. I got to go on a couple of exchanges with different elders and while I was on one we met with an interesting guy named Michael. He grew up Catholic, but he is currently Atheist. Most people here are Christians, so the Atheists are usually pretty intelligent as far as religion goes and they have reasons why they're Atheist. Well this guy has read the Bible, The Book of Mormon, and The Doctrine and Covenants, yet he is still very lost and has no idea if God exists. A lot of interesting things happened during the lesson, but he asked one question that has made me ponder a lot over the past few days. He asked, "Do you know God?"
John 17:3 - And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
That scripture came to mind as he asked that and I don't remember what I said perfectly, but I've had a lot of thoughts over the past few days. 1) I know there is a God. 2) I know that he knows me. 3) I know that I can talk to him. 4) He has answered me back. 5) I know he loves me. 6) I know His children.
My conclusion is that I know God better than I did a year ago or a day ago or ten years ago. We had a long period of time before this life to intellectually understand the gospel, but we came here to experience opposition and both the enabling and redeeming power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. My experiences on this Earth have brought me to know God, but the future experiences I will have will help me to know Him much more. That question has really driven me to know my Father in Heaven more. Jesus Christ gave us the perfect example of the relationship we should have with our Heavenly Father; therefore we follow Jesus Christ.
One quick spiritual experience from the week...
We were in the home of a less active member discussing the gospel. To put it simply, he has gotten the short end of the stick in life. At one point he joined the Church and was a strong member, but life's circumstances have made it hard to believe in God. He felt hopeless of the future. We recognized that his past held him back from grasping the joy of the present and future, so we gave the analogy of him driving in a car with a little rear view mirror to remember the past and large windows to see the present and future. He acknowledged that he did need to let go of some of the things from the past, but his present was still very captive from things of the past. Those words stung and I looked at that man just wishing that somehow through the grace of God he wouldn't have to go through those things or that maybe in some way I could go through them instead. I looked around and could tell that my companion and the member with us were feeling similar feelings. Through the spirit we were given the opportunity to feel a small portion of what our Savior feels. We proceeded to testify of the love of our Savior and he committed to read his patriarchal blessing and to look for hope.
Matthew 11:28-30 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Despite life's challenges we are never alone. Each of you have helped me to feel the love of Jesus Christ. Thank you. HFF!