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Comer: We can see God’s love for us if we are willing to look

Commentary

By Ryan Comer - | Jul 28, 2023

Photo supplied

Ryan Comer

Several years ago, I, my wife and our oldest son, then just 4 months old, were on our way back to Utah from Washington state. Following a brief stop in Burley, Idaho, we continued on for the final stretch of the trip. After driving about 35 miles, I randomly glanced at the fuel gauge and noticed that it was getting perilously close to empty. I had realized the need to fill up the tank prior to arriving in Burley and had planned on doing so there, but between getting something to eat and feeding our son, I had forgotten. Now, I was in a predicament. Did I have enough fuel to reach Tremonton, the next city I knew would have a gas station? That was about 75 miles away. Perhaps there was a gas station in Snowville, which was about 40 miles away, but would I even have enough fuel to reach there? And what if Snowville didn't have a gas station? Not being familiar enough with the city, I wasn't certain.

Thus, the only option in my mind was to turn the vehicle around and make the agonizing drive back to Burley. As it turned out, I didn't have to drive all the way back. About 5 miles from Burley, there was a gas station and I stopped there. Upon pulling into the gas station, I looked again at the fuel gauge and noticed an indicator that signaled I could have run out of gas at literally any moment.

As frustrating as it was to have to drive 30 miles in the wrong direction in the dark of the night near the end of an already long trip, a comforting thought came into my mind in the midst of the situation: Thank goodness I noticed the fuel gauge when I did. Had I driven even just another 5 miles (if even that), I very likely would have driven past the point where I could have safely returned to a fuel station. And based on how much fuel I had when I made it back to the gas station near Burley, I realized I likely would not have had enough gas to even reach Snowville, assuming there was a gas station there.

Seemingly almost instantly, I was able to recognize this as a miracle from God. How grateful I was that he helped me notice the fuel gauge before it became too late.

But, the skeptic might ask, if God does exist and he does care about helping you, why did he allow you to leave Burley, much less get so far away, in the first place? Seems like all it did was cause you a lot of stress and lost time. Why didn't he just allow you to remember when you were in Burley? The answer to this is obvious to me. Because then I would not have been able to recognize his goodness and mercy. I would have simply filled up the tank, just as I filled up the tank on many other occasions throughout the trip, and thought nothing more of it. I believe that God wanted me to be able to recognize his goodness and love for me, and that was accomplished best by the situation playing out as it did.

As I reflect on this situation and the confirmation of God's love for me that it provided, I realize that uncounted numbers of people could share experiences that testify to them that God loves them. In fact, I think anyone who desired could realize, without having to think too hard, many times in their lives how God was good to them.

I can't help but think of the Book of Mormon prophet Nephi's response when he was asked, "Knowest thou the condescension of God?" (1 Nephi 11:16)

He responded, "I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things." (1 Nephi 11:17)

I can't help but think of the Lord's response to Moses after being asked to tell him "concerning this earth, and the inhabitants thereof, and also the heavens..." (Moses 1:36)

"And the Lord God spake unto Moses, saying: The heavens, they are many, and they cannot be numbered unto man; but they are numbered unto me, for they are mine.

"And as one earth shall pass away, and the heavens thereof even so shall another come; and there is no end to my works, neither to my words.

"For behold, this is my work and my glory--to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." (Moses 1:37-39).

As unfathomable an idea as it sounds, we are all numbered to God and he knows each of us individually as well as what is best for us. And because of his perfect love for us, his entire purpose is to help us achieve immortality and eternal life. I know this.

Certainly, the Ethiopian man whose story was told in Acts 8 must have known it as well. He was just sitting in his chariot reading the words of Isaiah, completely unaware of how the Lord was in the process of sending someone to teach him and completely change his life.

The Spirit told Philip to go to the chariot, and Philip went. Philip asked the man if he understood what he read, to which the man asked how could he unless someone guided him. (A thought I'm sure most of us have when trying to understand Isaiah). He asked Philip to sit next to him. The man was reading the passages found in Isaiah 53:7-8 and asked if they were referring to Isaiah or some other man. Philip taught the man that Jesus Christ fulfilled the prophesy of Isaiah that he was reading, which led the man to declare Jesus was the Son of God and request baptism. Philip proceeded to baptize him.

"And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing." (Acts 8:39).

If you asked this Ethiopian man if God loved him, what do you think his answer would be? I think it would be an unequivocal, emphatic and joyful "Yes!"

Genesis 1:27 says, "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them."

Could God create us in his own image and then not love us and bless us? I think of my own children. I have no ability to understand how I could not love them and want them to be blessed.

A little while ago my youngest son came to me and said that he wanted a game for his Nintendo Switch. It was an expensive game, so I told him I didn't think he should have it at the moment, but that it would be a good idea for Christmas. Of course, five months is an eternity to a 7 year old, so immediately I could see the tears start welling up in his eyes. I then made an attempt at a compromise. I told him if he could do certain things, he could receive the game a lot sooner than Christmas. I could see his countenance cheer up and he agreed. After he went to bed, I went to the store and purchased the game. I proceeded to give it to him the next morning. I don't always give him what he wants, but this time I felt I had to.

Is that not the way God is with all of us? He loves us, more perfectly than we love our own children, and wants to bless us. He does bless us. Indeed, right after God created man, the scriptures say, "And God blessed them." (Genesis 1:28)

It's easy to forget that God loves us. As busy as our lives get, and as filled with challenges and trials as our lives are, it can be easy to think that we are insignificant, that if there is a God, he certainly doesn't love us. But I can say with surety that he does. I've experienced too much, read too much, heard too much to think otherwise. I hope we can all look for those instances in our lives where we can see his love for us. They are there if we are willing to look.

Contact Ryan Comer at rcomer@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter at @rbcomer8388 and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/rbcomer8388.

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