Someone once asked me: “Why do I have to do what God wants me to do to be able to feel his love?” My initial reaction was “God does love you! He always loves you!” But that didn’t provide an answer. There was truth to the point my friend was trying to make. It is harder to feel God’s love when I am making decisions based on what I want rather than following what He knows is best for me. Why is it, in all His infinite goodness, He doesn’t always give us exactly what we ask for?
I don’t pretend to know how God thinks or understand why He does what He does, but I do have faith and feel confident He does love each of us. He does not withhold blessings or make life harder for us just because He can. His love for us is always of the utmost importance; even when, in our limited perspective, it may feel it is not the case.
I remember a story of about a little girl and a pearl necklace. A little girl wanted a pearl necklace more than anything. She had her eye on a dollar-store string of pearls. By completing simple chores and saving her birthday money, she finally had enough to make the much-desired purchase. This necklace meant the world to her. She wore them everywhere, and she couldn’t imagine life without them. One night her father came to tuck her in bed and asked if she loved him. Her reply was, “Of course I love you, Daddy!” He then asked for her pearl necklace. Shocked at the request, she offered her favorite toy pony. But her father merely kissed her on the forehead and told her it was okay.
Week after week the father asked his daughter the same question at bedtime. “Do you love me? Then give me your pearls.” By the third week, the daughter was solemnly waiting when Daddy came to tuck her in. Held tightly in her hand was the string of pearls. With a tremble in her chin and a quiver in her voice, she said “Here, Daddy. It’s for you.”
With tears in his eyes he reached for the dime-store necklace with one hand and with the other, he pulled out a blue velvet case with a strand of real pearls. He was just waiting for her to give up her dime-store trinket so he could give her a genuine treasure.
Sometimes Heavenly Father is just waiting for us to give up our cherished dime-store prize, what we think we want and need, for something greater than we can imagine. We hold on to bad habits, selfish pleasures, and unhealthy relationships because we become so attached and it seems unbearable to let them go. The real question is – Do you trust Him? Do you have faith and believe in His love for us?
“Faith means that we trust not only in God’s wisdom but that we trust also in His love. It means trusting that God loves us perfectly, that everything He does—every blessing He gives and every blessing He, for a time, withholds—is for our eternal happiness.” – Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Love is an intangible object. Just because we can’t feel something doesn’t mean that it’s not there. Sometimes it is a matter of learning how to feel in a new way, discovering how adjustments in our lives enable our spirit to recognize His love. The key is to understand how you feel His love and not allow pride or vanity, selfishness or personal agendas to displace our ability. By fully embracing the Atonement of Jesus Christ our spirits become more sensitive.
As we earnestly strive to understand His will and continue to believe and trust in His love for us, we will find our reward. Heavenly Father rewards those who seek Him with a sincere heart. Do not give up! Show Him that you love Him more than anything here on earth. Exercise your faith and walk the path He has chosen for you. It is not always the path of least resistance, but one in which we are promised growth and joy.