Once, when I was very young, I briefly thought about running away from home. In a little-boy way, I felt no one loved me.
My observant mother listened and assured me. I was safely home.
Have you ever felt like you are running from home? Often, running from home means trust has been frayed or broken—trust with ourselves, with each other, with God. When trust is challenged, we wonder how to trust again.
My message today is, whether we are coming home or going home, God is coming to meet us.1 In Him we can find faith and courage, wisdom and discernment to trust again. Likewise, He asks us to keep the light on for each other, to be more forgiving and less judgmental of ourselves and each other, so His Church can be a place where we feel at home, whether we are coming for the first time or returning.
Trust is an act of faith. God keeps faith with us. Yet, human trust can be undermined or broken when:
A friend, business associate, or someone we trust isn’t truthful, hurts us, or takes advantage of us.2
A marriage partner is unfaithful.
Perhaps unexpectedly, someone we love confronts death, injury, or illness.
We face an unanticipated gospel question, perhaps something regarding Church history or Church policy, and someone says our church somehow hid or did not tell the truth.
Other situations may be less specific but of equal concern.
Perhaps we don’t see ourselves in the Church, don’t feel we fit, feel judged by others.
Or, though we have done everything expected, things have yet to work out. Despite our personal experiences with the Holy Ghost, we may not yet feel we know God lives or the gospel is true.
Many today feel a great need to restore trust in human relationships and modern society.3
As we reflect on trust, we know God is a God of truth and “canst not lie.”4 We know truth is a knowledge of things as they are, were, and are to come.5 We know continuing revelation and inspiration fit unchanging truth to changing circumstances.
We know broken covenants break hearts. “I did stupid things,” he says. “Can you ever forgive me?” The husband and wife may hold hands, hoping to trust again. In a different setting, a prison inmate reflects, “If I had kept the Word of Wisdom, I would not be here today.”
We know that joy on the Lord’s covenant path and callings to serve in His Church are an invitation to feel God’s trust and love for us and each other. Church members, including single adults, regularly serve across the Church and in our communities.
By inspiration, a bishopric calls a young couple to serve in the ward nursery. At first, the husband sits in the corner, detached and distant. Gradually, he begins smiling with the children. Later, the couple expresses gratitude. Earlier, they say, the wife wanted children; the husband did not. Now, serving has changed and united them. It has also brought the joy of children into their marriage and home.
In another city, a young mother with little children and her husband are surprised and overwhelmed but accept when she is called to serve as ward Relief Society president. Shortly thereafter, ice storms cut electric power, leaving store shelves empty and homes as cold as iceboxes. Because they have power and heat, this young family generously opens their home to several families and individuals to weather the storm.
Trust becomes real when we do hard things with faith. Service and sacrifice increase capacity and refine hearts. Trust in God and each other brings heaven’s blessings.
After surviving cancer, a faithful brother is hit by a car. Instead of feeling sorry for himself, he prayerfully asks, “What can I learn from this experience?” In his intensive care unit, he feels prompted to notice a nurse worried for her husband and children. A patient in pain finds answers as he trusts God and reaches out to others.
As a brother with pornography concerns waits outside his stake president’s office, the stake president prays to know how to help. A clear impression comes: “Open the door and let the brother in.” With faith and trust God will help, the priesthood leader opens the door and embraces the brother. Each feels transforming love and trust for God and each other. Fortified, the brother can begin to repent and change.
While our individual circumstances are personal, gospel principles and the Holy Ghost can help us know if, how, and when to trust in others again. When trust is broken or betrayed, disappointment and disillusionment are real; so is the need for discernment to know when faith and courage are merited to trust again in human relations.
Yet, with respect to God and personal revelation, President Russell M. Nelson assures, “You do not have to wonder whom you can safely trust.”6 We can always trust God. The Lord knows us better and loves us more than we know or love ourselves. His infinite love and perfect knowledge of past, present, and future make His covenants and promises constant and sure.
Trust what the scriptures call “in process of time.”7 With God’s blessing, process of time, and continuing faith and obedience, we can find resolution and peace.
The Lord comforts:
“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”8
“Cast your burdens [upon] the Lord and trust his constant care.”9
“Earth has no sorrow that heav’n cannot heal.”10
Trust God11 and His miracles. We and our relationships can change. Through the Atonement of Christ the Lord, we can put off our selfish natural self and become a child of God, meek, humble,12 full of faith and appropriate trust. When we repent, when we confess and forsake our sins, the Lord says He remembers them no more.13 It is not that He forgets; rather, in a remarkable way, it seems He chooses not to remember them, nor need we.
Sometimes when our hearts are most broken and contrite, we are most open to the comfort and guidance of the Holy Ghost.16 Condemnation and forgiveness both begin by recognizing a wrong. Often condemnation focuses on the past. Forgiveness looks liberatingly to the future. “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”17
The Apostle Paul asks, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” He answers, “Neither death, nor life, … nor height, nor depth … shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”18 Yet, there is someone who can separate us from God and Jesus Christ—and that someone is us, ourselves. As Isaiah says, “Your sins have hid his face from you.”19
By divine love and divine law, we are responsible for our choices and their consequences. But our Savior’s atoning love is “infinite and eternal.”20 When we are ready to come home, even when we are “yet a great way off,”21 God is ready with great compassion to welcome us, joyfully offering the best He has.22
President J. Reuben Clark said, “I believe that our Heavenly Father wants to save every one of his children, … that in his justice and mercy he will give us the maximum reward for our acts, give us all that he can give, and in the reverse, I believe that he will impose upon us the minimum penalty which it is possible for him to impose.”23
On the cross, even our Savior’s merciful plea to His Father was not an unconditional “Father, forgive them” but rather “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.”24 Our agency and freedom have meaning because we are accountable before God and ourselves for who we are, for what we know and do. Thankfully, we can trust God’s perfect justice and perfect mercy to judge perfectly our intents and actions.
We conclude as we began—with God’s compassion as we each come home to Him and each other.
Do you remember Jesus Christ’s parable about a certain man who had two sons?25 One son left home and wasted his inheritance. When he came to himself, this son sought to come home. The other son, feeling he had kept the commandments “lo, these many years,”26 did not want to welcome his brother home.
Brothers and sisters, would you please consider Jesus is asking us to open our hearts, our understanding, compassion, and humility, and to see ourselves in both roles?
Like the first son or daughter, we may wander and later seek to return home. God waits to welcome us.
And like the other son or daughter, we are gently entreated by God to rejoice together as we each come home to Him. He invites us to make our congregations, quorums, classes, and activities open, authentic, safe—home for each other. With kindness, understanding, and mutual respect, we each humbly seek the Lord and pray and welcome His restored gospel blessings for all.
Our life journeys are individual, but we can come again to God our Father and His Beloved Son through trust in God, each other, and ourselves.27 Jesus beckons, “Be not afraid, only believe.”28 As did the Prophet Joseph, undaunted may we trust in our Heavenly Father’s care.29 Dear brother, dear sister, dear friend, please look again for faith and trust—a miracle He promises you today. In the sacred and holy name of Jesus Christ, amen.