“He Is Nearby and Ready to Help,” New Era, May 1982, 4
No one should even let the thought enter his mind that he is alone. We have too much evidence to show otherwise. We, as literal sons and daughters of a living God, have every right to know that our Father loves us and is always available and willing to help. In this respect, we must realize that he is able to see further ahead and, recognizing our real needs better than we do, provide help according to his own wisdom. Our trust in him is most essential.
In modern revelation to his prophet Joseph Smith, the Lord gave this comforting invitation: “Call upon me while I am near—Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (D&C 88:62–63).
When I was presiding over a mission in Central America, we received an elder who had the following beautiful experience, which illustrates the nearness of the Lord and his willingness to help in our moment of need. This elder was a little older than the usual 19-year-old missionary. He was a convert to the Church, had been released from the military service, and had subsequently prepared for a mission. He received his call and entered the Missionary Home in Salt Lake City. While there he said to himself, “Now I had a testimony, but where is it? If I am going to spend my own money on a mission, then I must know if Joseph Smith was, in fact, a true prophet of God.”
That night he knelt in his room and lifted his thoughts to his Father concerning the Prophet Joseph Smith. To his disappointment, he received no confirming experience and proceeded the next day to his meetings. It was the day when a General Authority was to speak to them. Not feeling much interest, he sat at the back, behind the other 305 missionaries who were present. When President N. Eldon Tanner walked in the room, the elder thought to himself, “Well, he looks like any other well-dressed businessman of the day, not necessarily like a prophet.”
As President Tanner began his talk, the elder, still feeling his disappointment, had little desire to pay attention to him. But as the minutes went on, he began to listen more intently. All at once President Tanner requested, “Would all missionaries who are 24 years old please stand up?” Now, how many missionaries of that age do you suppose were present? Just one: this elder. President Tanner asked him to come up to the front, which he reluctantly did.
As he approached President Tanner, he received the testimony he had asked for the night before of the divine calling of the Prophet of God. President Tanner then asked the elder if he would bear his testimony regarding the divine nature of the calling of Joseph the Prophet. He bore his testimony, declaring that he knew that Joseph was divinely called and was in truth a prophet.
There is a living God who loves us and is constantly nearby and available. Doubt need not be part of our lives. The reality of God’s influence is felt by all Church members who comply with divine laws. It can also be tangibly felt by nonmembers, when it is his will. This is evidenced by the following experience in the São Paulo Temple.
The temple was opened to the public during the month of September 1978 before being closed in preparation for the dedication. Among the many visitors who felt the influence of this special temple was a certain nonmember newspaper reporter.
During the tour he eventually arrived at the door of the celestial room. Those few people who were accompanying him saw him abruptly stop and bow his head. He remained in that position for some time, with his eyes closed and head bowed. Then he slowly moved his head from side to side and at the same time opened his eyes, as if to inquire by this gesture “Who is there?” or “Is anyone there?”
After some time his head was raised and his eyes opened. His expression indicated that he knew something holy was there, and those about him witnessed the tears streaming down his face. He had felt the beautiful influence of the Spirit found so often in the temples. He knew something good was there and felt joy inside. It was a real, tangible feeling.
Now, especially in your young lives, there are many decisions to be made and goals to be established. Learn to rely upon your Heavenly Father. He will provide for us whatever we truly need; we need only have faith and trust in him. He will lead us along and support us in achieving certain specific goals, such as fulfilling a mission, a most worthwhile endeavor, and also temple marriage, the Lord’s way. After establishing these goals, we should not let anything impede or stop us from reaching them, keeping in mind the closeness and availability of our loving Father in Heaven.
Above all, our Father wants us to be happy, and through reliance on his counsels and obedience to his will, we become as happy as one could ever be. I leave my testimony with you that this is his church and that he directs the affairs of his church through a living and true prophet, President Spencer W. Kimball. I know that God lives, that he cares about each one of us, and that he is constantly at our side and available to help us.
“In my home I have a beautiful instrument called a radio. When everything is in good working order, we can dial it to a certain station and pick up a speaker or the voice of a singer all the way across the continent or sometimes on the other side of the world, bringing them into the front room as though they were standing right there. But after we have used it for a long time, there are some little delicate instruments or electrical devices on the inside called radio tubes that begin to wear out. … If we don’t give [them the proper] attention … well, the radio sits there looking quite like it did before, but something has happened on the inside. We don’t hear. We can’t get any singer; we can’t get any speaker.
“Now … you and I have within our souls something that might be said to be a counterpart of those tubes. We have what we might call a ‘Go-to-Sacrament Meeting’ tube, a ‘Keep-the-Word-of-Wisdom’ tube, a ‘Pay-Your-Tithing’ tube, a ‘Have-Your-Family-Prayers’ tube, a ‘Read-the-Scriptures’ tube, and … a ‘Keep-Yourselves-Morally-Clean’ tube. If one of these becomes worn-out by disuse or is not active—if we fail to keep the commandments of God—it has the same effect upon our spiritual selves that that same worn-out tube in the radio in my home has upon the reception we otherwise could receive from a distance. …
“… If we are keeping the commandments of God, we will get the answers from our Heavenly Father for our direction and for our guidance.” (Harold B. Lee, “Radio Tubes,” New Era, Mar. 1973, pp. 10–11.)