God is something different to various groups of people. I don’t know specifically what everyone believes about God, but here is what I believe and know about God.
God is our Father in Heaven. Father of our spirits, Father of our bodies. He created us and the earth. God gave us the opportunity to learn, grow, and become more like Him through the difficulties we face here on earth.
It’s really as simple as that.
As I mentioned before, I’m aware that not everyone sees God this way. If you haven’t read my first post on this blog, then you might not know that I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Because I am a member of this church, I have chosen to focus most of my posts around those beliefs.
You may not believe that God is literally your Father. That’s okay. But that is what I believe, so that’s what I’m sticking with.
I want to go back to when I was about thirteen years old and didn’t believe in God.
Some background: my parents are both members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as well. They have been for their whole lives. In fact, my family have been members for generations. Literally. No joke.
So, growing up, I had tons of exposure to God and religion and all things in the church. But I never really bothered to figure out if anything I was learning was true.
My parents believed it. They told me it was true. As a kid, what else did I need? I had no reason to question them.
That changed as I got older. When I was about thirteen, I hit a period of depression. I don’t want to go into details because the depression is not the point of this post, but the important part of this is that I hit a point where I didn’t really believe in anything.
On Sundays, I fought my parents about going to church. I think I only won that fight once and ended up at church anyway the other Sundays.
I isolated myself and avoided learning anything about God.
I believed that there was nothing out there to believe in, so there was no point to life.
I didn’t believe God was real, and I had no idea how anyone else had a clue about God.
After all, how could I have gone my whole life believing in God only to end up hurting as much as I did?
(Side note: These are definitely things not to do when you are questioning everything you were raised to believe.)
Luckily, this didn’t last.
I’m not going to say that if you believe in God you will never be depressed again. Depression is part of life for many people, and as long as we live here on earth, that will be true.
But, for me, as I did go to church and hear about God (even if it was resentfully), something started to click.
With that in mind, and with help and encouragement from leaders in the church, I started to read the scriptures. I started to pray. The Holy Spirit gave me the godly equivalent of a hit upside the head and basically told me to stop resisting.
I had so many questions, but when I looked, I found some answers. I still have questions, but I still get answers. It’s a process of praying and studying, but it works.
I learned that God is real. And once I accepted that, I was able to appreciate that He is my Father.
In the church, girls ages twelve to eighteen (including me during that time) memorize these words:
We are daughters of our Heavenly Father, who loves us, and we love Him.lds.org
This is just the start of a full theme that the girls are taught, but this sweet statement resonated with me more and more as I grew and learned. It has become an important part of my identity.
As a daughter of God (and this is true of His sons as well), I receive God’s love, whether I feel worthy of it or not. I am given blessings and can communicate with Him directly in prayer.
I understand who I am and where I come from.
Understanding that God is our Father helps us learn and understand other things about Him and His gospel.
I recently had a religion teacher who loved reminding the class that if you get God wrong, you get everything else wrong, and that if you get God right, you get everything else right too.
Applying this line of thinking to my personal experience, understanding that God was my Father also meant understanding that He has a plan for all of us, so that we can return to Him. This plan gives life a real purpose.
God being my Father means that I have someone to go to about anything and everything in my life. It means that I have an all-knowing, all-powerful Being in my corner all the time.
God sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to suffer for our sins and die to overcome death takes on new meaning as well. God is Christ’s Father and my Father. He was willing to send His eldest Son as a sacrifice to save me and all of us, to bring His children home.
Because God is my Father, Jesus Christ is my brother. This was an exciting realization for me when I was younger because I always wanted a brother and only had sisters. But it means more than that too. It also means that Christ loves me and our Father enough that He did what needed to be done to keep our family together.
Knowing that God is my Father means that I have a family, forever. It means that when the Bible says:
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.Genesis 1:27, King James Version
it means that God looks like me. That He has a body like I do – a perfect, godly, immortal body, but a body nonetheless.
In the years since I learned for myself that God is real, that God is my Father, and that He loves me, my whole outlook on life changed.
Even during periods of depression through high school, I kept hope because I knew there was someone who believed in me and who loved me. I knew He had a purpose for me and that I could keep going because of it.
I can trust now that when things don’t go my way, like getting almost zero response when I apply to jobs, things will work out.
I know that when I meet people in need, people who tell me they don’t have any food left and I can’t do much to help them, that they are not forgotten. God loves them just as He loves me. He is their Father too, and He will give them what they need.
This belief might seem silly to some people. I get it; an all-powerful Being that lives somewhere in the universe, caring even a speck about us messed up creatures? A Being that says He loves us when all around in the world is hate?
I see how this could seem like a fairytale or a myth that we tell ourselves to feel better about life.
But it isn’t a fairytale. Or a myth.
To me, it makes more sense than anything. The fact that good things DO happen, that incredible things happen at just the right times, that we learn from mistakes – it all adds up to God as our Father.
Maybe we live difficult lives. But we become better because of it.
No, we don’t live in a perfect world. God didn’t give that to us. Not yet anyway. He lets us struggle.
Our parents on earth do that too. How else would we become functional, rational adults?
I probably didn’t resolve every fear or doubt you have about God in this post. I probably never could.
But the person who can is God Himself. If you have these doubts or questions, it might mean that you need answers. So do what Jesus Himself said:
Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.Matthew 7:7, King James Version
This scripture is a promise. It’s a promise that if you look for answers, you will find them. It’s a promise that if you want to know who God is, if He is your Father, you can find out from the testimony of the Holy Spirit.
The one thing you have to do is ask our Father.