This is a second excerpt from Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s new book For Times of Trouble. Here is the first excerpt.
“When I cry unto thee, then shall mine enemies turn back: this I know: for God is for me.”
I believe all confidence, all comfort, all strength, all safety starts here-“This I know:…God is for me.” That truth has to be seared into our hearts, written in bold letters across the tissue of our brains, and never forgotten. Like the blood of the Passover with which ancient Israelites were to mark the lintel and side posts of their doors, we ought to have some such figurative reminder constantly before our eyes and always in our hearts that God is for us. Whenever we go out and always when we come in, no matter what the trouble and trial of the day may be, we start and finish with the eternal truth that God is for us. He loves us. He is our Heavenly Father. He never sleeps nor slumbers in His watchcare over us. His work and His glory are to save us, to exalt us, to see us safely home with Him.
Everything He does is in support of that ultimate purpose, no matter what refinements or trials are required in the achievement of that objective. Acknowledging the dimensions of His majesty and all quantum physics of the universe, from the budding of a flower in spring to expanding realms of galaxies without number, God’s singular, solitary quest is to bless and exalt His children, to save (if they will let Him) every human soul.
So in our efforts to swim through our sea of troubles, we must master this thought; in the common parlance of our faith, we must get a testimony of it. God is for us. He is never against us. We and all others have the freedom, the eternal agency, to make choices, including stupid or cruel or evil ones. Because of this He can be against things we do and against things that others do to us. He will always be against sin, abuse, and error in whatever form they come and from whomever they may flow. But even then He has the divine ability to separate His opposition to the sin from His unyielding love for the sinner. We may not be very good at making that fine distinction, but He is perfect at it and has had a lot of practice.
In, through, and around all of the human, societal, and natural difficulties in our mortal world, God always loves us. He is always for us. In His divinity He cannot do or be otherwise. He would have no reason to be if it were otherwise. It is His nature to love His children. There are certain qualities and virtues that are inseparable from godhood. One of them-the principal one-is His unfailing, unfaltering, unflagging love for His children. We are trying to achieve those divine attributes, but He already has them. If He were to betray them or leave them or compromise them, He would “cease to be God.” But He is never going to cease being God and He is never going to compromise the virtues and characteristics of His godhood.
So we will find ourselves better prepared to carry on in the face of difficulty, to go forward with true faith, if we can hold to a few rock-solid principles that will undergird us on our way. The very first of those, the most fundamental of all, must be that God lives and does love us-that He is for us. And as the Apostle Paul would later ask, “If God be for us, who [or we might add, what] can be against us?…We are more than conquerors through him that loved us” (Romans 8: 31, 37).