The Book of Mormon prophet Alma taught that “all things denote there is a God” (Alma 30:44). His goodness and love, majesty and power, His desire to be near us and His willingness to find us when we stray—all are evident in the world around us. Sometimes, these tiny revelations are hidden from us simply because we are so used to being around them. For example, the most poignant of these small lessons on divinity comes from our mothers. A mother’s love is so constant, so unwavering that we may not notice its presence any more than we notice the presence of the air around us. However, by stopping to recognize motherly love, we can learn not only to love and appreciate our own mothers more, but we can begin to understand the character of God’s love for us. Even in the small things she does, my mother exemplifies that unfailing, divine love, and I am very grateful to have such a grand example.
My mother has never run away when I’ve called her. Though it may seem like a simple thing, there is a wondrous lesson for me in that. When I called as a child, she came. It didn’t matter what she was doing, how she felt, or what time of the day (or night) it was, she always came to see what I needed. Sometimes, I just wanted to be sure that she was still in the house, and I would go back to doing whatever I was doing as soon as I heard her response from upstairs. There has never been any great mystery to getting my mother’s attention.
In a similar sense, there shouldn’t be much mystery to approaching God. He has said in modern times, “Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me” (Doctrine and Covenants 88:63). Surely, when we call God, He will come. Even if we just want to feel secure in knowing He is there, He will answer us. Of course, He is willing to do far more than merely acknowledge us. As recorded in the New Testament, He invites us “to ask,” promising that “it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (Matthew 7:7).
The Lord expects us to have our hearts “drawn out in prayer unto him continually for [our] welfare, and also for the welfare of those who are around [us]” (Alma 34:27). To me, that means that we shouldn’t think that we are supposed to guess what God is willing to give us; rather, we should recognize that He is already willing to give us whatever good thing we ask for. While I was serving as a missionary in Brazil, I spent a good deal of my time walking. I walked until I couldn’t walk any more, took a break for lunch, and then continued walking and talking to people about the gospel until well after dinner. Needless to say, about a year into my two-year service, I seriously needed a new pair of shoes: if I wiggled my toes, my shoes looked like puppets opening and closing their mouths. I sent an email to my mother, asking for new shoes, and she promptly sent me a box with new shoes in it. I asked her for shoes because that was what I needed, and she sent me shoes because that was what I had asked for. She didn’t respond saying, “If you had asked for new pants or a belt, I would have sent them, but I’m just not in the mood to send you shoes.” I didn’t have to hope that my mother was in the shoe-giving mood because I knew that she was—and always is—in the mood to help me. It is no different when we express our needs and wants to God.
When that box of shoes finally came, I was thrilled. I threw out my old shoes without a moment’s hesitation and tore open the package to see a glorious pair of shiny black shoes inside. I was equally delighted to find that my mother had stuffed the remaining space in the box with good, American junk-food—cheese crackers, peanut-butter cups, chocolates, and candies. She had even stuffed treats into each shoe. She seemed to have an even keener sense than I did of the things I missed from home. After opening the box, I went back to work, walking in luxury and eating like the king of the cul-de-sac.
That experience illlustrates the way in which the Lord promises us blessings of “good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over” (Luke 6:38). He will surely give us the shoes we ask for in addition to many other gifts that we may not have even known we needed. He does it because He loves us with a perfect, unconditional love. “Consider,” the Book of Mormon says, “the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual”; ultimately, it is God’s good will and desire that we may “dwell with [Him] in a state of never-ending happiness” (Mosiah 2:41). If He is ready to bless us with endless joy in His presence, why wouldn’t He give us the little things we ask for from day to day?
Finally, I can always count on my mother to take my side. Regardless of the situation I find myself in, I know that she will be the first to comfort me with her support. Similarly, the Lord promised His prophet Joshua, “I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee” (Joshua 1:5). That is a promise that applies to all of us. No sooner would the Lord begin to favor our enemies over us than would my mother begin to care for my tormentors over me. The Lord is on our side, and He has said, “As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you” (Isaiah 66:11-12). I don’t know of more tender words in all of scripture.
I can’t really say that I know why my mother loves me or my sisters—I surely didn’t do anything as an infant or before to make her love me. She loved me first and simply continues in love, and I am grateful for that. Her love is something I can count on, something that sustains me. Our relationship to God is no different: “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10). We don’t need to convince God to love us any more than I need to convince my mother to love me. He simply loves—even when our only merit may seem to be that we are His children. Today, let us remember the love of a mother. Then, let us remember and thank the wise and loving God who blessed us with such kind and gentle examples of the love He harbors for each of us. Surely, we will begin to feel just how deep that love really is.