I was asked to talk this Sunday. I really don’t like to speak in front of people. Here is my talk:
What does it mean to yearn? Yearn: verb, meaning: have an intense feeling of longing for something typically something that one has lost or been separated from.
What do you yearn for? Just think about that for a few mins. In the talk by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, A Yearning for Home, he talks about how a dog that was separated from his family on a vacation somehow found his way back to his family a trek of over 2,000 miles! Many animals have an innate ability to find their way home. These animals have a yearning for home, something pulls them back.
I grew up in western Montana in the Missoula valley, that’s home to me. When we drive west and get close to those mountains, I feel a little tug on my heart and mind and I feel home, even though I haven’t lived there for 26 years. We’ve lived here in Glendive for nearly 17 years and when we have been on vacation and come back I have a sense of home, but it’s not quite the same feeling I have for where I grew up. I’m not sure if my children will feel that tug or pull for here that I feel for the mountains of western Montana, or if they will be more like their dad: home is where his family is.
Our spirits have a yearning for home too, that heavenly home we all shared before we came to this earthly home. In his talk, President Uchtdorf says: “I believe that every man, woman, and child has felt the call of heaven at some point in his or her life. Deep within us is a longing to somehow reach past the veil and embrace Heavenly Parents we once knew and cherished.
Some might suppress this yearning and deaden their souls to its call. But those who do not quench this light within themselves can embark on an incredible journey–a wondrous migration toward heavenly climes.”
He also says: “God knows your every thought, your sorrows, and your greatest hopes. God knows the many times you have sought Him. The many times you have felt limitless joy. The many times you have wept in loneliness. The many times you have felt helpless, confused, or angry.
Yet, no matter your history–if you have faltered, failed, feel broken, bitter, betrayed, or beaten–know that you are not alone. God still calls to you.
The Savior extends His hand to you.
If you will hear Him, He will speak to you this very day.
When you walk the path of discipleship–when you move toward Heavenly Father–there is something within you that will confirm that you have heard the call of the Savior and set your heart toward the light. It will tell you that you are on the right path and that you are returning home.”
President Uchtdorf offers two reasons we should return to the Lord. And I quote: “first, your life will be better. This does not mean that our lives will be free from sorrow. We all know of faithful followers of Christ who suffer tragedy and injustice–Jesus Christ Himself suffered more than anyone. Just as God makes the “sun to rise on the evil and on the good,” He also allows adversity to test the just and the unjust. In fact, sometimes it seems that our lives are more difficult because we are trying to live our faith.
No, following the Savior will not remove all of your trials. However, it will remove the barriers between you and the help your Heavenly Father wants to give you. God will be with you. He will direct your steps. He will walk beside you and even carry you when your need is greatest.
The fires and tumults of mortal life may threaten and frighten, but those who incline their hearts to God will be encircled by His peace. Their joy will not be diminished. They will not be abandoned or forgotten.
Those who heed the inner call and seek God, those who pray, believe, and walk the path the Savior has prepared–even if they stumble along the path at times–receive the consoling assurance that “all things shall work together for [their] good.”
Second,God will use you. “On your journey back to Heavenly Father you will soon realize that this journey isn’t just about focusing on your own life. No, this path inevitably leads you to become a blessing in the lives of God’s other children–your brothers and sisters. And the interesting thing about the journey is that as you serve God, and as you care for and help your fellowmen, you will see great progress in your own life, in ways you could never imagine.
Perhaps you don’t consider yourself all that useful; perhaps you don’t consider yourself a blessing in somebody’s life. Often, when we look at ourselves, we see only our limitations and deficiencies. We might think we have to be “more” of something for God to use us–more intelligent, more wealthy, more charismatic, more talented, more spiritual. Blessings will come not so much because of your abilities but because of your choices. And the God of the universe will work within and through you, magnifying your humble efforts for His purposes.
No matter your position in your community or in the Church, God will use you, if you are willing. He will magnify your righteous desires and turn the compassionate actions you sow into a bountiful harvest of goodness.”end quote.
How do we feel this tug, this yearning? What helps us to return? President Uchtdorf stated:
“Our beloved Father in Heaven has given us the Light of Christ. And deep within each one of us, a heavenly stirring urges us to turn our eyes and hearts to Him as we make the pilgrimage back to our celestial home.
This requires effort. You cannot get there without striving to learn of Him, understanding His instructions, earnestly applying them, and putting one foot in front of the other.
You cannot just float in the waters of life and trust that the current will take you wherever you hope to be one day. Discipleship requires our willingness to swim upstream when needed.
No one else is responsible for your personal journey. The Savior will help you and prepare the way before you, but the commitment to follow Him and keep His commandments must come from you. That is your sole burden, your sole privilege.”
May we all strive daily to reach for the Lord, to feel the yearnings of our heavenly home and work toward a joyous homecoming.
I want you to know I do have a testimony of this gospel that Jesus is the Christ that he came to earth and made the ultimate sacrifice for us and that he was resurrected and that he lives.
In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Talk December 16, 2017