Courtesy LDS Media Library
Is there a God? Can you know that your Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, really exist? Can you know God personally?
The answer, of course, is yes. But while this is a critically important question to many people, there are many others who would rather not know and prefer, for their own vindication, that you not know.
I have always known that God existed, from the time that I was a toddler. I just knew Him, like I knew my own father. He was present in my life from the very beginning. I could see Him in my mind—He was a person who smiled at me and loved me. He glowed. He has always been as real to me as any person.
My earthly father has been dead for 25 years, but he is still present with me every day. He is unforgettable. I could show you evidence that he existed—photos, papers, legal documents, his high school yearbook—but you might not accept that evidence. You might not even care. You might not have time to bother considering it. Nevertheless, the evidence is there and it’s real.
The same is true of our Heavenly Father. He is unforgettable, present with me every day. I could give you evidence after evidence, miracle after miracle, showing that He exists, but you might not believe me or care or even take the time to consider Him. That is up to you.
I have never, for example, been to Sheboygan, Wisconsin, but I know it’s there. I can find plenty of evidence to attest to the fact. I have no doubt of it, and I would be hard pressed to find anyone who would dispute it.
Were you willing, you could find evidence and testimony from millions of people who could tell you countless reasons of why they know God and how they have experienced His power and love. If you are not willing to seek out the why and the how, no one will force it on you. No one can.
If you have an interest in one instance among hundreds, I will offer you a story from my own life.
It was the earliest miracle I remember. I was probably six years old. I was playing with some friends in the vast woods near our home. A pair of logs had fallen across a creek bed, making a natural bridge. The logs were slippery and as I crossed, I fell headfirst between the logs. Somehow my hands caught hold of a branch or limb that was below the fallen trees, and instead of falling on my head, I swung on that branch and landed upright with my feet in the water. I still remember how that branch flexed when I caught hold of it.
Do you believe me? Was the limb just a coincidence? Why did my hands unconsciously grab it and hold on tight? I don’t know what would have happened if my head collided with the rocks in that creek bed, but it probably would not have been pretty business.
You might think I’ve conjured this story from my childish imagination, but I didn’t. It really happened, and I still feel a divine, miraculous glow from it, as I did then. It was not my time to go. I had been preserved. Someone was watching over me, and that someone was my Heavenly Father and whoever He had dispatched to watch over me that day.
I could share other similar stories from my childhood, but let’s fast forward. I was an unhappy teenager. I had a great life, a truly great life, but I had distanced myself from God by my sins. I yearned to know Him well again. It is often through the gift of extremity that we come to know Him better.
Independently, even before my conversion, I had lost interest in the ways of the world. They had become boring and stupid to me. I was open and ready and hungry. I was 17.
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end [a hope and a future (NIV)]. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:11–13.)
I would have given anything to know Him again and I held nothing back. I sought Him with all of my heart and I found Him. I searched high and low and He made Himself unmistakably known to me, by fire and light and the power of words and revelation and much, much more.
My faith is both rational and inexplicable. I know that God lives and I know that He loves me. I know He is there and that He cares. He has answered all my prayers though He has left many of them unfulfilled. He has expanded my mind and filled my heart and lifted my burdens and taught me how to live a happy life. I know I can trust and rely on Him for everything I need. Nothing could be more real to me.
I am not sharing this to convince you of anything or to dissuade you from your unbelief. I am sharing what I know. And anyone who wants to know can know what I know.
I am not alone and neither are you. Find the light and walk towards it. You’ll find Him there.