Seek and Hear His Council…
I remember fondly when I was a little boy and my mother would sit on my bedside, her hand gently stroking my soft blonde curls, listening as I would kneel in prayer and raise my voice to Heaven. My faithful mother taught me to pray and to counsel with the Lord. Those childhood days of absolute faith and trust drifted subtly by like a cool spring breeze through the darkening curls of my hair, then turning to summer, almost without notice. Although those days passed too quickly, a pattern was nevertheless set in my life. Thanks to my gracious mother and the God who inspired her, I do still raise my voice and seek His counsel.
In Alma 37:36-37 we read,
“Yea, and cry unto God for all thy support; yea, let all thy doings be unto the Lord, and whithersoever thou goest let it be in the Lord; yea, let all thy thoughts be directed unto the Lord; yea, let the affections of thy heart be placed upon the Lord forever. Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and He will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that He may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day.”
Since I was a young man I have taught others to pray and to seek the counsel of the Lord, first as a friend, then as a missionary, and finally as a husband, father, bishop and grandfather. I remember teaching investigators in Paraguay the importance of giving thanks to Heavenly Father for all that we have that we might be humble and therefore receptive to His voice. I have taught the same to my children that they may come to not only speak to the Lord and be heard of Him, but to hear Him, a lifetime effort for many of us.
One day recently I was kneeling beside my bed in the evening. This was a day of great frustration and I had a lot to say, too much to say. At one point I heard the voice of the Lord. It was not audible, but it may as well have been, for I heard Him just as surely. It was clear in word and tone, “Remember who you are talking to.” I lowered my head more deeply, practically burying it in the outer cover of my bedding, and humbly apologized for giving counsel instead of listening for counsel. The words of scripture came clearly to my mind, “seek not to counsel the Lord, but to take counsel from His hand. For behold, ye yourselves know that He counseleth in wisdom, and in justice, and in great mercy, over all His works” (Jacob 4:10). I then, sufficiently humbled, received His counsel, I was able to rest in the Lord, and I was better off for it.
In Proverbs 3:5-6 great wisdom is imparted through inspiration by the hand of King Solomon,
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.”
Yes, spring moved to summer, and then to autumn, my hair growing ever darker even so, yet now, it is filling with gray and not so soft as the days grow shorter. I kneel still, often at the bedside with my youngest daughters, musing on those bygone days feeling mother’s hand, and making sure my daughters learn the same. “Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and He will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that He may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God.” “Remember who you are talking to.” It is a holy thing to be heard of Him, and He does listen, but it is of divine and even greater importance to hear Him. This is my testimony and witness that He hears us, and if we will listen and hear Him, His indispensable wisdom and counsel will be gifted ours. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.