I was first struck by the invitation with a promise, "Draw nearer to me and I will draw nearer to you." The first step is ours. We must first have FAITH in Christ. We must seek Him. We must serve Him. We must "be faithful and diligent in keeping the commandments of God..." Then, the promise is that we will feel His arms surround us and sustain. We will feel His love in all aspects of our life.
The second thing that struck me was President Eyring thoughts concerning where we will often find the Savior and His love for us... THE SCRIPTURES! Duh! I knew this. I've been teaching seminary for 9 years. But the reminder brought sweet memories to my mind of all the times I have turned to the scriptures for comfort, instruction, and frankly, a clue, and found what I was looking for... and MORE! As we look to his word we will draw closer to Him. He will always accept the invitation we extend for Him to be a part of your lives, hearts and minds.
The third thing that impressed me was President Eyring's reminder that we draw nearer to the Savor as we keep our covenants and bare witness of Him and His plan in all things... "willing to bear one another's burdens, that they may be light... willing to mourn with those that mourn... comfort those that stand in need of comfort and stand as a witness of God at all times and in all things, and in all places..."
President Eyring said, We are under covenant both to lift up those in need AND to be witnesses of the Savior as long as we live."
Yesterday I sang at the funeral of my dear friend, Jill Tharp, our Bishop's wife. As I prepared for this solemn occasion and studied this talk, I couldn't help but think that, although I know she must have had at least a few faults, even if I never saw them, she was a living example to me and many others that practiced everything President Eyring was teaching. I know she loved the Savior. I heard her so on many occasions. I know that she did what she could to seek Him. I know that she studied the scriptures. We chatted about what we found there on more than one occasion. What my friend Jill was a champion at was lifting those who were down, mourning with those that mourned, and standing as a loving witness that Jesus and the Plan are real. She was a shining example of listening... of serving.. of healing... of supporting. The amount of people at the funeral is a testament of the many lives she touched with her testimony and her loving service.
The song I was asked to sing was For Good. It was the perfect song for how many felt about Jill... We all were better people because we were privileged to know her. I was able to get through the song until the last note. Then I looked down. I saw her children, some of which believe as she did and some of which have lost there way. In some I saw hope in the gospel and in their faith in the plan. In some I saw great pain and sadness because they did not feel the peace the gospel knowledge brings. I broke.
I thought of the last thing President Eyring taught in his talk. Jill's service a faith and love and testimony will pay off. A prophet of the Lord promised. "You can depend on the Lord to draw closer to [your family] as you serve Him in faith." I know it was true while she served here on this earth and I know it is true there as she serves in her next phase. I know that her faith, and the faith of my dear Bishop, "...will bring the Lord's servants to help [their] family members. They will help them choose the way home to God, even as they are attacked by Satan and his followers... that they might be brought to the knowledge of the truth..."
As I looked down on her sobbing sons I knew. I knew I was part of that process. I knew that as I sang of forgiveness and the difference we make in the lives of others for good, I knew that I was part of God's answers for their families prayers for the Spirit to touch the hearts of those were lost and who mourned. I knew that every little effort, no matter how small, would be rewarded eventually as the small things added up to the power to change. I knew I was following the example of my friend Jill, as she followed the example of the Savior to comfort and uplift others.
I looked over to my own lost son who happened to come to the funeral. I knew that Jill's example was a good one. I knew that President Eyring's promise was a true promise. "My Promise to you who pray and serve the Lord cannot be that you will have every blessing you may wish for yourself and your family. but I can promise you that the Savior will draw close to you and bless you and your family with what is best..." He will "comfort"... He will send "His love"... He will"answer" prayers.
I wondered why I took all week to write about this talk. Now I know. I needed to "hear" Jill's testimony one more time... He live... He loves us... He will lift us.