If you know anything about the way the Young Women's recently redesigned lessons, you will know that there is a lot of responsibility on the teacher. No longer can they just sit in class and read the manual. No, the new direction is much more "Preach My Gospel" minded. We are given a topic, a few bullet points and scriptures, and then it is up to the teacher to decide what to teach and what is needed for her class.
Two weeks ago, our lesson was on knowing God. I found this really great quote by Elder Bruce R. McConkie that really demonstrates the effort it takes to come to know our Heavenly Father. He said,
God is known only by revelation; he stands revealed or remains forever unknown. He cannot be discovered in the laboratory, or by viewing all immensity through giant telescopes, or by cataloging all the laws of nature that do or have existed. A knowledge of his powers and the laws of nature which he has ordained does not reveal his personality and attributes to men in the true gospel sense. Certainly a knowledge of these laws and powers enables man to learn truths which are faith promoting and which help him to understand more about Deity; but saving knowledge of God comes only by revelation from the Holy Ghost as a consequence of obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel.
God is only known by revelation. We can only know Him if he decides to reveal Himself to us. He isn't going to do that unless we demonstrate a desire to know Him, and we only do that through prayer and by asking and seeking.
This reminded me of a time on my mission when I felt that I finally was coming to know my Heavenly Father. I was still fairly new to the island (having been there only three months), and although I was still struggling with the language, my biggest struggle was my companion. We had a hard time figuring each other out and because of this our communication was nil, only heightening our frustrations with each other. I knew that if only I could talk to someone about my problems with my companion, they would help me out. I didn't so much as need advice, I mostly needed a sounding board; I needed someone to vent my frustrations to. I certainly couldn't tell my companion my problems with her, I didn't feel comfortable talking to the mission president about it (because he didn't need to solve my problems for me), and for some reason, I just couldn't tell my family over an email about my troubles. I honestly felt that I had no one I could talk to. No one besides Heavenly Father. For days and weeks I would kneel and talk to Him about my situation. I would plead for Him to help me better understand my companion. I would ask Him to help me change in whatever way I needed to change so this sister and I could work better together. I sought Him for more patience and kindness and long-suffering and love. As I prayed, not only did my relationship with my companion improve, but so did my relationship with God. As I talked to Him, really talked to Him and tell Him of my troubles and sorrows and blessings and questions, He talked back and I got to know Him a little bit better. I learned that I am His daughter, He is my Father. He loves me as He loves all of His children. He is kind and patient, forgiving and trusting. I never saw His face or heard His voice, but I came to know Him more intimately than I had ever known Him before.
It is so great to know that our Heavenly Father is there, just waiting for us to call out to Him. He is ready and willing to make Himself known to us if we but ask. As we seek Him, he will reveal Himself to us.
I am really glad that I got to teach this lesson because it was a great reminder to me. I haven't taken much time lately to get to know my Heavenly Father, and I feel like I am missing out on something great. I need to get the familiarity with God back into my life and this lesson was a good kick in the right direction and for me to rededicate myself.