What does it mean to be a child of God?

Christ holding a child

To be a child of God, means that I am loved and cherished (Mosiah 5:7; D&C 76:24). I am protected and provided for (Mosiah 8:18). I need have no fear for my safety or security (Deuteronomy 33:12).

However, it does not mean I can be careless or thoughtless for my wellbeing (2 Corinthians 9:6; Palms 116:7). The Lord can help when I take sensible steps to help myself stay safe, and when I am faithful in keeping the covenants that I made with Him at the time of baptism.

It does not mean I can waste His bounty and then cry, “I do not have enough,” especially when He has been generous with the gifts and rewards given to me. After ensuring my home is provided for, I pay an honest tithe, and share with those around me who are in need of help. Not just with money, but a smile, a listening ear, and indeed any act of kindness I am prompted to do.  

Should I fail, the Lord may withdraw the Holy Ghost from me (John 14:26; Acts 9:31). Blessings for good deeds flow only from our Heavenly Father. No blessings come from doing good in the expectation of something in return (1 Peter 3:11). Any good I do is done quietly, the right hand not knowing what the left is doing. Unless urged, such acts should not be talked about with anyone (Proverbs 3:27; 13:21). It is for the receiver to decide whether anything is said.

If I see someone has a need, I do not wait to be asked. Some people would rather die of hunger than ask for a bowl of food. I pray and seek the confirmation of the Holy Ghost there and then, and act without hesitation. Recipients’ reactions vary, from a smile of thanks without a word being said, to anger or resentment that I dared to have noticed their want. Such negative responses have hurt me in the past, but since joining the Church eleven years ago, I have learnt that I am doing God’s work. I seek only His approval. I serve His glory, not anyone else’s. We are God’s eyes, ears, hands, and feet on this earth. As Latter-day Saints, we have a duty to do His work here in this realm. Remember, whosoever rewards evil for good, evil shall not depart (them) (Proverbs 13).

Each new person I meet deserves the chance of being helped, whether they appreciate it or not. When we are in the service of our fellow man, we are in the service of God (Mosiah 2:17).

When I feel sad or low because my efforts have been refused, I remember and recite the 23 Psalm, “The Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want … He restoreth my soul … Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil.” However bleak life seems, if we keep faith with our Heavenly Father, He will never fail us. True faith brings about true miracles. We need only be open to seeing them in our lives.

Even before I found the Church, the Lord watched over me. As a lone parent of two young boys and studying full time for a law degree (having been allowed a Mandatory Grant at that time), I could not find a summer job in my second year. I had no idea how I was going to buy food or pay my bills. Our social worker informed me that the grant given in September the previous year was supposed to last until the following September. With two growing boys that was not possible. I was at my wit’s end.  

In desperation, I took the boys to the social worker’s office and told her she could look after them till the next grant cheque came. I cannot begin to understand the effect of me doing so on the boys, but I felt wretched. She brought them back later the same day. The following week I returned from a revision day at college. It had gone well, and I was feeling more positive. As I turned into my road, I saw the boys waiting at the open door looking frightened. I ran to them and took them into our flat. My older son said the nanny had dropped them off, watched them open the front door and go in before driving to her evening job.  

I asked, “So why are you looking so scared?” They took a hand each and led me into the bedroom. Every draw and wardrobe had been emptied, and the contents laid all over the floor. I looked where I kept the gold jewellery I had received on my marriage and at the births of my boys: all gone, even my junk jewellery. I sat down heavily on the bed, trying to think. I phoned my mother and spoke with my stepdad. He asked whether I had contents insurance. I replied, “Yes”. He told me to ring them after reporting the theft to the police and getting a crime number.  

Suffice it to say, while I could only reclaim one-third of my financial loss because the jewellery had not been individually insured, the £2,500 I received kept the children and me going until the next grant cheque arrived.

Since joining the Church, I have discovered Deuteronomy 28:11 – “And the Lord shall make thee plenteous in goods…”  I marvel at the goodness of the Lord, even to a sinner like me. I no longer worry about my spiritual, emotional, physical, or financial situation. Why? I am a faithful tithe payer, always trying my best to keep covenants made at baptism. The Lord watches over me. Troubles come aplenty, but I walk with confidence because His arms are around me. Repentance is open to each of us, and God and our Lord Jesus are ever willing to forgive.