“Father, are you pleased?”
(I had the following ponders as I reviewed this week’s Come Follow Me lesson)
Have you ever worked on a project for a while, with a lot of heart, but felt like you didn’t get anything worthwhile done, and possibly feel like you went backwards?
This is how I felt after 8 months trying to be a missionary in Detroit, Michigan.
I knew how to work from my sports and music background, but I was very unfamiliar with the experience of no measurable results.
I experienced discouragement with a lack of results, a challenging companion, a girlfriend back home who stopped writing, and a God who seemed to be comfortable working on the other side of a 3 inch thick frosted plexiglass wall.
In my reading, I came across, again, the story of Joseph Smith in the Sacred Grove. I remember reading how the Father introduced His Son, “This is my Beloved Son.” And I had a flash of thought, “I wish he would say that about me.”. And just as quickly I heard, “Well then, ask Him!”
A little shocked, I set my reading and writing aside and tried a 1 sentence prayer, “Father, are you pleased?” The results yielded a surprise response. It was one of my first experiences with a feeling that came with words. I felt/heard, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”
Memories of all my errors as missionary flooded my mind. (I didn’t know at the time that Satan could and would do such a mean thing.) I remember thinking, “That can’t be true. There are too many examples of my noticeable flaws.”
Then the story of Samuel came to mind, “for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.” (1 Sam. 16:7). I then ‘heard/felt’, “This is my beloved son, Maurice, in whom I am well pleased.” Peace and confidence surged into my soul. The rest of my 2 years was not emotionally difficult. Any time I felt the slightest discouragement, I would play through this entire experience and send up a 1-sentence prayer, “Father, are you pleased?”
To this day, I still do this. I still pursue pleasing my God. Most of the time the best I get is a half smile and a nod, but I’ll take it. Most of the time, I could argue the point, but He sees things differently than I do.
When I come across verses like 2 Timothy 4:7 “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.,” it gives me another opportunity to self check. “At the end of each day, at the end of each therapy session, at the end of each exchange with a family member, at the end of each writing of an article, I can ask, “Father, are you pleased?”. Then I don’t have to “rely upon the arm of flesh” for accurate feedback about how I am doing.
I want you to have this experience, too. I want you to feel peace, calm and confidence. You have probably learned by now, that no matter how much friends, family, and even therapists reassure you, there always seems to be room for satan to say, “Well, they don’t know….”
In response to this, I encourage you to remember, “Do not rely upon the arm of flesh.” It’s true…they probably don’t know enough to convincingly reassure you.
Also, don’t automatically decide not to ask.
When suggesting this activity to some, I have heard a few say, “What is the point of asking? I am not pleased, why would God be pleased?”
Please be cautious with this idea. Know that it is directly from satan, because when you think about it, “man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend,” (Mosiah 4:9) and “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.” (Isaiah 55:8).
It is very possible that God is pleased with you, your life and your efforts, even if you are not. Are you going to believe Him, or the cruel whisperer that makes his demonic voice sound like negative self talk?
I invite you to try something similar. For the next several days, at the end of the day (or any other block of time) ask the 1 sentence prayer, “Father, are you pleased?” Satan will probably hit you with “ways that can’t be true”, but wait it out. Listen for the sound/feel of the voice of God. It might take more than one try.
So, I encourage you with all of my heart. Ask, “Father, are you pleased.” And when you hear, “Well done, my good and faithful servant,” proceed with confidence, no matter what other people think of you. And may we each, including me, make a plan for another, very pleasing year!
Please reply with your experience as you attempt this. I would love to hear from you.
(For a FULL version of this article with a lot more background and information, download my free booklet version HERE)
(If you enjoyed what you read today, I invite you to read (FREE) my book on self-mastery. To download, CLICK HERE.)