Yesterday morning I was feeling pretty down. Really overwhelmed and a bit hopeless.
I became almost consumed with the current struggles of our family, and as I thought about reaching out to Heavenly Father in prayer, I felt almost ashamed.
Who am I to ask for help, I thought.
Yes, I was struggling and yes, my troubles were feeling overwhelming. But they seemed so small compared to what other people are going through around the world.
My mind filled with images of fires, famines, people literally running out of water in South Africa, children being neglected, families falling apart, the homeless, the sick, wars, terrorism, etc., etc.
Who was I to ask for respite when so many others with so much more need were calling out to God for help?
I felt ashamed and very small. I felt that I was so far down God’s to-do list that I couldn’t even pray.
It was one of the worst feelings I’ve experienced.
I didn’t want to go to church but knew that I needed to. If for nothing else than to just go through the motions.
In Sunday School we studied the first couple chapters of Moses. I sat there, not paying much attention until a verse pricked at my soul.
Moses 1:35. God is teaching Moses about the creation. It says,
But only an account of this earth, and the inhabitants thereof, give I unto you. For behold, there are many worlds that have passed away by the word of my power. And there are many that now stand, and innumerable are they unto man; but all things are numbered unto me, for they are mine and I know them.
And innumerable are they unto man, but all things are numbered unto me, for they are mine and I know them.
My emptiness began to be filled at that very moment.
Yes, there are many here who need God. We all need God. So many, that man cannot count.
But God is not man.
And he knows each of his creations. He knows and cares about each of us, no matter how insignificant our problems might seem. If they are significant to us, they matter to him.
I was reminded of a talk given by Dieter F. Uchtdorf in the October 2011 General Conference, in which he says:
The more we learn about the universe, the more we understand—at least in a small part—what Moses knew. The universe is so large, mysterious, and glorious that it is incomprehensible to the human mind. “Worlds without number have I created,” God said to Moses. The wonders of the night sky are a beautiful testimony of that truth.
There are few things that have filled me with such breathless awe as flying in the black of night across oceans and continents and looking out my cockpit window upon the infinite glory of millions of stars.
Astronomers have attempted to count the number of stars in the universe. One group of scientists estimates that the number of stars within range of our telescopes is 10 times greater than all the grains of sand on the world’s beaches and deserts.
This conclusion has a striking similarity to the declaration of the ancient prophet Enoch: “Were it possible that man could number the particles of the earth, yea, millions of earths like this, it would not be a beginning to the number of thy creations.”
Given the vastness of God’s creations, it’s no wonder the great King Benjamin counseled his people to “always retain in remembrance, the greatness of God, and your own nothingness.”
But even though man is nothing, it fills me with wonder and awe to think that “the worth of souls is great in the sight of God.”
And while we may look at the vast expanse of the universe and say, “What is man in comparison to the glory of creation?” God Himself said we are the reason He created the universe! His work and glory—the purpose for this magnificent universe—is to save and exalt mankind. In other words, the vast expanse of eternity, the glories and mysteries of infinite space and time are all built for the benefit of ordinary mortals like you and me. Our Heavenly Father created the universe that we might reach our potential as His sons and daughters.
This is a paradox of man: compared to God, man is nothing; yet we are everything to God.
While against the backdrop of infinite creation we may appear to be nothing, we have a spark of eternal fire burning within our breast. We have the incomprehensible promise of exaltation—worlds without end—within our grasp. And it is God’s great desire to help us reach it.
I recognized that it was not anything from God that kept me from praying that morning. Satan wants to keep our connection to God as limited as possible. He knows that when we are in the depths of sorrow and humility, that is our greatest opportunity for spiritual growth. So what does he do?
He makes us feel shame or guilt for wanting to reach out. He whispers in our ears that we are not important enough to God.
For if ye would hearken unto the Spirit which teacheth a man to pray, ye would know that ye must pray; for the evil spirit teacheth not a man to pray, but teacheth him that he must not pray. But behold, I say unto you that ye must pray always, and not faint…
2 Nephi 32:8-9
President Monson has said, “He who notes the fall of a sparrow surely hears the pleadings of our hearts.”
God is aware of us. Not only aware, he knows us. He loves us, each of us, personally.
All things are numbered unto me, for they are mine and I know them.