He Loves His Children
Kendall Peck earned an associate degree from Ricks College, and both a bachelor’s of science degree in chemistry and a PhD in pharmaceutics and pharmaceutical chemistry from the University of Utah. He worked as a research scientist for a large pharmaceutical company before returning to Ricks College, now BYU-Idaho, to teach chemistry where he currently serves as online Vice President.
Brother Peck married Kari Sears, a graduate of LDS Business College, in the Idaho Falls Temple and they have three married children and three grandchildren with one on the way. He served a mission in the Hawaii Honolulu Mission and has served in the Church as a ward young men president, ward Sunday school president, counselor in bishoprics, stake high councilor, and bishop. He is currently serving as the 2nd counselor in the newly created Rexburg Idaho West Stake. Brother Peck loves spending time with his family, gardening and being in the mountain
He Loves His Children
Thank you, President Kusch, for your introduction and for hosting Sister Peck and I at Ensign College today. We are grateful to be here, in part because Sister Peck graduated from LDS Business College. Being a student here helped her become the wonderful woman she is today. With this in mind, we both owe a debt of gratitude to this great institution!
A few years ago, I was traveling internationally on a work assignment for BYU-Idaho and BYU-Pathway Worldwide. As we started this trip, some challenges developed causing uncertainty about whether we would be able to accomplish all we had set out to do. On day-one, I was both grateful to successfully make it to our hotel and surprised to find security measures I was not accustomed to. One of those being an armed guard patrolling the hallway outside my room. As you can see, I did my best to stay on his good side and make friends with him.
As I got settled and prepared for bed the first night of the trip, the importance of what we had set out to do, the challenges we were facing, and being in an unfamiliar country, all weighed heavily on me. In the hopes of being able to relax and get some rest, I read a chapter from the Book of Mormon knowing this would ease my nerves. I opened to 1 Nephi 11. You will recall this chapter describes a vision Nephi received that was guided by the Spirit of the Lord. Verses 16 and 17 contained a sacred message for me that night. Here is what they say:
“And he said unto me: Knowest thou the condescension of God?”
“And I said unto him: I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things.” 
While these two verses may not usually be considered the highlight of 1 Nephi 11, as I read, “I know that he loveth his children”, I felt pure love, peace, and assurance. The Holy Ghost testified to me that my Heavenly Father was aware of me personally, that He loves His children we were there to serve, and that He would not let us fail to meet the objectives of our trip. I was blessed in that moment to feel the love of my Father in Heaven and His confidence in me and our purpose. I also knew it was okay I did not know “all things” about how to make everything work out, but He did, and knowing that was enough. I slept well that night and although there were some obstacles we had to overcome, we were blessed to successfully accomplish what we had set out to do over the next few weeks in Africa. His love and confidence motivated me on the trip and continue to motivate me now.
As I speak to you today, I want to share a portion of the love from my Father in Heaven I felt that night. I testify of your Father in Heaven’s love for you and His confidence in you. You lived with Him and knew Him well before this life. He is constantly aware of you and is cheering you on every step of the way. In fact, His work and glory are to bring to pass your immortality and eternal life.  You are what He cares about!
Speaking to the women of the Church, Elder Renlund reiterated God’s love for His daughters. Don’t worry brethren, I’m confident what he said applies equally to His sons.
“You are a beloved daughter. Nothing you do – or do not do – can change that. God loves you because you are His spirit daughter. Sometimes we may not feel His love, but it is always there. God’s love is perfect. Our ability to sense that love is not.” 
God’s love is always there, and His love is perfect!
We often speak and sing of believing in God, in fact our First Article of Faith states:
“We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.” 
If I had quizzed you on this Article of Faith, I am confident you would have received an A+. Think about this question, how many times have you sung I Am a Child of God?  I am not sure how to accurately estimate this, but I am confident it is a big number! My point is as members of His church we do well at believing in God as our Father. We are taught about this, and sing about it, from a very young age. Along with believing in Him, from today on, I encourage you to also focus on the reality that He believes in you too. My guess is we are a little better at believing in Him than we are at recognizing He believes in us and our ability to succeed. Perhaps this is true for people of many faiths.
In her book, The Broken Way, Christian author Ann Voskamp describes being seated next a rabbi on an airplane. As part of their conversation, the rabbi said the following:
“Why do you people always say it’s about having a strong belief in God? Who sits with the knowing that God’s belief in you is even stronger than yours in Him? You may believe in God, but never forget-it’s God who believes in you. Every morning that the sun rises and you get to rise. That’s God saying He believes in you, that He believes in the story He’s writing through you. He believes in you as a gift the world needs.” 
Understanding God’s belief in us can have a powerful effect on our lives. Few things motivate us more than someone’s well placed confidence in us. It is so important to believe in Heavenly Father’s love and confidence because of the influence this belief can have on our motivation to progress toward becoming like Him.
Now, I would like you to go through a thought exercise with me. Please take a minute and think of a time when someone showed confidence in you, when someone really believed in you, and you knew without a doubt they believed in you and your ability to accomplish something or become something. Was it a parent, a grandparent, a sibling, a friend, a teacher, a bishop, or other church leader? Was it one of your Ensign College instructors or another employee here? I will give you a minute to identify someone who believed in you. Now, here is the question I want you to ponder, what effect did this person’s confidence have on how you viewed yourself, how you viewed your potential, how you approached a specific task or opportunity in your life or even just life in general? Did his or her confidence motivate you in a positive way? My guess is it did.
I would like to share a time when another person’s confidence made a significant difference in my life. Three months into my mission, when I was just starting to figure out how to be a missionary, I was given a new companion straight out of the Missionary Training Center. I will admit I felt like we were over our heads, but we dove in and went to work. Not long after we started to work together, we had our regularly scheduled interviews with our mission president, President Perry. Going into the interview, it is safe to say I was feeling a little inadequate to be a senior companion and especially to be teaching a new missionary. I was not confident I knew enough, or we were doing enough, to be successful. The interview with President Perry was a turning point in my service with this new missionary and, in fact, my entire mission. Sometimes interviews with mission presidents can be a little tough, and sometimes that is what we need, but rather than grilling me with questions about our approach to missionary work, how hard we were working, whether we were being obedient, etc., President Perry expressed his love and confidence, he pointed out positive observations he had made and impressions he had received that led to my assignment and noted strengths he perceived that I did not even notice in myself. You can probably imagine the effect of this interview on a young missionary. With his belief in me, I was determined to prove him right. His confidence motivated me to make my best effort and to continue to try even when I did not succeed. His belief in me made all the difference in my belief in myself and this motivated me to strive to reach my potential as a missionary.
In hindsight, I believe the type of interview I had with President Perry is exactly the type of interview my Father in Heaven would have given me at that point in my life. I also believe it is the type of interview your Father in Heaven would give you in any similar situation in your life. He loves you. He knows your potential. He does not expect you to be perfect. In fact, He knows you will fall at times, but He wants you to always get up and keep trying.
I love how Elder Uchtdorf taught this doctrine when he compared us to toddlers:
“We have all seen a toddler learn to walk. He takes a small step and totters. He falls. Do we scold such an attempt? Of course not. What father would punish a toddler for stumbling? We encourage, we applaud, and we praise because with every small step, the child is becoming more like his parents.
I believe in a Heavenly Father who is loving and caring and who rejoices in our every effort to stand tall and walk toward Him. Even when we stumble, He urges us not to be discouraged—never to give up or flee our allotted field of service—but to take courage, find our faith, and keep trying.
Our Father in Heaven mentors His children and often sends unseen heavenly help to those who desire to follow the Savior.” 
Heavenly Father believes in you, and this should make all the difference in how you approach life and how much you believe in yourself. Remember that He rejoices in our “every effort to stand tall and walk toward Him.”
Trials Bring Growth and are Evidence of Heavenly Father’s Love
At times, trials in life are misunderstood by some as an indication Heavenly Father is displeased with us or, perhaps, has forgotten us. Although some of our trials result from our own or other’s mistakes, they are never an indication that He does not love us or has forgotten us. In reality, He loves us enough He will not protect us from experiences that allow us to grow and become more like Him. His plan would be foiled if our mortal existence involved giving us a physical body and dropping us off on a perfect planet where every path was paved, and every obstacle was removed. Realize, His hope is not just for us to return to Him after this life. In addition to returning to Him, His hope is for us to grow in this life so when we do return to Him, we will have become like Him. Loving us means He will allow us to pass through the refining fires of life so we can develop godly qualities.
To illustrate, here is a list of trials experienced by a man I am confident our Father in Heaven loves dearly:
- As a child, he survived typhoid fever and endured Bell’s palsy.
- At age eleven, his mother died.
- At age 37, he began to suffer from serious boils that infected him even in his ears and nose, causing extreme pain. This continued for several years until antibiotics finally cured him.
- At age 53, he began to suffer from heart attacks. This was at a time when all doctors could do was prescribe rest. He suffered with this condition for decades with the symptoms returning most significantly at times of stress and physical exertion.
- At age 55, he began to experience hoarseness. A biopsy of a sore in his throat indicated a throat infection.
- At age 61, his hoarseness returned with bleeding in the back of his throat. This time the biopsy indicated cancer.
- At age 62, he had one of his vocal cords removed and half of the other vocal cord removed due to throat cancer. This made it difficult for him to speak for the rest of his life.
- At age 76, his throat cancer returned and had to be treated by radiation therapy.
- At age 76, he began to have trouble breathing and excess fatigue caused by heart disease. He underwent a risky, but successful, open-heart surgery performed by Dr. Russell M. Nelson.
I am sure many of you realize these are some of the trials experienced by Spencer W. Kimball, the twelfth president and prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. What he endured is staggering, but these trials were not an indication Heavenly Father had forgotten him or was punishing him in any way. Who would question that God loved the man who was to become His prophet? These trials shaped President Kimball into a remarkably refined and powerful leader. He had tremendous vision for what the Church was to become and led the Church through unprecedented growth during his time as the prophet. President Kimball was also known for his tender ability to minister to and counsel individuals and couples with difficult challenges.  His trials literally shaped him into the instrument the Lord needed him to become. His trials were, in fact, evidence of God’s love for him.
When you experience trials, know a loving Father in Heaven has not forgotten you and is not punishing you. He is refining you and preparing you to become more like Him. In cases where your trials may be the result of your mistakes or the mistakes of others, do what you can to make things right, repent if necessary, rely on the grace of Christ through the atonement, and keep moving forward. Know He has confidence you can make it through, and He is your biggest fan! Trials are intended to draw us closer to Him and teach us to draw strength from relying on Him. The weight we feel from the burdens placed on us can provide the traction we need to move closer to heaven. 
Our Loving Heavenly Father Believes in Our Ability to Do Challenging Things
Being called upon to do something difficult is evidence of God’s love. Our Heavenly Father believes in our ability to do challenging things, many times even more than we believe in our own ability. If you ever feel what is being asked of you is more than you are capable of accomplishing, realize you are in good company. Many of us feel this way, and many great leaders and prophets have felt this way. Both Moses  and Enoch  were surprised and overwhelmed when the Lord called them to be prophets. Let’s consider Enoch’s response when he was charged with calling the people to repentance. 
“And when Enoch had heard these words, he bowed himself to the earth, before the Lord, and spake before the Lord, saying: Why is it that I have found favor in thy sight, and am but a lad, and all the people hate me; for I am slow of speech; wherefore am I thy servant?” 
It is evident Enoch felt inadequate at best. I am confident he thought his point of view was valid and his hesitations about his ability were justified. In one way or another, most, if not all, of us can relate to how Enoch felt. Our Heavenly Father does ask us to do hard and uncomfortable things at times. Often our challenge is that it is impossible for us to see how we can succeed with our limited mortal perspective. Sometimes we forget that God knows us better than we know ourselves and does not ask us to bear more than we are able to bear with His help. Sometimes we also forget that when He asks us to accomplish something, He will be there with us helping us step by step, if we have faith.  We can learn much from how the Lord responded to Enoch’s concerns. Not surprisingly, He did not say, “Excellent points Enoch, I had forgotten about your weaknesses! Thanks for the reminder, I guess I better rethink this and find someone more qualified for the job.” He already knew Enoch was not perfect, in fact He knew more about Enoch’s weaknesses than Enoch did, but he also knew of his potential. Listen closely to His response as He addressed each of Enoch’s concerns:
“And the Lord said unto Enoch: Go forth and do as I have commanded thee, and no man shall pierce thee. Open thy mouth, and it shall be filled, and I will give thee utterance, for all flesh is in my hands, and I will do as seemeth me good.”
“Say unto this people: Choose ye this day, to serve the Lord God who made you.”
“Behold my Spirit is upon you, wherefore all thy words will I justify; and the mountains shall flee before you, and the rivers shall turn from their course; and thou shalt abide in me, and I in you; therefore walk with me.” 
Despite Enoch’s fears and weaknesses, God was sticking to the original plan and calling him to be a prophet, with the promise His power would be with him.
After all that was promised to Enoch, I love the invitation he is given “therefore walk with me.” When we walk with someone, we feel companionship, they can guide us, we can lean on them for support, and we arrive at the destination together. When Heavenly Father asks us to do hard things, He is inviting us to tap into His power and to walk with Him. Through walking with Him, we will contribute to accomplishing His work and will grow to become like Him in the process. When we let God prevail,  He will make more out of our lives than we can on our own. 
As you consider what you can do to maintain open channels to feel Heavenly Father’s love and confidence for you, I have four invitations:
- Regularly Pray – Prayer opens the conduit to heaven. When we frequently do our best to communicate with our Father in Heaven through prayer, we give Him the opportunity to communicate with us. Please make it a practice to pray every morning and night. Write down the impressions you receive as you sincerely share the desires and questions of your heart, and you will grow to realize how Heavenly Father communicates with you. As President Nelson has taught, you will “grow into the principle of revelation.”
- Regularly Study the Scriptures - When we study the scriptures; we are reading the words of God and are promised that we can hear His voice.
Probably not in every word, or in every moment, but we will hear the messages we need from Him when we need them. Just like I heard His voice speak to my heart in a hotel room in Africa. We are blessed when we invest the time to let Him speak to us through the scriptures.
- Regularly Read Your Patriarchal Blessing – There is not a better way to learn of Heavenly Father’s love and confidence in you than through the words of your patriarchal blessing. Despite how obvious this should be to all of us, sometimes we may go months and even years without reading our patriarchal blessings. We need to frequently return to these words God has spoken directly to us.
- Regularly Serve Others – Through service, we learn to love God and love others. In many cases, service allows us to see others as God sees them and feel of His love for them. Remember that when we are doing what He asks us to do, He invites us to walk with Him. When we walk with Him, we learn to love Him and feel His love for us. I have learned this on many occasions as a husband, a father, a friend, a neighbor, a ministering brother, and through church callings. Also, when you consider who, where, and how to serve, do not forget to serve others by attending the temple as often as your circumstances permit.
In conclusion, the ultimate evidence of God’s love and believe in us is the gift of his Son.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life.” 
Our Father in Heaven did send His Son because He loves us, but the magnitude of His sacrifice would not have been justified if He did not also believe in us. Our Father in Heaven believes you and I will apply the atonement of Jesus Christ in our lives and through obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel we will become more like Him and return to His presence. Please strive to see yourself as He sees you.
I close with my hope and prayer that the knowledge of God’s love and confidence will elevate our motivation and desire to reach our potential in this life and the next, in the name of Jesus Christ amen.
 1 Nephi 11:16-17
2 See Moses 1:39
4 Pearl of Great Price, Article of Faith 1.
5Hymns of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, (1985), 301
6 Ann Voskamp, The Broken Way: A Daring Path Into the Abundant Life, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2016), 82-83.
7Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Four Titles,” Ensign, May 2013, 58.
8 Edward Kimball and Andrew Kimball, Jr., Spencer W. Kimball (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1977), 40, 42.
9 ibid 46
10 ibid 182, 278, 310
11 ibid 249-251, 256, 260-262, 264-265
12 ibid 263
3 ibid 301
4 ibid 302-307
5 ibid 389, 395-397
6 ibid 394, 398-401
7 Francis M. Gibbons, Spencer W. Kimball: Resolute Disciple, Prophet of God (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1995), 253.
8 See David A. Bednar, “Bear Up Their Burdens with Ease,” Ensign, May 2014, 87.
9 See Exodus 4:10-17
20 See Moses 6:31-34
2 See D&C 84:88
22 Moses 6:32-34
23 See Russell M. Nelson, “Let God Prevail,” Ensign, Nov. 2020, 92.
24 See Ezra T. Benson, “Jesus Christ – Gifts and Expectations,” Ensign, Dec. 1988, 4.
25 See Russell M. Nelson, “Revelation for the Church, Revelation for Our Lives,” Ensign, May 2018, 96.
26 See D&C 18:36
27 John 3:16
 For an in-depth and insightful description of Enoch’s call to be a prophet refer to: Book of Mormon Central Podcast: Jan. 17 – 23 (Genesis 5; Moses 6), Come Follow Me Insights with Taylor and Tyler.
 Moses 6:31