None of Heavenly Father’s children are exempt from times of loneliness and isolation. For many, the era of social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic has brought “a new sense of isolation” never experienced before.
“I have grown to understand that while we may be physically distant from each other, we do not have to be spiritually distant from Jesus Christ,” wrote Elder Gerrit W. Gong in a blog post released Sunday, June 28. “You and I can use this unique time as an opportunity to ‘hear Him.’”
As part of the Church’s #HearHim initiative, the member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles posted a video on his social media channels and wrote a blog post on staying close to the Savior Jesus Christ during times of loneliness.
One of the great privileges Heavenly Father gives His children is to be able to reach out to His sons and daughters, Elder Gong said in the video.
“As we try to reach out in service to those around us, I think the Lord gives us an extra measure of His love for them, and therefore, for us,” he said. “I think we hear His voice. We feel Him in a different way as we pray to help those around us — that’s one of the prayers He most wants to answer.”
As one learning Spanish, Elder Gong said, “Él nos ama a cada uno, uno por uno” (“He loves every one of us, one by one”).
Studying the scriptures
Elder Gong wrote in a blog post about his recent study of stories and parables of those who feel lost from the Lord. Referencing the parable of the prodigal son, Elder Gong quoted the Savior’s teaching: “For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found” (Luke 15:24).
“What I’ve come to feel in a deep, deep way, is that the first part of the verse refers to our Savior: ‘For this my son was dead, and is alive again.’ Our Savior lives! And because He lives, we are never lost,” Elder Gong wrote. “The second part of the verse states, ‘He was lost, and is found.’ This part reminds me that because of our Savior’s sacrifice, we can always be found.”
He continued, “I find great hope in the assurance that none of us — no matter our circumstances, no matter how alone we may feel, no matter how much we may sense that we cannot connect with the world around us — are ever lost from the Lord.”
The new Church symbol
This understanding that “we are never lost from the Lord” brings added meaning to the new Church symbol President Russell M. Nelson announced during April general conference.
The living Jesus Christ is the cornerstone and He reaches out to all, “calling to us in His own name and in His own voice.”
“The new Church symbol reminds me that you and I are never truly isolated or alone because we have access to the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ. Because He lived and died, we will never be alone,” Elder Gong wrote.
“When we come to Him, His arms encircle us, His love encircles us, and we are more able to ‘Hear Him’ in our lives.”
Elder Gong concluded the blog post, “When you truly know that He sees you, He knows you, and He loves you, you can understand that you are not isolated. You could never be isolated, because you have a knowledge of and a relationship with the living Son of God.”