- God our Father has a Gameplan, and we’re all on the team! If He had a “playbook”, He might borrow a few play titles straight from daytime TV:
For simplicity, this is Our Family Story.I love hearing, and sharing, and reading and telling the story of our Heavenly Father’s plan. I’m in good company, too. Apostle and scholar, Elder Neal A. Maxwell once stated:
“The Lord wants the plan taught plainly and repetitively. And why not? It is God’s plan—not ours! And, given the unimpressive outcomes of man’s plans to solve the world’s problems, aren’t we glad!”
- Elder Neal A. Maxwell, The Great Plan of The Eternal God, 1984
So, What is The Plan?
The Plan encompasses the entire purpose of life. It goes by many titles. The standard is “The Plan of Salvation“. There is also the Plan of… “Happiness“, “Redemption“, and “Mercy“. Different names, same plan. This life on earth is just a small part of that plan.
Long before we were born on this planet, we lived as spirit children (Num. 16:20), in a heavenly home with God our Father. (Ps. 82:6) We were obviously a very large family. (Eph. 1:4) We spent our time developing our personalities, talents, and spiritual gifts. However, eventually, a time comes when the only way a child can progress and become like their parents, is by leaving home and forging out on their own. That time came for us. Our spirit-self needed to come to an Earth, receive a physical body from mortal parents, create our own families, and gain knowledge. During our pre-earth life, (or, “pre-mortal existence”), we were taught important things. However, there were many more things we could only learn as mortals. For all intent and purposes, living on earth serves as not only our continuing education, but also our “practical exam”.
“Such longing for a heavenly home is real… when we rejoice in beautiful scenery, great art, and great music, it is but the flexing of instincts acquired in another place and another time.”
Our Heavenly Father presented and explained The Plan to us in a Grand Council meeting, which we all attended. It was a very exciting day for us! We were finally ready to prove ourselves! We understood we would be born with no conscious memory of who we really are, or what took place before this life. A veil would draw over our minds. That was part of the plan. You could say we are all currently suffering “earth-induced amnesia“. However, we do retain our spiritual memory. This life is our time to live by faith, to make choices, and to prepare to return to live with Our Father again. However, our Father knew in His divine wisdom that we would make many mistakes, we would often fail our exams, we would break His laws and disobey His commands. We would become unclean and unworthy to enter His presence again.
Our Father was not sending us to earth to fail! His purpose was for us to have everlasting joy. Therefore, the Plan provided a way for us to be saved. Jesus Christ was chosen to be our Savior. Our Father would send him to earth, and he would willingly pay the price so that all of our debts could be forgiven. We would have to do our part by accepting his sacrifice in faith, repent, be baptized, and keep our faith to the end.
During that great council in heaven, there was a spirit named Lucifer who wanted to be Father’s chosen to save the world. He wanted to force us to obey, and take all of the glory to himself. He was a smooth talker, and convinced an entire third of our brothers and sisters to follow him in open rebellion against God. There was a great and terrible war in heaven. Lucifer and his followers had to pay the price for their rebellion, and were cast out forever. They will never be able to receive a body. They will never enjoy the blessings of God’s eternal plan of happiness. Lucifer became known as Satan, the devil. He is the great deceiver and angel of darkness. His goal is to try to destroy our Father’s plan, and to destroy us. Satan knows who we are. We opposed, fought and defeated him before this life, and he has not forgotten. Every soul born on this earth chose to follow our Father’s plan and accepted Jesus Christ as our Redeemer. It is important to remember that the war for souls that began in heaven has not ended. Satan is still trying to deceive us into following and worshiping him, and making us miserable. Unfortunately, he has been quite successful.
This life then, is our time to be educated, pass many tests, and hold firmly to Gods gameplan. We have the freedom to choose between right and wrong. It is our assignment to make the correct choices, and to continue to choose to follow God our Father, and our Savior Jesus Christ.
“Life turns out to be just what one would expect of a deliberately constructed proving and tutoring experience which features opportunities, choices, and deprivations. Furthermore, there is no way around—the only way to go is through! And what a “through” it is! “
Our Father wants us to get “straight A’s”. He has given us textbooks filled with His Words to study for the answers, and representatives to be our instructors. He has also provided our very own personal lifelines to speak with Him, and to receive His direct answers.
“…this mortal school produces some soaring triumphs but also a history filled with individual mistakes. But we should not blame the school, nor the curriculum! Least of all, the Schoolmaster! Furthermore, we dare not lecture Him on the plight of His students!”
Jesus Christ is the central figure in our Heavenly Father’s Plan of Happiness. Chosen from the beginning, He was the literal Son of God on earth, the Redeemer, the Messiah, The Creator, the Life and Light of The World. Jesus left His heavenly throne, and descended to the depths of humility to do the great work he was assigned to do. Jesus was born in a stable, and cradled in the arms of his mortal virgin mother. He learned to walk, and talk, and grow, and develop wisdom, just like each of us. But Jesus was no ordinary man.
His purpose and mission was critical for every living soul who had ever or would ever live. Through His atoning sacrifice, he paid the debt for all of the mistakes, and bad choices, and sins that no one else could pay. He satisfied the demands of justice, so that mercy could be given. The night before he died, Jesus prayed to our Father for us. He pleaded that we would understand the plan as perfectly as he did. Jesus did everything he was required to do, so that we have the opportunity to return to our Father’s presence again pure, and holy. The choice is now ours whether we will reject his gift, or accept Him, repent, and believe.
It is important to remember that although we have been given the free agency to choose for ourselves in this life, we do not have control over the consequences attached to our choices. God sets the rules, and the consequences attached.
“…being free requires being responsible…and the willingness to accept the consequences of one’s decisions.”
Jesus conquered death for all mankind. His spirit left his body as he hung upon the cross. The great Redeemer died. His body was shut in a tomb. On the third day, his spirit returned to His body, and He arose, whole and perfect. One day, every human spirit that has ever lived on earth will be reunited with their body in perfect form. All will be resurrected, just like Jesus.
I have shared with you the beautiful and marvelous Plan of God. This is God’s “Gameplan” of happiness, redemption, meaning, mercy and love. Right now, wherever you are, and whatever you are doing, whether you know it yet, or not, you are a part of the plan. As a Latter-Day Saint, I rejoice in proclaiming the message of Jesus Christ. It is a message of peace and hope to the world. It is the most important message you will ever hear and choose to follow. If you have ever pondered the big questions about LIFE, what it is all about, and what happens next, all the answers are found in our Father’s plan.
We are all children of The Father. As the offspring of Diety, we are brilliant, creative, glorious beings with infinite capacity . Because we have free agency to choose happiness or misery, good or evil, kindness or cruelty, love or hate… some are making terrible choices. Some of our brothers and sisters are being deceived by Satan, causing untold suffering to others, and chaos in the world. This is Satan’s goal. He is working diligently to keep our minds and hearts blind, and our souls far away from God. But knowledge of our Savior and the plan of Salvation brings us Hope, and Power.
Eventually, there will be a judgment, and a final grade. No matter what circumstances we have been born to on this earth, no matter what we are required to endure, each of us has a divine purpose, and each of us have the potential to be perfected, just like our Father, and His Son. (Matt 4:48, Eph 4:13, 1 John 3:2, 2 Nephi 28:10).
In the “Super Bowl of Life”, following the gameplan and winning the good fight promises rewards beyond our imagination!
The following video is a beautiful testimony of love for our Savior, and our Father’s plan. The song is by Kenneth Cope, entitled “Your Father’s Child“.