Divine Signatures: The Confirming Hand of God (Hardcover)
As Latter-day Saints, we know God exists, but sometimes we may wonder, “Heavenly Father, are you really there for me?”
When trials seem beyond our ability to bear, some people lose their spiritual bearings, while others are made even stronger. How can we strengthen our faith and deepen our testimony to the point that we can endure whatever life holds in store for us and emerge stronger than before?
In this unique book, Gerald N. Lund shows how having a correct idea of God's character, perfections, and attributes is essential to our ability to strengthen our faith and develop our testimony.
He also reminds us of how much God loves His children and that He “delights” to bless us, especially when we are striving to do His will. As and example, Elder Lund introduces the idea of a divine signature: “Sometimes blessings come in such an unusual manner and with such precise timing that they accomplish something in addition to blessing us. They so clearly confirm the reality of God's existence that they buoy us up in times of trials.”
Throughout the book, Elder Lund relates story after story — some from Church history, some from his own life, and some from acquaintances — that illustrate the inspiring and life-changing insights he shares.
This book is a powerful blend of personal reflection and deep doctrine that will help us identify the tender mercies and “divine signatures” that abound in our own lives and which will lead us closer to God.
- The Relationship of Faith to Our Knowledge of God
- Tender Mercies and Divine Signatures
Turning Points - A Nudge from Heaven
- Defining Experiences
Answers to Prayers - Miracles Big and Small
- The Paradox of Life
A Strengthening Hand in Times of Extremity
- Hardened Hearts or Softened Hearts?
A Softened Heart Brings Strength to Endure
- Faith, Testimony, and Our Perception of God
Confirmation Following Obedience
- "Our Father Who Art in Heaven"
Divine Signatures That Fortify Faith
- The God We Worship
Preparing the Way
- "I ... Delight to Honor"
Signatures of Appreciation
- "Come unto Me, All Ye That ... Are Heavy Laden"
The Touch of the Master's Hand
- "My Yoke Is Easy, and My Burden Is Light"
Blessings That Come without Asking
- "He Doth Immediately Bless You"
Deliverance from Danger
- What Can I Do to Have More Faith and a Stronger Testimony?
"I Will Go and Do" - Learning by Faith
Blessings Prepared Long Years in Advance Epilogue
A Note from the Author
- Pages: 336
- Size: 6" x 9"
- Published: November 2011
- Book on CD: Unabridged
- Number of discs: 7 discs
- Run Time: 510 minutes
About the Author
Elder Gerald N. Lund received his B.A. and M.S. degrees in sociology from Brigham Young University. He served for thirty-five years in the Church Educational System, and he served as a member of the Second Quorum of the Seventy from 2002 to 2008. He is a prolific and bestselling author of both fiction and nonfiction and is best known for his historical novels, including The Work and the Glory series, Fire of the Covenant, The Kingdom and the Crown series, and The Undaunted. He and his late wife, Lynn, are the parents of seven children.
“Heavenly Father, Are You Really There?”
I love the Primary songs of the Church. And I especially love “A Child’s Prayer.”
Heavenly Father, are you really -there?
And do you hear and answer ev’ry child’s prayer?
Some say that heaven is far away,
But I feel it close around me as I pray.1
The first two lines ask questions that I think virtually every person asks sooner or later in life. Even the Prophet Joseph at one time cried out in utter anguish, “O God, where art thou?” (D&C 121:1).
I think there may be more active, committed Latter-day Saints than we might suppose who sometimes ask themselves those very same questions. And when it comes to the last two lines of the Primary song, there are probably Saints who quietly think, “I am one of those who feels that heaven is far away. When I pray, I do not feel that God is close to me.”
The curious thing is that the people I’m talking about are good people. They serve faithfully in the Church. They aren’t doubters or skeptics, nor are they sinful and rebellious. It’s just that life grinds down on them for so long that they begin to wonder where God is, or what He is doing, and why.
Usually, it is not a question about whether or not God exists. They firmly believe that He does. It’s just that something has happened in their lives that makes them feel like the ground has shifted beneath their feet. After years of striving to live the gospel, they begin to grow weary. As one priesthood leader said to me, “I’m still hanging in there, but the joy is gone.”
Then the questions become more personalized. It’s not just, “Heavenly Father, are you really there?” It’s “Are you really there for me? Do you really know me—my needs, my challenges, my sorrows, my loneliness? When I’m trying so hard, why aren’t you doing more to help me?” Such earnest, yearning questions often bring other questions, questions that are riddled with guilt: “What is wrong with me? Why don’t I feel about God the same way that others say they feel about Him? Or even as I used to feel? What have I done that makes God seem so far away?”
Tribulation—A Great Dividing Point
Life comes at us with great intensity at times, and such times try the soul—the tragic loss of a spouse or parent; losing one’s employment and, in quick succession, one’s home, car, and other possessions; a natural disaster that not only wipes out everything we own, but takes loved ones as well; a bitter divorce and child custody battle; the doctor’s sobering announcement that what you thought might be stomach ulcers is terminal cancer.
President Harold B. Lee called these things, “the inevitable tragedies of life.”2 We don’t like the sound of the word inevitable, but it is an accurate term. Mortal life is filled with challenges, trials, setbacks, disappointments, misfortune, tragedy, disaster, loss, pain, suffering, and sorrow. This is part of our growth experience, for as God said of our coming to earth, “We will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them” (Abraham 3:25). Unfortunately, metal is refined best in the “furnace of affliction” (Isaiah 48:10).
Elder Neal A. Maxwell has said:
God, as a loving Father, will stretch our souls at times. The soul is like a violin string: it makes music only when it is stretched. . . . God will tutor us by trying us because He loves us, not because of indifference! 3
President James E. Faust gave this counsel at a time when he was going through his own challenges with his personal health:
We encounter many bumps, bends, and forks in the road of life that leads to the eternities. There is so much teaching and correction as we travel on that road. . . .
President Brigham Young offered the profound insight that at least some of our suffering has a purpose when he said: “All intelligent beings who are crowned with crowns of glory, immortality, and eternal lives must pass through every ordeal appointed for intelligent beings to pass through, to gain their glory and exaltation. . . . Every trial and experience you have passed through is necessary for your salvation.” 4
The problem is, these personal crises not only drain us physically, emotionally, and spiritually, but they can also create a crisis of faith. The burdens weigh so heavily on us that we grow weary of trying to live with them. It’s like we lose our spiritual bearings. In the Old Testament the Lord says, “I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will heal thee” (2 Kings 20:5). But we’re not sure anymore that He does see our tears. We’re no longer certain that He is hearing our prayers. And we certainly don’t feel like we are healed. The answers that once felt so right to us are no longer satisfying. Questions swirl up in our minds like scraps of paper in a windstorm.
Why is it that one individual can understand the purposes behind this testing process and sometimes come through their trials even stronger than before? And why does someone else, perhaps facing lesser trials, falter under the pressure? What makes the difference? Some accept tribulation with equanimity and calm acceptance, while others grow angry, bitter, or disillusioned.
I don’t find what I call the “simple answers” to those questions very satisfactory. We sometimes hear people speak of someone who turns away from the Lord and say, “Oh, he just lost his testimony.” Or “They just weren’t strong enough.” Or “She didn’t have enough faith.” Or “They just didn’t have sufficient moral courage to endure.”
All of those may be true, of course, but they merely lead to other questions: Why do some people lose their testimonies while others don’t? Why is one person’s faith weak and another’s strong? Where does the courage to endure come from? Is it a gift from God? If so, why didn’t He give me more of it?
Jesus closed the Sermon on the Mount with this parable:
Whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. (Matthew 7:24–25)
I firmly believe that. But what is that rock? What provides the kind of foundation that can help us weather any storm life hurls at us?
How do we strengthen our faith and deepen our testimony to the point that we can endure whatever life holds in store for us and come out stronger than before?
That is the central question this book seeks to answer.
“Perilous Times Shall Come”
Trials and difficulties are the common lot of mankind. They have been from the day Adam and Eve were driven from the Garden of Eden and will be until the beginning of the great Millennium. But our day has additional challenges.
The Apostle Paul said, “This know also, that in the last daysperilous times shall come” (2 Timothy 3:1). And in 1831, two millennia later, the Lord told the Prophet Joseph Smith that the time was “nigh at hand, when peace shall be taken from the earth, and the devil shall have power over his own dominion” (D&C 1:35).
Every day we see or hear examples of just how perilous our day is—-physically, socially, emotionally, morally, financially, politically, and spiritually. If these things were just images and sound bites coming at us through the media, it would be depressing enough. But they have a personal and often devastating impact on individuals and families somewhere, and very often on us.
Living in our day only compounds the likelihood that our faith will be challenged, our strength will be tested, and our testimonies will be tried. So again I ask:
How do we strengthen our faith and deepen our testimony to the point that we can endure whatever life holds in store for us and come out stronger than
The Bedrock of Testimony
When we speak of having a testimony, sometimes we make it sound as if it is something you have or you don’t have. It may be weak or it may be strong, but we speak as though it’s either there or it’s not. I don’t believe it is that simple.
A testimony is a complex thing with many facets. We can be strong in one area but weaker in another. We can have a testimony that Joseph Smith was a prophet but struggle a little with the importance of tithing. We can have varying degrees of testimony about the Book of Mormon, modern revelation, temple work, priesthood power, and dozens of other things. So saying that a person does or does not have a testimony may not be that helpful in trying to discover why they react the way they do to the challenges of life.
Over the years—and particularly in the past ten years—I have come to realize more and more that there is one particular aspect of the gospel that seems to make this critical difference in individuals. I have listened carefully as people talked about those times when they found great strength to endure the challenges they faced. I have listened carefully to others who bitterly or sadly described why they turned away from the Lord. Again and again I noticed that at the core of their experiences were their feelings and expressions about God—-how they felt about Him, what He had or had not done for them, how they perceived Him, and their relationship to Him.
After much thought, I finally tried to put on paper what I had learned.
To strengthen our faith and deepen our testimony to the point that we can successfully endure to the end, we must know for ourselves with a surety that:
God is our Heavenly Father, and we are His literal children.
He and His Beloved Son want us to be happy and eventually come to a fulness of joy.
They know us intimately and love us infinitely.
They want to bless us, and they actually take great joy in doing -so.
I am deeply convinced that this is the bedrock of which Christ spoke. And if we build our house on this rock, we can withstand the rains, the storms, and the floods that may come our way. With this testimony, we will endure. Without it, we are-vulnerable.
I have learned an additional truth, and this, too, will be a primary focus of the book:
If we are striving to live our lives in harmony with these concepts, then Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son, will actually help us in the strengthening and deepening process.
So, is it possible to strengthen our faith and deepen our testimony to the point that we can endure whatever life holds in store for us and come out stronger than -before?
Yes, it is.
1. Janice Kapp Perry, “A Child’s Prayer,” in Children’s Songbook (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1989), 12. Used by permission.
2. Harold B. Lee, The Teachings of Harold B. Lee, edited by Clyde J. Williams (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996), 190.
3. Neal A. Maxwell, All These Things Shall Give Thee Experience (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1979), 28.
4. James E. Faust, “Where Do I Make My Stand?” Ensign, November 2004, 21.
by Customer - reviewed on November 12, 2010
Divine Signatures is a marvelous book--truly a gem! It is really interesting reading this book because it is an easy read. The Author has a real talent with flow. It reads as easily as a fiction title (and that is a high compliment for a doctrinal title!) Because of all the true experiences included in it, it is joyful, heartwarming, touching and is easy to recommend. I know the average customer is female and they will really enjoy this book. I find that I can hardly put it down and want to “sneak” opportunities to read it. Truthfully, the top reason I like it, is because YOU FEEL THE SPIRIT AS YOU READ. That is easy to do via a “real voice” but often difficult to achieve in the “written word.” So, it is interesting to say that I FEEL the spirit easily as I read this book. The Lord must have been close to Elder Lund as he wrote. This message is the Lord’s message and He also wants us to feel His love for us and understand that we are not alone no matter how hard the moment. I can see applications for those who are discouraged, need faith, need hope, are going through trials, want to build faith, learn doctrine, struggling with their testimony, etc. I know I will purchase one for each of my married children. - Nada, customer from Utah
by Lucinda - reviewed on December 06, 2010
I truly love this book. Through this book, Elder Lund has taught me to see the hand of God in my life daily. I recommend this book to everyone.
How to "feel" the hand of God in your life
by Roy - reviewed on December 19, 2010
Of the many,many church books I've read over the last 40yrs., I've NEVER written a book review. There are many excellent books that have inspired us and we've even recommended some to our friends. I bought this book as a Christmas gift for my wife. Before I did one of my great wrapping jobs, I started to scan thru the book. Without going into detail some of the "feelings"(Spirit)that came over me as I read some of the stories, let's just say, I was constrained to read the book cover to cover. After reading the book yourself, you'll come to understand WHY I did the scan before giving it to wife. This will sound dramatic and I hope not sacrilegious, but I feel this strong about the teachings so well illustrated in this work by Bro. Lund, that I'm going to state it anyway. Next to the Book of Mormon, I've never read such a [life impacting] book in my life. To say you will see for yourself, how involved Heavenly Father and His Son really are in the affairs of people's lives, would be an understatement. More importantly, you will "feel" Their love and guidance in yours.
by Shanna - reviewed on February 09, 2011
I enjoyed this book due to the many personal stories which were included, as well as the overall theme of coming to know the character of our Father in Heaven better. In my opinion this is a terrific read for people at any level of gospel understanding from new convert to life-long member.
Recommend to everyone
by Customer - reviewed on February 18, 2011
This book is wonderful, it will give you inspiration and insight that will help you each day as you continue to do the Lords work. It is so moving how many times the Lords Divine Signature is all around us.
Helped me remember
by Liahona - reviewed on February 23, 2011
This book is just what I needed to help me recall all of those special occasions when I have received "divine signatures" from God too. Just what my soul needed! An easy read and very uplifting.
One of the best
by JACQUELINE - reviewed on September 09, 2011
This book will inspire you and you will discover the hand of the Lord I. Your own life. I really recommend it.
spiritually uplifting and entertaining
by Aubrey - reviewed on October 27, 2011
each of the stories of God's confirming hand is fun, uplifting, and is designed to bring one closer to God. I really enjoyed this book.
A Guide on how we can see the Lord's hand in our own lives.
by Katie - reviewed on July 14, 2011
Elder Gerald N. Lund’s new book, Divine Signatures: The Confirming Hand of God, is a book of inspiration, reflection and realization for one’s own life. Divine Signatures is like a guide book to realize how the Lord’s hand is in our lives through countless examples and instructions from prophets. The majority of the book is stories and examples of how the Lord had His hand in people’s lives. Some of the stories are personal experiences from Elder Lund’s life, others are firsthand accounts from people he’s met, and some are stories from the past. The rest of the book gives instruction on how the reader can strengthen their faith and deepen their testimony; preparing them to withstand trials that may come their way. Each story brings a spirit and awareness for the reader. For my own life, this book helped me realize how the Lord has shown His hand in my own life. I became more aware of His hand and help deepen my gratitude for my Savior and the love given for me. Elder Lund’s layout is easy to understand and the stories are able to grasp the reader’s attention. I was never bored as I read this book. I wish he expanded more on the steps to strengthen our testimonies and how to obtain a correct knowledge of God’s attributes. This information was intriguing and caused a desire to learn more but he presented the information well enough. One will just need to seek it out further. I would recommend this book to anyone. If one ever wondered if God ever loved them or was not involved in their lives, this book, I felt, proved otherwise. After reading Divine Signatures, I have developed a better awareness of my life and the blessings I receive on a daily basis. It has also has helped me to turn the Lord during times of trials and to see the “divine signatures” He has placed during those times. In the book, Elder Lund quotes President James E. Faust, “None of us knows the wisdom of the Lord. We do not know in advance exactly how He would get us from where we are to where we need to be…. We encounter many bumps, bends, and forks in the road of life that leads to the eternities.” This I can testify to be true. This book is a marvelous tool to testify of this truth. Read this book!
Learn to notice
by Rachel - reviewed on December 09, 2011
This book made me more aware of the need to look for and notice the times the Lord blesses/guides/instructs me. I think sometimes we experience miracles, but don't realize it at the time. I included some of these stories in letters to my missionary - he loved them!