In that time that we call “the beginning,” a grand council was held in the heavens in preparation for spirits to come down to this earth. The plan of salvation was presented, and we rejoiced at its perfect beauty and love.
Two sons of God offered themselves to the Father: "Here am I, send me." But Jesus Christ, the Father’s “chosen and beloved from the beginning,” added: "Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever" (see Moses 4).
The Savior, the eldest and only-begotten son, was one in purpose and desire with his Father. He loved us during the pre-existence when he was our brother. When he came down to the earth — partaking of mortality, beginning as a helpless baby — he yet came as Lord and God, as Creator of Earth and Heaven — and as the trusted one of the Father.
Throughout his life, Jesus always deferred to his Father and reminded those who listened to him and followed him: “And behold, I am the light and the life of the world; and I have drunk out of that bitter cup which the Father hath given me, and have glorified the Father in taking upon me the sins of the world, in the which I have suffered the will of the Father in all things from the beginning” (3 Nephi 11:11, emphasis added). Never for one moment did the Savior forget who he was and how and why he came here: “I am Jesus Christ; I came by the will of the Father, and I do his will” (Doctrine and Covenants 19:24).
As Brigham Young so powerfully expressed it: “He did nothing of himself. He wrought miracles and performed a good work on the earth; but of himself he did nothing. He said, ‘As I have seen my Father do, so do I.’ ‘I came not to do my will, but the will of him that sent me’ ” ("Discourses of Brigham Young," p. 26).
Has it been so with others whom the Father has sent? Surely, following the vision of the Father and Son in the Sacred Grove, Joseph Smith had no doubt that God had called him up out of obscurity, that God knew and loved and, in some way, needed him. In his heart he must have responded, for the first of countless times: “Here am I, send me.”
His entire life was given over to the work of the Father; all he might have desired to achieve or experience as a mortal man was freely subdued to that will. He once stated emphatically: “I made this my rule, ‘When the Lord commands, do it’ ” (History of the Church, 2:170).
In a letter to his wife, Emma, in 1832, the Prophet Joseph wrote: “I will try to be contented with my lot. God is my friend. In Him I shall find comfort. I have given my life into His hands. I am prepared to go at His call. I count not my life dear to me, only to do His will” ("Joseph Smith, A Photobiography," McCloud, p. 61).
Brigham Young established his own trustworthiness from the beginning. As soon as he accepted the truth, he accepted a life of service. After journeying with the Prophet Joseph in Zion’s Camp he wrote: “ this was the starting point of my knowing how to lead Israel. I watched every word and summed it up, and I knew just as well how to lead this kingdom as I know the way to my own house. It is God within me; and God upon me; God by day and by night, and it is for his kingdom on the earth” ( "Brigham Young: American Moses," by Leonard J. Arrington, p. 46).
Brigham Young left his family in Nauvoo to serve a mission to Great Britain. They were too ill to even care for their most basic needs, and he was sick himself, wrapped in a quilt against the cold, because he did not have an overcoat. Yet he was able to write to Mary Ann: “You may well think that my hart feeles tender toards you, when I relies your patiants and willingness to suffer in poverty and doe everything you can for my children and for me to goe and due the thing the Lord requires of me this will bring honor to the name of our Redeemer on the Earth also upon our heds and the best of all is we shall have eternal life” (HC 4:347-348; original spelling used).
What of the “run and mill” of us? In the early days of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, men and women did not consider themselves beneath the notice of the Lord. Too many times they had experienced his hand in their lives; too many times they had been prompted to help others, when near the point of destitution themselves. They did not doubt that their Father in heaven knew their name — knew their needs — knew their hearts. "Here am I, send me" was the very devotion by which the flame of the Restoration was lit and the torch carried to the valleys of the mountains and beyond.
We stand at the beginning of a new year — with that sense of a clean, fresh page of our lives before us, unmarred, unspoiled — a new opportunity to rally the best within us.
We can remember and be encouraged by Brigham Young’s words: “Do you think that the Lord has his eye upon a great many? I do not think there is anybody now on the earth, that has lived before us, or that will come after us, but what he knew the Lord created you and me for the purpose of becoming Gods like himself; when we have been proved in our present capacity, and have been faithful with all things he puts into our possession” ("Discourses of Brigham Young," p. 55, 57).
He has set each of us here with the capacity to become like him. He knows our names; he knows our hearts. How deeply satisfying to think that our Father could say, "Call upon John for this work, call upon Mary. I trust them. I know I can count upon them."
"Here am I, send me" is a most worthy desire, to remember who we are, "to do the will of him who sent (us)" (see John 4:34). This is a commendable goal to make into a living, consistent reality in the year to come.
Susan Evans McCloud is author of more than 40 books and has published screenplays, a book of poetry and lyrics, including two songs in the LDS hymnbook. She has six children. She blogs at susanevansmccloud.blogspot.com.