I grew up as a member and attending the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. One of the most beloved hymns in the church, taught to the Primary children, and sung by the adults is “I am a Child of God.” The lyrics, penned by Naomi Randall are quite simple. Simple enough for primary children as young as three to learn. However, as an adult I have come to appreciate the profound message.
I am a child of God
It starts with what we would now call an affirmation. Not just any statement though, this is a secure statement recognizing identity and belonging. If I am a child of God and you are also a child of God, doesn’t that make us family? Any differences we have are secondary to our common ground. We all belong to the same family and we are all loved by the same Heavenly Father. This one statement should bolster confidence and give us an amount of security.
And He has sent me here
I am not here by some cosmic accident. My life has meaning and purpose. I am here for a reason. My choices should reflect my desire to find out that meaning.
Has given me an earthly home
With parents kind and dear
This line may be a little sensitive. Not everyone can claim this. Fortunately, I can. My parents are awesome and they did their best. Not perfect by any means, but they did their best and I never had a doubt of their love.
We will come back to the chorus at the end. For now, let’s go onto verse two.
I am a child of God,
And so my needs are great
I am not needy but I am human. As such, I have many imperfections. Sometimes I just don’t understand. My needs are great.
Help me to understand his words
Don’t preach to me looking down at me. Help me understand the why.
Before it grows too late
None of us has as much time as we think we do. There comes a cut-off point for all of us where we either get it or don’t.
Now for the third verse.
I am a child of God.
Rich blessings are in store;
If I but learn to do his will
I’ll live with him once more.
This is either our ultimate goal or it’s not. No one will force us to win the race, it is up to us.
The chorus that is repeated between the verses is a beautiful pleading. A child pleading to a parent. A lost adult pleading to a friend. A person pleading to a mentor. It is any of us. It is all of us. Any soul who has felt the spark of the gospel message and wanted or needed to know more.
Lead me, guide me, walk beside me,
Help me find the way.
Do not shove me in a direction. Do not drag me on a path.
Lead me which means sometimes you are walking ahead of me showing me the way.
Guide me implies you are walking behind me making sure I now take those steps in the right direction but you are still with me.
Walk beside me. Sometimes what I go through I have to do it on my own. On my own but not alone. You walk right next to me to keep me company but these next few steps are solely up to me.
Help me find the way or in other words, when I get lost or I start wandering in the dark you shine a light on the path and help me get back on it.
Teach me all that I must do
To live with him someday
I can appreciate the fact that I am a life-long student. Always learning, always discovering. At no point in my life do I ever expect to say, “No thanks, I got this.”
To live with Him someday. Again, the whole why of this song. I’m about knowing the whys before I do and this song lays it out simply.
As I mentioned it is a simple hymn. Deceivingly simple because the message is quite profound. It is easy to learn and yet it is able to still a troubled heart. I know because it has calmed my troubled heart.