Bryan Pope, BYU-Idaho portfolio management managing director, gave a devotional address on Tuesday, January 18. The address was entitled, “Cleave Unto God.”
Pope began his remarks by telling the story of a returned missionary he met on his mission in the Philippines. Although her family was unsupportive of the Church and her mission, and she had a deformed leg that made her dependent on crutches, the sister bore a powerful testimony of Christ.
When Pope asked her how she handled it all, she shared Jacob 6:5 from the Book of Mormon. The verse reads, “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, I beseech of you in words of soberness that ye would repent, and come with full purpose of heart, and cleave unto God as he cleaveth unto you. And while his arm of mercy is extended towards you in the light of the day, harden not your hearts.”
Pope shared the process of receiving inspiration for the topic of ‘cleaving unto God’ in a recent interview. As Pope thought about what he might say and then asked the Lord what he should speak about, he got a feeling that people need to know that God loves them and is cleaving unto them.
“That feeling of love from Him came into my heart and I just felt like that was the message that should be shared- that God loves us, that He is cleaving unto us, that He is seeking after us,” Pope said.
After deciding on the topic, experiences from Pope’s life when he learned to cleave unto God came into his mind.
One of these experiences came from a summer working on his Uncle Bill’s farm. One morning, while cutting grain in his uncle’s new combine, a series of events led the combine to break. This was important, and Pope was nervous to tell his uncle. However, when told what had happened, Uncle Bill said, “Well you’re a better operator now than you were this morning.” Pope remembered that experience and worked harder than ever before. His uncle’s mercy helped him understand God’s mercy.
“After that moment my feelings towards my uncle changed,” Pope said in the devotional talk. “I had always been a good worker, I was obedient and did my duty, but the mercy my uncle had shown to me was beyond my understanding. He could have crushed me in that moment by validating all the negative thoughts I was having about myself, how stupid I had been, how I had known better, how broken I felt inside, but instead he built me up and use this experience to help me grow.”
In the interview, Pope encouraged students not to get worried about not knowing everything.
“We need to be able to walk forward in faith, knowing the most important things- that our Father loves us, that He’s reaching out to us as a father, that He really is cleaving unto us,” Pope said.