Sister Susan Orme, a mathematics professor at BYU-Idaho, addressed students during the Tuesday devotional on the topic of the Savior’s love. Her inspiration came from specifically noticing the word “encircle” during her scrupture study. She noticed the word is used 19 times in the scriptures. In context, it only appears when the Savior’s love or the devil’s snare or chains of hell are described.
According to her devotional address “Encircled in the Arms of Our Savior’s Love,” her notice of the word “encircled” began when she read 2 Nephi 1:15 where Lehi describes how he was “encircled about eternally in the arms of [God’s] love.” She wondered what it takes to feel the encompassing love from God, so she further investigated the scriptures.
In an interview with BYU-Idaho Radio, Sister Orme acknowledged that being encircled must only feel good if it is by the Savior’s love and not by the chains of Satan. She invites those who feel encircled by “chains of darkness” to seek out the Savior through repentance.
“One of the most powerful messages of the scriptures and our prophet is that this is a church of hope and of repentance and our Savior is always there with his arms reaching out to us to bring us back,” Sister Orme said. “So, I would invite anyone who feels that way like they can’t shake off those chains that they can.”
Sister Orme encouraged students to invite the spirit one moment at a time, then one day at a time. She knows that changing is a process but also that the small changes will begin to make a huge impact on the way you feel about yourself and God. She testified that He hears our prayers regardless of how sin-ridden we've become.
Sister Orme advises those who feel the Lord does not hear their prayers to find a place of peace and serenity where they can connect with God. Her favorite peaceful place is the temple, but she also finds comfort during solo four-wheeler rides on secluded trails where she has space to think and receive revelation.
A peaceful place can also be any room or space dedicated to good things through the pictures on the walls and other physical traits. Sister Orme believes that being deliberate about what we view, listen to and surround ourselves with in the home has a small yet significant role in drawing us closer to God and in being encircled by His love.
“When I think about pictures on the walls in my home, if I can see a picture of the Savior, my hope is that I’ll make better choices,” Sister Orme said. “I still don’t. I still make mistakes. I still choose not to do the best that I can, but with the pictures of the Savior, and the temple, and my family watching over me in my home I tend to strive to be better at making those good choices.”
She also encouraged students to reach out and share love with those around them. She reasons that the results will broaden your circle of fellowships, lead to more fulfilling friendships and maybe even soften hearts to Gospel messages in the future. She feels fellowhip is so importnant becasue reaching out in love can benefit both the giver and receiver of love.
“I think one of the biggest things there is that when we fellowship and become someone’s friend and love them for who they are, they are more open to the Gospel and to being taught the Gospel,” she said. “Maybe not this week, maybe not this month, maybe in a few years, but we can’t ever give up on them and we can’t base our friendship and our love for them on whether or not they have accepted the Gospel in our timeframe.”
At the conclusion of her talk, Sister Orme pointed out how the position of the Savior’s hands on the famous Christus statue are outstretched and open, waiting to encircle us with love. She bore testimony that our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ know each of us and will help us overcome trial if we seek to include Them in our lives.