So often in the church we focus on the great achievements, prophecies and revelations that were received by the great prophets of old and by our modern day prophets. These men were called of God to lead and direct His church and to help show us the way back to return to Him. I’m profoundly grateful for what these men did, the trials and sacrifices that they endured in order to provide the truths that we now have in the church.
That being said, all of their work and all of ours would ultimately be all for naught had it not been for one carpenter’s son. A boy who instructed the priests in the temple and who would one day walk on water, allow the blind to see and the dead to walk again. A man from Galilee who quite literally had the weight of the entire human race, resting upon His shoulders.
I understand and respect those individuals who view Jesus as a great philosopher and teacher. But to me, He is not only the Savior of the world, but He is in fact my personal Redeemer. There will undoubtedly be those individuals who view belief in the resurrection and in the Atonement as irrational, but that irrationality is precisely what makes faith real. Christian faith is one of the great wonders of humanity. It binds billions of souls across generations and cultures and continues to work good thousands of years after the death of Christ. That to me is miraculous.
Regardless of where we are at in our lives and the mistakes we may have made, the atoning power of Christ is here to provide us our own, incredibly personal story of redemption.
Christ’s atonement gives me hope and helps me to understand that though I may falter and make mistakes in this life, there will always be a way out and there will always be someone in Christ who perfectly understands the situations, trials and problems I face. Not only is He sympathetic to my situation but to be more precise He is empathetic to them. Through His suffering in the garden, He was able to empathize not only my trials, pains and sufferings but those of all mankind throughout history. Some may chalk this up to religious fervor but even if it was, the hope that resides within me is still just as real as any other motivational power here on Earth.
Every one of us face challenges that in its entirety, cannot be fully understood by anyone else; regardless of the well-meaning intentions of those around us. Every one of us have made mistakes that have not only hurt ourselves, but those whom we love around us. Every one of us have felt the pain that making those wrong decisions have brought.
We’ve all faced those days where we kneel down in fervent prayer pleading “Lord, I need thee now.” Those days where, due to no fault of our own, we face unbelievable pain due to the decisions and choices made by others. Those days that where we arise from a pillow soaked with a night’s worth of tears. Days where we literally cannot get up because of the grief and sorrow of losing a loved one. Nights where the warmth of the morning sun seem like it will never come.
However, because of Him we all have someone whom we can turn to that completely, and fully understands the pains and trials we have gone through/are going through. Someone who is completely empathetic and understanding to the pains of losing a loved one who were so near and dear to our hearts.
Because of Him we have a personal, living Savior who’s entire mission in life is to succor those in need, provide hope to those who cannot see a way out and to help us understand our place and our value in His eyes.
Because of Him, those mourning parents who have lost children too early in this life, have the knowledge that all individuals, those children included will be resurrected once again.
Because of Him, all of us are offered second chances from the mistakes we inevitably make in this life.
Because of Him, Elder Holland’s statement rings true:
However late you think you are, however many chances you think you have missed, however many mistakes you feel you have made or talents you think you don’t have, or however far from home and family and God you feel you have traveled, I testify that you have not traveled beyond the reach of divine love. It is not possible for you to sink lower than the infinite light of Christ’s Atonement shines.
As painful, hopeless and dark as the trials we face in life sometimes seem to be, because of Him, they can provide us with the spiritual experiences that are so incredibly personal, that our faith and testimony in this gospel truly does “come forth polished as gold.”
Because of Him, we can have the faith to look forward to the glorious Sunday morning that will come to all of us as we continue to look towards Him. The glorious Sunday morning that eliminated the pains and sorrows only felt a few days before.
Because of Him, we ultimately have the opportunity to live with our families once again and to feel His eternal embrace once again.