The very worst has happened – a night of horror past all imaginings. You do not even know where you are. The darkness is so thick you cannot see your hand before your face. It seems like weeks since the storms and earthquake and this terrible, impenetrable darkness began.
You do not know where your spouse and children are. You are bereft. Are their voices some of the ones whose pitiful screams you can hear? How can you reach them, rescue them?
The ground breaks at your feet and you pull back. Trembling in a fear you have never experienced, you know your life may end in minutes. It does not matter that your lovely clothes are in rags, that your spacious dwelling has been destroyed. All you will take with you is your identity. And what, after all, is that? Are you ready to see your Lord, to report all of your earthly accomplishments? The thought makes you shrink. Though used to thinking of yourself as well educated and self-sufficient, you know that by yourself you are nothing.
You didn’t perpetrate murders, thefts, or carry out heinous crimes. But what did you do? You spent your earthly life acquiring things and then trying to hold on to them. You were deaf to the cries of the poor. You turned the stranger away from your door who came in search of work. You forgot your prayers and the words of the prophets. But you never did anything really wicked. Why is it that you feel you have wasted your life?
Then suddenly, a wave of wretchedness washes over you. What good is life alone? What about your tender spouse, your precious children whom you failed to teach the ways of God so they could be prepared to meet him?
Then, suddenly a voice thunders through the stormy blackness, listing all the terrible destructions that have come to pass. Pulling your rags around you, your hands scraped and bleeding, you realize that the voice is telling you that these things came to pass because your people cast out the prophets and would not believe them.
The tone of the voice changes, with a voice of heartbroken pleading: “O all ye that are spared because ye were more righteous than they, will ye not now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you?
Yea, verily I say unto you, if ye will come unto me ye shall have eternal life. Behold, mine arm of mercy is extended towards you, and whosoever will come, him will I receive; and blessed are those who come unto me.”
Unable to stand, you collapse on the earth that seems to be stilling. Heal? Heal? Heal? The word rings in your head. Is there really healing for such as you? Is there another chance? He said “arm of mercy.” Does that mean you still can be forgiven? That you won’t have to face the God you always knew was there with your sins burning inside you as they are now?
The voice is continuing:
Behold, I am Jesus Christ the Son of God. I created the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are. I was with the Father from the beginning. I am in the Father , and the Father in me; and in me hath the Father glorified his name.
… And as many as have received me, to them have I given to become the sons of God; and even so will I to as many as shall believe on my name, for behold, by me redemption cometh.
Yes! This is the Christ the prophets were always telling them of! Redemption! Yes, you can be redeemed, you can have a second chance. You were so busy before, too busy to listen to words you now know are the most important you will ever hear. Become a son of God! You cannot begin to realize what that means.
Now you are prostrate on the ground, in tears. You pound the ground in futility. There has been a mistake. You do not deserve this mercy. You have put other things before Him all your life. Why have you been saved?
And ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit. And whoso cometh unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, him will I baptize with fire and with the Holy Ghost.
At last. Something that in someway seems to qualify you. At this moment, you are truly stripped of pride. Your heart is breaking at this moment over your own perversity and blindness. You are contrite, desiring above all things that you might be forgiven by this powerful being who has destroyed your world and yet left you unharmed. But you are less than the dust and He is the Lord of the Universe. How can he care for such an one as you?
Behold I have come unto the world to bring redemption unto the world, to save the world from sin.
Therefore, whoso repenteth and cometh unto me as a little child, him will I receive, for of such is the kingdom of God . Behold, for such I have laid down my life, and have taken it up again; therefore repent, and come unto me ye ends of the earth and be saved.
Does he mean that His whole purpose is to save you? That He gave His life for you?
Yes. That is exactly what he means.
(Scriptural references taken from 3 Nephi 9:13-22)