As followers of Christ, we are well acquainted with all the things we need to do in order to be law-abiding members of His kingdom. How familiar are we with the feelings that we should feel as His followers?
There is so much of Christ’s love for us to accept, and joy for us to experience, as we are ready to do so! In Alma 36:20 we are introduced to the joy that replaced pain Alma had been feeling: “And oh, what joy, and what marvelous light I did behold; yea, my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain!”
Alma had spent his life, to this point, persecuting the saints of Christ and living a life devoid of light and truth. He had no comprehension of the goodness and love that was available.
As I go about day to day activities, I’ve become more of a people watcher. It’s interesting to note the vibe’ and the disposition of folks as they come and go; as they interact; and as they carry themselves. Often, it is clear that many who pass me do not yet have that understanding – even in a small way- of who they really are, and how much love our Father in Heaven has for them… Of how much love the Savior has for them.
One lovely quote I’ve seen is this one: “The name of Jesus is the one lever that lifts the world.” Author is unknown. Many have probably shared a similar sentiment in different words. It’s a beautiful sentence!
Jesus Christ lifts up the world and anyone in it. All we need do is ask; seek; commit to Him as much as we are able. He fills in the rest. Where there was darkness in us, we feel light. Where there was despair, we feel hope. The ugliness that once seemed sewn to our mortal soul is beautified with the Savior’s grace and goodness.
As surely as a morning sunrise shines in the skies and lifts our soul for another day, the sunset we may too often feel can be replaced with that same kind of light.
How do we get to the point of pondering – and believing, as did David, when he said,
“Thou, which hast shewed me great and sore troubles, shalt quicken me again, and shalt bring me up again from the depths of the earth.” [Psalms 71:20]
I don’t really know. Because the Lord is a personal tender. He works with each of us according to our spirit, our tendencies. He tends through the spiritual avenues that would best help each one of us personally.
But I do know:
- Greater trust brings greater peace. We don’t know the end from the beginning from the back from the front. But He does. We’re on His timetable, so to speak. Because “…my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.” [Isaiah 55:8]
- We are worth more than we have any understanding. Our heritage is a divine one. Because we have temporarily forgotten does not lessen our royal standing. And our God has not forgotten! He sees us with eyes that “know.”
- His love can fill up deep holes. Quickly. If there have ever been times you’ve felt empty – really empty – where did you go to try and fill the hole? How? With whom? I’ve felt empty in my stomach; in my heart; in my soul. Sometimes I’ve taken the long road to Him. When I’ve gone straight to the One Source, I have found – or remembered – that Christ is always full. Full of goodness, Full of light. Full of love. In an instant, we may be filled!
- The Atonement must be taken into account. Christ bled from every pore. It is not only one or two drops of that blood that applies to us. It was every single pore that He bled for us. Personally. When we can begin to see that every single drop of blood spilt was for us… Every one of us…our hearts begin to change. We begin to accept the full Atonement and the more full joy that comes with it. When we begin to understand this part of the Atonement, we grasp that we can be filled by the One who is qualified to do so. We are covered. He owns us with His precious blood. It was for us and our needs, sins, illnesses and diversions that he made the offering.
So – to receive or to accept all of Christ’s love we need to continually move closer to Christ. We find fulfillment and joy and love as we:
“O then, my beloved brethren, come unto the Lord, the Holy One. Remember that his paths are righteous. Behold, the way for man is narrow, but it lieth in a straight course before him, and the keeper of the gate is the Holy One of Israel; and he employeth no servant there; and there is none other way save it be by the gate; for he cannot be deceived, for the Lord God is his name.” [2 Ne 9:41]
We can choose to carry the burdens, or turn them over to Christ. We may opt to feel devoid or empty; or we may choose to lean on the Everlasting Arm – on the keeper of the gate.
He is full of joy. His counsel was to “be of good cheer” [Matthew 14:27] even in times of duress. He would know all about times of duress. Yet, he remained true. He remained full. And he can fill us too, when we come to the well he offers.
Vickey Pahnke Taylor is a wife, mom, and grandmother who joined the LDS Church as a teenager. She has worked for many years to share her testimony of Jesus Christ with other folks. Please visit her website at www.goodnessmatters.com She created this website, her latest venture, as a place to share goodness and offer hope.
Her propensity for being the queen of embarrassing moments notwithstanding, she sums up her journey thus far like this: “It’s a Wonderful Life.” She has taught Church youth & family programs for 25 years, has written books, hundreds of columns, & created hundreds of songs all with the intent of growing goodness and pointing people to Christ. She loves the mountains, the ocean, driving with her husband, her kids and grandchildren, and eating brownies.