Friday, April 3, 2015

The Biggest Battle that Ever was Won


For the last several months I have been wrestling with a trial of the soul. It is one that has brought me to my knees again and again and has had me crying out for relief. In many ways I feel a bit like Job, whom the Lord allowed Satan to tempt and persecute, not because of anything wrong that Job had done but because Job needed to know what it felt like to struggle and to turn to the Lord.

As a child I was taught to imagine Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane suffering and bleeding and to ask, "How many drops were shed for me?"  The image of Christ bleeding for my sins has been a powerful image in my life and I have felt guilt and sadness imagining that I added to the already heavy burden of Jesus's load. Yet recently, I have felt my understanding of the Atonement deepen. I've realized that the Atonement was not just about suffering the darkness, despair and anguish of our trials and sins, but it was also an enabling power that conquered the powers of darkness and death.

If I were an artist the image I would paint would be of Jesus kneeling in the Garden, while every devil and force of darkness in the world gathered around, throwing everything they had at Him. In my mind His agony in the Garden wasn't just sorrow for sin, but also a battle against evil. He took on Satan and all the evil of the universe by Himself.  He felt the full weight of the powers of darkness-- the very worst-- and did not get lost or over come by it.  He conquered them, and because He did it we can do it. 

In "Walking with the Women of the New Testament" I wrote this about Jesus's experiences in the Garden of Gethsemane, 

"...Christ, the most perfect of all, "descended below them all" (D&C 122:8). In His hours in the Garden, Christ felt all our misery. He felt the chains of darkness wrap around Him and felt the despairing gloom, anger, and fear that threatened to overcome His power. Yet the glory of His Atonement is that He was not overcome by the darkness; He found a way out. Consequently, His message to each of us is "come, follow me" (Luke 18:22). He invites us to turn towards Him and follow Him because He, and only He knows the way out-- out of sin, out of darkness and out of despair." (Page  78)

I have felt the truth of those words over and over. There are times when I feel like the trials in my life are like wading through midst of darkness and confusion, times when I feel like I would like to give in to them and give up, and times when I feel like a totally lost and hopeless cause. Yet, the power of the Atonement in my life is that I know that there is a way out. There is a way to be happy when you feel like you will never be happy again, there is a way to repair what seems broken beyond repair, there is power to be found when you are weak, and there is a way to find hope and faith when it feels like you have no hope.

The miracle for me this Easter season is that He felt it all, all the evil and pain of this world, and found the way out... and all I have to do is follow Him.






2 comments:

  1. Thank you for your powerful testimony. I've been studying grace and the enabling power of the Atonement and this is an aspect of Christ's suffering I had not considered. It truly is wonderful.

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