The topic of repentance and the Atonement of Jesus Christ has come up many times in my studies lately and in my institute class last night. Then, this morning as I was studying for my D&C class, I had the EFY 2014 soundtrack going. This particular song, Listen came on as I was writing about D&C 16:6. It says “And now, behold, I say unto you, that the thing which will be of the most worth unto you will be to declare repentance unto this people, that you may bring souls unto me, that you may rest with them in the kingdom of my Father.” It got me thinking about my own repentance and how I personally use the Atonement my Savior freely gave. I don’t use it nearly as often as I should. I don’t even THINK about it near as much as I need to. Repentance is a tool we need to use every day of our lives. It comes BECAUSE of the Atonement, which is not just there for when we make mistakes and commit sin. It’s there for when we’re stressed, in physical, emotional, mental or spiritual pain. It’s there for when we just want to give up and not have to be strong anymore. Christ suffered so that we may be saved from our sins, but also that we may be exalted and live with God again (1 Peter 3:18). Repentance and the Atonement is something I need to incorporate more in my every day life so that I can experience the joy, love, peace and upliftment that only comes from God and His Spirit on a daily basis. I need to think about it more than just once a week when I take the sacrament.
Matthew 26:40-41 is when the Savior is in the Garden of Gethsemane. He finds his disciples asleep and asks “What, could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
When I read that last night, I realized something. This happens three times – He asks them to stay awake with Him THREE times and every time, they still fall asleep. And three times, He shakes them awake to ask “Could ye not watch with me one hour?” I don’t think that the Apostles were trying to defy the Savior’s request. Nor do I think was He particularly upset with them for falling asleep. They were simply so exhausted, considering it being the middle of the night (or rather, very early in the morning). They were mortal humans. He merely took the opportunity to teach them that sometimes we ARE too exhausted to stay awake and keep going, but when that happens, He will still be awake. He will watch for us – He will be with us when we’re not strong enough on our own. And after a little while, He’ll shake us awake again to remind us He’s still there if we want to choose to rely on His strength. And He will suffer for us during those times when we try to stay awake and when we choose to be with Him so that we don’t have to, so that we can rest and gain strength to try again.
Listen to this song again(same as above). Think about how you use the gift of Repentance, the gift of the Atonement in your life. Do you ever feel lost, alone, non-progressive? Do you sometimes forget that you DO belong, that you have great potential? Do you get caught up in the stresses, pains, distractions and craziness of life? Do you take time often throughout each day to just stop and listen/look for His love, His Spirit, His comfort? Is He at the center of your life so that when the winds come and the storms of life threaten to knock you down, you’re able to take His hand and get through it? If you sometimes forget it, how quick are you to remember Him? Have you remembered Him today?
Sometimes we fall. Sometimes we get lost and off the path that leads us towards Him. Sometimes we turn our backs on Him, whether on purpose or simply because we’re tired. But that’s just how life is. We’re human. We make mistakes. We sin (Mosiah 3:19). But the amazing thing? We do have someone who is ALWAYS there waiting for us to recognize that we walked away from Him. He is our safety. He is our peace and calm in the storms of the world. He is our protector and guide for when those storms knock us off course. He’s constantly calling for us to come back and reaching to grab our hands to bring us back to where we need to be. He even will walk towards us to get us out of the deepest, darkest holes of despair you can’t even imagine getting into. There is no place that He can’t reach you.
Always remember that no matter what you’ve done in your life, you still matter. You still have worth. You still are loved. You still are a Child of a loving, merciful and kind Father in Heaven. Always remember that no matter how far you’ve gone off the path of righteousness and light, He’s only a step away, waiting for that time you call out to Him and ask Him to help you make your way back. It won’t be an easy or short journey – you still have to walk back the way you came, but as long as you’re choosing to walk back to the Light, to turn your back on the darkness, He will be holding your hand, even carrying you, as you take step after step to get back to where He needs and wants you to be in order to live with Him again.