The Strengthening and Enabling Power of the Atonement

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    “Last night my boy had to learn a tough lesson. We were at the ballpark watching a baseball game on the Major League Field, while my son was watching some friends play their game on the Peewee Field, toward the end of the game he comes over to me and says, “I was throwing a rock at the dumpster, and it bounced and just baaaaarely hit a car by accident!” I was questioning him and told him we needed to go look, and if there was damage we needed to tell the owners – the fear started to rise in him…”What’s going to happen to me? Are they going to call the police? What will they do?” And I let him feel alllll of those feelings, because you better believe I was not happy.

    He took me to the car and there was the rock laying right next to the driver’s side door, and a small dent and paint scratch. I told my son how expensive it is if this person chooses to have this fixed, and told him we needed to wait to find out whose car it was. We stood there as the game finished, what seemed like an eternity to him, and we were able to track down the owner of the car. We told him what happened and showed him the damage.

    After rubbing it with his fingers for a minute, he looked up and said, “You know what, I’m parked inside the ballpark, and I should’ve never parked in this spot, they’re just kids and accidents happen. Don’t worry about it.” Of course I asked him if he was sure? I turned to my son and asked him if he heard him, and he said, “Yes, thank you,” with his head hung.

    We got in the car and drove away, and looking in the rear view mirror I asked him, “Do you understand what that man just did?” And he looked up at me and said, “He paid for it.”

    There couldn’t have been a more perfect answer. Because of this man’s kindness I was able to explain to my son what grace really is. He forgave you, when you didn’t deserve it. He took the blame. He took your punishment away, even though you did wrong. If he fixes the car, he will pay for what you did. And then I was able to explain what Jesus did for us on the cross in a new and fresh way, maybe in a way that my son won’t soon forget. Today my guess is he will wake up thankful for a new day, and especially thankful for grace. (And to the man, who drove away from the ballpark in a car with an extra scratch or two, your kindness left an eternal impact and I pray the Lord returns grace to you in the same way you extended it toward my son.)”

     

    This story wasn’t one of my own experience, but it really tugged at my heart strings. I read it on Facebook a couple weeks ago, and I just had to share it.  On ChurchofJesusChrist.org, it says, “The word grace, as used in the scriptures, refers primarily to enabling power and spiritual healing offered through the mercy and love of Jesus Christ.” To gain the enabling power, we must follow Him and live our lives by obeying the gospel. And when we obey, we are spiritually strengthened.

    Grace is one of the greatest gifts from our Heavenly Father given through Jesus and without this divine grace, no one could return back to Him – as it says in 2nd Nephi 11:5: And also my soul delighteth in the covenants of the Lord which he hath made to our fathers; yea, my soul delighteth in his grace, and in his justice, and power, and mercy in the great and eternal plan of deliverance from death. I know I am personally grateful for this amazing gift. I’ve needed it for such a long time, and I’ll continue needing it until my last day.

     

    Colossians 2:13-14 says:
    And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;

     

    When reading through Atonement topics on the LDS website, something I read stuck with me. It said, “On the eve of Jesus Christ’s suffering in Gethsemane, He issued this benediction to His disciples: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you. … Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27). Of this invitation, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said, “[This] may be one of the Savior’s commandments that is, even in the hearts of otherwise faithful Latter-day Saints, almost universally disobeyed; and yet I wonder whether our resistance to this invitation could be any more grievous to the Lord’s merciful heart.” Elder Holland added, “I am convinced that none of us can appreciate how deeply it wounds the loving heart of the Savior of the world when he finds that his people do not feel confident in his care or secure in his hands.”

    With the strengthening and enabling power of the atonement of Jesus Christ, we can be made whole. Here’s what we can do on our part:

    1. Believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in his only begotten son, Jesus Christ. And not only say you believe, but show it by doing #2
    2. Obey Heavenly Fathers commandments
    3. Attend church and partake of the sacrament every Sunday to remember your covenants
    4. Pray with a broken heart and a contrite spirit
    5. Fast
    6. Study the scriptures daily
    7. Go to the temple

    If we do this, we’ll be able to feel Heavenly Father’s love and be able to remember the promises He and our Savior have made to us.

    David A Bednar said, “The enabling power of the Atonement strengthens us to do and be good and to serve beyond our own individual desire and natural capacity.” Through the grace of the Lord, we can, through faith in the atonement of Jesus Christ and repentance of our own sins, receive aid and strength to do wonderful things that we wouldn’t otherwise be capable to do if we just did it by our own means.

    Since I could remember, I knew about God.

    I knew I believed He existed. But I don’t believe I had a solid relationship with him, until I became a member of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I didn’t know my purpose; I didn’t know why bad things happened to good people or vice versa. I thought what I went through in my childhood was normal, because I saw no different in other families that my parents surrounded themselves with. That is, until I became friends with the Adams’ Family when I was 15.

    I didn’t have the best childhood. My parents didn’t make the best choices. This, in turn caused much trauma mentally to my siblings and myself. Why do bad things happen to innocent people? Because Heavenly Father gave us the gift of agency, or the ability to choose. We have choices, both good and bad, to make. He doesn’t want us to be forced to love Him. He wants us to choose to love and obey Him. And without the bad, can we truly appreciate the good? No, we can’t. There’s no progression, no experience, no possible way to move forward. We could never know love without hate, happiness without sadness, healing without hurting. I have a testimony of the gift of agency. It is one of the greatest gifts Heavenly Father gave us, and one I’m most grateful to have in my life. It is also one of the greatest gifts that everyone misuses more often than not. The opinions of Heavenly Father being a horrible God because he allows bad things to happen just seems ignorant, when in fact Heavenly Father watching us use our agency (whether for good OR bad) makes Him incredibly powerful in my eyes. As a parent, nothing would please me more than to take away any bad experience my kids go through and transfer it to myself. I could handle it. And while our Heavenly Father definitely could, he allows us to use our agency and hopes that we’ll be able to learn from our experiences, grow, and progress. How GREAT He is!! I’ve personally learned from my own experience and have had amazing examples to help me better myself and give my kids the life they deserve.

    So without the Adams’ example when I was 15, without their willingness to follow Jesus Christ and live the gospel, I’m not sure where I would be. But I don’t think of where I might be if they hadn’t been in my life. I think of what I have now. Jesus Christ has taught me that with God, anything is possible, and I mean anything. I can begin to heal from wounds from my past. I can forgive. The enabling power of the Atonement of Christ strengthens me to do those things that I thought was going to follow me for the rest of my life. And though I still have my weak moments, as I’m sure many of you do as well, I’m thankful we can turn to our Heavenly Father in prayer and asked to be strengthened, and all because of the enabling power of the atonement.

    In Alma 7:11-12, it says “And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people, “And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities”. These two verses explain how Jesus lays out the enabling power, and why.

    How, being the suffering and death
    And why, being eternal life and repentance.

     

    I would like to end this blog post with my testimony. I know the gospel is true. I’ve felt the strengthening and enabling power of the atonement of Jesus Christ. If we humble ourselves before God, repent, obey His commandments, we’ll be able to return to live with Him again. And I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

     

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