Tag Archives: alma

Leading up to Christmas – Day 18

<– Day 17                                            Day 19 –>

3 Nephi 1:7

“And it came to pass that they did make a great uproar throughout the land; and the people who believed began to be very sorrowful, lest by any means those things which had been spoken might not come to pass.”

The word ‘sorrowful’ jumps out at me in this verse.  In the previous verse the unbelievers were mocking the believers for their faith.  Now their mocking is escalating.  I know there have been times in my life when someone has mocked me for my faith to the point of making an ‘uproar’.  I felt sorrowful too.  But it didn’t shake my faith.  It made me dig deeper into what my faith is based on and why I believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God.  As Alma, another Book of Mormon prophet, said, “And now as I said concerning faith – faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true.” (Alma 32:21)  These people are still hopeful.  They know the sign will come.  The believers aren’t the ones imposing a timeline on God.  The non-believers are not hopeful for the sign to be given.  They are hopeful that the sign is NOT given.  Then they will be justified.  The believers are probably ‘sorrowful’ for a few things:  1) that the non-believers are not prepared to accept Christ into their life, 2) what the non-believers will do to the believers when the sign is not given on their timeline, 3) that little bit of doubt that sometimes creeps in when you’re at the end of your rope.  God has said He won’t give me anything that I cannot handle.  But sometimes I forget to tell Him that I can’t handle anymore. 🙂

Oh, that reminds me of one of my favorite analogies from the book “Believing Christ” by Stephen L. Richards.  (best explanation of the Atonement I’ve ever read)

He talks about how our faith in Christ strengthens when we go through severe trials.  He compares it to a weight-lifter building muscle.  Muscle is strengthened by stretching it just beyond its limit so it is actually damaged.  As it heals, it scars.  The scar tissue is actually stronger than the surrounding tissue.  The spotter stands near the weight-lifter telling him/her to ‘give me one more’ each time it looks like the lifter is going to give up.  The spotter is there to catch the weight when the lifter finally cannot lift one more time and yells for the help.  I love the imagery.  I am sure that parents who lose children to death feel they are stretched beyond their limit.  They struggle to understand.  I pray for them; that they will feel the Savior’s arms around them as He encourages them to give one more day.  To them I say:  Don’t give up.  You have other loved ones who need you here. Your children are safe in Jesus’ arms.  They are pefect.  You have a little more work to do.  If you don’t know what that “work” is, look for it.

Zarahemla to Gideon

Can’t you just see how it all plays out?!

Some Tillicum campers made sand castles into a fine replica of some ancient American civilizations.

Alma preaches in his home city of Zarahemla (Alma 5:1).

One of Alma's Journeys
One of Alma’s Journeys

Once he’s done there, he travels to Gideon to preach (Alma 6:8).  Just newly retired from the Justice Department, he was so eager to go on his mission that the distance wasn’t an issue.  In fact, he didn’t really mention how he got there.

He Will Heal Our Hearts

If you don’t believe in Jesus Christ and are not interested in a religious topic, skip this post.
As our daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter grieve the loss of their stillborn son and brother and our sister-in-law grieves the loss of her brother, I wish I could take away their pain.  I can’t imagine the ache in their hearts as they miss their baby and brothers.

I know that Jesus Christ knows their pain and can lift the burden of grief as they (and we) pray to Him for comfort.

I used to wonder how Christ could relate to my pain.  He didn’t sin so how could He know of the pain and anguish I felt from making poor choices?  And how could He relate to pain from illness or grief when He had such a short life?

I’ve since come to understand the Atonement a little better.  Jesus Christ knew what His mission on earth was.  He knew He wouldn’t be here long.  Knowing His mission, and that He would pay the price for our sins, had to be an incredibly lonely feeling.  If anyone could honestly say “nobody understands me”, it would be Him.  He knew that God, the Eternal Father, knew Him and was there to strengthen Him.

We read, in the scriptures, that He did suffer grief and pain; more than I ever have.  But does He actually know what you or I are going through?  I mean, other than watching us go through it and feeling the heartache like a loving parent has for their suffering child?  I believe He has actually, physically, experienced everything that I have gone through.  He was able to do this through the miracle of the Atonement.  He asked the Eternal Father to bless Him to experience these things.

Alma, an ancient prophet, prophesied of Christ’s atonement: “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” (Alma 7:11–12; emphasis added).  Luke tells us that His pain was so extreme that “his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:44, Doctrine & Covenants 19:18-19).  And He did it willingly; just so He could comfort us when we had to endure the pain.  I wonder if experiencing our infirmites made it easier for Him to endure paying for our sins?

Our pain doesn’t, usually, immediately go away when we pray that Jesus will heal us or lift our burden.  But, over time, as we trust Him and rely on Him and listen to Him, our pain gets lighter and we are able to bear it.

I remember a description of, or analogy about, how our trials strengthen us.  It describes how a wound in our flesh heals.  As it heals, it builds scar tissue.  The scar tissue is actually stronger than the original tissue.  It takes time, patience and endurance.  But, the wound DOES heal.  Maybe the love of family and friends is like the ointment used to comfort and protect the wound until it is scarred?

Our hearts go out to you.  We pray that your hearts will heal.  We love you dearly.

I looked and looked for the pastel drawing of Jesus and a todler looking into each other’s faces.  I couldn’t find it.  But this is about as close as it gets: