When the first Book of Mormon prophet, Lehi, was on his deathbed, he spent some time talking seriously to Laman and Lemuel, his two oldest sons. They had never gained a testimony of the gospel and their behavior had become progressively more wicked. He was very worried about their futures, and the futures of their posterity. He wanted, with the longing of a father who would no longer be on earth to guide his sons, for them to understand how much the Lord loved them.
“But behold, the Lord hath redeemed my soul from hell; I have beheld his glory, and I am encircled about eternally in the arms of his love.” (2 Nephi 1:15)
I’ve always loved the phrase, “encircled about eternally in the arms of his love.” It brings to mind receiving a hug from the Savior, or having His arm around me in a moment of trial. It’s a comforting reminder of how great Jesus’ love is for us.
Jeffrey R. Holland, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, reminds us of the greatest proof of the Savior’s love for us:
“Indeed the Atonement of the Only Begotten Son of God in the flesh is the crucial foundation upon which all Christian doctrine rests and the greatest expression of divine love this world has ever been given. Its importance in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints cannot be overstated. Every other principle, commandment, and virtue of the restored gospel draws its significance from this pivotal event.
The Atonement was the foreordained but voluntary act of the Only Begotten Son of God in which He offered His life and spiritual anguish as a redeeming ransom for the effect of the Fall of Adam upon all mankind and for the personal sins of all who repent.” Jeffrey R. Holland, “The Atonement of Jesus Christ,” Ensign, Mar 2008, 32–38
Most people have a longing to be completely loved, and the gospel gives that gift to every person. No one has ever loved us more than God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. No one has given more or spent more time seeing to our eternal well being than these two. We can feel assured that we are entitled to His love and, as we strive to live the gospel, to His blessings.
We can sit quietly when times are the hardest, and feel His arms around us. We know we’re not alone, no matter how lonely we might feel. We can have them with us any time of the day or night, being comforted and consoled. When we don’t know what to do, we have someone we can turn to who knows every answer, and whose answers will be unselfish, and perfectly tailored to our needs and personalities.
No one who is willing to work hard at their relationship with their Heavenly Father and their Savior is denied this gift. You too can feel “encircled about eternally in the arms of his love.”
Terrie Lynn Bittner
The late Terrie Lynn Bittner—beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and friend—was the author of two homeschooling books and numerous articles, including several that appeared in Latter-day Saint magazines. She became a member of the Church at the age of 17 and began sharing her faith online in 1992.