I am sitting in my office. There is quite a commotion going on around the house. A dish fell in the kitchen…this time, it can’t be fixed—it shattered into a million pieces. Of course, this isn’t the first time. A beautiful hand-made bowl fell victim a few months ago. I remember as a child, a particular heirloom that had been entrusted to our family was damaged, much to Granny’s dismay. I couldn’t begin to number the broken glasses and bowls or plates or watches or vases or windows, much less the broken hearts and homes and shattered dreams. But there is One who can and does.
To us, these things are lost, never to be reclaimed. But that is not necessarily the case in the great plan of happiness. All broken things can be healed because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
Relieving the lame, lifting the downtrodden, and healing the afflicted; the Savior blessed everyone he touched. No infirmity, situation, or hardship is outside the healing power of the Savior Jesus Christ. Comfort and relief through his embrace includes spiritual, emotional, and physical conditions.
Elder David Bednar recognizes that this truth may be misunderstood even among Latter-day Saints:
“I suspect that many Church members are much more familiar with the nature of the redeeming and cleansing power of the Atonement than they are with the strengthening and enabling power. It is one thing to know that Jesus Christ came to earth to die for us—that is fundamental and foundational to the doctrine of Christ. But we also need to appreciate that the Lord desires, through His Atonement and by the power of the Holy Ghost, to live in us—not only to direct us but also to empower us.”
So how does this work? How can the atonement of Jesus Christ enable us to overcome our challenges today?
He continues by giving a scriptural example and shares how he has learned to use this tool in his life.
Nephi is an example of one who knew, understood, and relied upon the enabling power of the Savior. Recall that the sons of Lehi had returned to Jerusalem to enlist Ishmael and his household in their cause. Laman and others in the party traveling with Nephi from Jerusalem back to the wilderness rebelled, and Nephi exhorted his brethren to have faith in the Lord. It was at this point in their journey that Nephi’s brothers bound him with cords and planned his destruction. Please note Nephi’s prayer: “O Lord, according to my faith which is in thee, wilt thou deliver me from the hands of my brethren; yea, even give me strength that I may burst these bands with which I am bound” (1 Nephi 7:17; emphasis added).
Do you know what I likely would have prayed for if I had been tied up by my brothers? “Please get me out of this mess now!” It is especially interesting to me that Nephi did not pray to have his circumstances changed. Rather, he prayed for the strength to change his circumstances. And I believe he prayed in this manner precisely because he knew, understood, and had experienced the enabling power of the Atonement.
But you may ask, how is this done? Another example from the Book of Mormon is Alma directing a mission to reclaim the apostate Zoramites. Alma did not pray to have his afflictions removed, rather he prayed for strength to bear his infirmities.
“ And the Lord provided for them that they should hunger not, neither should they thirst; yea, and he also gave them strength, that they should suffer no manner of afflictions, save it were swallowed up in the joy of Christ. Now this was according to the prayer of Alma; and this because he prayed in faith.” Alma 31:38
We can, too.
Pray for strength to undergo your challenges with faith. Elder Bednar concludes:
The Savior has suffered not just for our iniquities but also for the inequality, the unfairness, the pain, the anguish, and the emotional distresses that so frequently beset us. There is no physical pain, no anguish of soul, no suffering of spirit, no infirmity or weakness that you or I ever experience during our mortal journey that the Savior did not experience first. You and I in a moment of weakness may cry out, “No one understands. No one knows.” No human being, perhaps, knows. But the Son of God perfectly appreciates and understands your situation, for He felt and bore our burdens before we ever did. Indeed, as testified by Isaiah “With His stripes are we healed.” ( Isaiah 53:5) And because He paid the ultimate price and bore our burden, He has perfect empathy and can extend to us His arm of mercy in so many phases of life. He can reach out, touch, succor—literally run to us—and strengthen us to be more than we could ever be and help us to do that which we could never do through relying upon only our own power.
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
“For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28–30).
Spencer W. Kimball, the prophet of my day, declared that if God has called us, then it follows that we cannot fail if we do our full part.
“It is easy to get discouraged. It is easy to quit, but you must not fail. You remember how Nephi went into an impossible situation and couldn’t get the plates. His brothers couldn’t. They couldn’t buy them. They couldn’t bribe them out of the hands of Laban. They couldn’t force their way in, and their lives were hanging on a thread. In spite of all that, here comes one boy, unarmed, who walks into a city through a wall that was closed to him, through gates that couldn’t be opened, into a garden that was impenetrable, into a vault that was locked, among soldiers that couldn’t be bypassed, and comes out with his arms full of records to keep his posterity and others from perishing in unbelief.”
We have been called of God. If we endure to the end, we cannot fail.
With these testimonies, I declare my witness and appreciation for the infinite and eternal sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ. He lives. I have experienced both His redeeming and His enabling power in my life. I testify that these powers are real and available to each one of us.
As you employ this principle in your life, you will find renewed strength and optimism to overcome life’s hardship.
Learn more about faith:
In 1989, Walter Penning formed a consultancy based in Salt Lake City and empowered his clients by streamlining processes and building a loyal, lifetime customer base with great customer service. His true passion is found in his family. He says the best decision he ever made was to marry his sweetheart and have children. The wonderful family she has given him and her constant love, support, and patience amid life's challenges is his panacea.