Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.. 2 Corinthians 5:17
Agency is one of the greatest gifts we could ever be given: freedom to choose our own path, freedom to become anything we hope to be. The work and glory of God is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. Moses 1:39 It’s no wonder that our Heavenly Father is so adamant about freedom.
Everything important I have is a result of his grace for me. How? I’m glad you asked.
There is an interesting phenomena occurring in my family right now. Two of my children are expecting babies soon. I am about to take the leap into life as a grandfather. I have heard many say that grand parenting is the best life ever. I believe that to be true. But it’s still amazing, scary, and wonderful all at the same time. Here’s what is going through my mind.
First -of course, I want everything to go well for the mothers to be and the babies in the waiting. And I keep telling myself that concerns and fears are really unnecessary because we have hope in Jesus Christ.
Second- The world is a scary place, true. There are tempting voices trying to lead our children astray. I remember my father telling me he was glad he didn’t have to grow up in my day due to the evils and hardships that faced us children. As a boy, I wondered “what’s the big deal?” I didn’t see at the time why he would have said that.
The amazing thing to me now is realizing that this incident occurred more than 40 years ago, when The Andy Griffith Show was the program we watched after school. Now I am feeling the very same sentiments for my children and grandchildren. Perhaps you are too. But I’m not scared, and you shouldn’t be either. Traditions will be maintained. We are not alone and neither are they.
To those new parents and soon to be parents out there: here is my advice. Everyone’s hardships and emotions eventually boil over at times. That’s not unexpected. In fact, we face obstacles we never imagined we could bear. And when that happens our emotions are unprepared and raw, just like our reactions. I like to think that Job, Abraham, Sariah, Elizabeth, and Joseph Smith felt those unexpected emotions as well. In their difficulties, they didn’t always know what to do or how to respond ideally at the time either.
I don’t believe they always smiled and were happy in their difficult circumstances. They wept, yearned, hoped, and prayed. And though we often think these others bore their afflictions with faith and patience, I also think they struggled. Faith and patience are not mutually exclusive of hardship. In fact, the opposite is often true: faith and patience through hardship builds greater faith and patience.
There is no shame in weeping. Job suffered beyond anything we can imagine. Moments of regret and sorrow most assuredly entered his mind and heart. There is no harm in hoping for something better. He had to work for his sanctification, and the road was very rough. Yet he continued to show faith and hope and patience. And so must we. I think we can all be a blessing to our families and associates.
We have to remember that we are all on the same team–companions, not competitors; help meets, not helpless; and patient, not perfect. At least that’s what we are striving for. There is only One that is perfect, and because of Him and His suffering, we have second chances, opportunities to improve, and strength beyond our own. That way the power for good He can have in our lives becomes a reality. That’s what the atonement of Jesus Christ is all about. It makes what is otherwise impossible for us certain if we but follow Him.
Alma described the Savior’s Atonement in this way: “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” (Alma 7:11; also see 2 Nephi 9:21).
He suffered all things for us, and because of His atonement the chains of death and hell have been broken. That is the wonderful unending love and amazing grace of Jesus Christ.
For that we are gratefully all indebted.
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.