I wouldn’t really call myself a handyman. Sure, I change the furnace filter and fix the occasional plumbing problems around the house, but my know-how and expertise is somewhat limited in this area. Yet, on occasion there comes along a job that has to be done. Such was the case recently.
The faucet in our upstairs bathroom was dripping. My wife brought this to my attention, and I went to work. Somewhat surprisingly, I found the necessary items and fixed it in no time, or so I thought. It turns out, however, that the leak continued. It was now down in the cupboard with more serious side effects. I didn’t know what to do, so I sought the help from a local plumbing supply store.
They knew the questions to ask and were experienced with my situation. So the advice they gave was direct and simple, including one cartridge and a couple springs with caps. In just a few minutes miraculously the problem was solved and the stress and anxiety I was feeling because I was unable to complete this job dissipated. So I learned again how much help a little knowledge from someone who knows can be.
Farm life was like that. We were new at ranching and caring for farm animals. We encountered problems regularly that were beyond our ability to resolve, but we learned the people we could depend on for good answers—mentors if you will—and that made all the difference.
And so it is in life. We encounter situations for which we are unprepared and possibly overwhelmed. Do you ever feel that way? We need to defer to someone who knows the answers and will give us the guidance and direction that we need.
I felt a lot like that as a new father. It was not uncommon to face things I never imagined and for which I was totally unprepared. And I know those feelings are not necessarily unique to me.
How does one deal with a wayward child, or an untimely death in the family, or a tragic circumstance or overwhelming obstacle? Good questions and very important answers indeed, because navigating the hardships of life can be challenging. Though we don’t know all the answers, we all know Someone who does.
And I am not just trying to make it through life by the skin-of-my-teeth. My goal for my loved ones is Exaltation. I want the very best for my family in this life and the next. So I have for my mentor the Savior Jesus Christ. With his help and the gospel he restored, overwhelming obstacles and hazardous hardships are manageable. Ecstasy and happiness are assured. My goal is attainable and not only possible but certain if I am faithful. All things become new as we are reconciled unto God.
That’s the miracle of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
My wife came to me the other day and asked me a question as part of her preparation for a lesson she taught. She asked “Can you give me an example of how you implement the atonement in your everyday life?”
Perhaps the obvious answer is that I repent every day, because I am fallible and weak. But she was looking for a different answer. She wanted to know how the atonement influences my life daily. So to answer that question, I referred to a metaphor. How do you hold on to the rod of iron every day?
Holding fast to the iron rod, as taught by Nephi, means that we learn, commit to live and obey the commandments. When we apply the Atonement of Jesus Christ in our lives, it affects every decision we make and everything we do. And we are able to think about and ponder and utilize and apply the power of the atonement in every decision and with every obstacle that we face.
My father explained it this way:
We are not achieving our most important goal until we have established in the hearts of our children and the saints, an even greater love and appreciation for Jesus Christ.
“Friends may betray us, spouses may leave us, health may fail, and our possessions burn up. But, Christ, His promises, understanding, and love will never fail us. With some trials and most tragedies, only this can get us through.
“When we can take a thankless, demanding calling; give up something we wanted greatly so that we can pay our tithing; or help out someone who has badly hurt us and say, ‘I wouldn’t do this for anyone else, but I will do it for Christ!’ then the power for good he can have in our lives is becoming a reality. He must be the foundation of our lives.”
Many have asked the question about how to apply the atonement in our lives every day. With the renewed emphasis on the Atonement of Jesus Christ in recent years, I think we can all appreciate the need to apply this great blessing in our lives daily. As part of my study for this article, I deferred to someone much wiser than myself to whom I could receive direction and clarification.
In this particular case, it was Neal A Maxwell to whom I gave way. His witness of greater spiritual refinement in the Atonement of Jesus Christ is orchestrated into a beautiful symphony of testimony, not with notes but with words; not with stanzas but with commitment, and finally, not with a choir of voices but with a pledge and a promise. This excerpt is striking.
The hope we have in Jesus Christ gives us strength and sustenance in the face of the challenges of our day. Elder J. Devn Cornish has testified “If you will really try and will not rationalize or rebel—repenting often and pleading for grace—you positively are going to be ‘good enough’.”
These words from October conference last year are still encouraging and comforting me today. His whole talk is edifying and inspiring. I provide a further excerpt below:
Let me be direct and clear. The answers to the questions “Am I good enough?” and “Will I make it?” are “Yes! You are going to be good enough” and “Yes, you are going to make it as long as you keep repenting and do not rationalize or rebel.” The God of heaven is not a heartless referee looking for any excuse to throw us out of the game.
He is our perfectly loving Father, who yearns more than anything else to have all of His children come back home and live with Him as families forever. He truly gave His Only Begotten Son that we might not perish but have everlasting life! Please believe, and please take hope and comfort from this eternal truth. Our Heavenly Father intends for us to make it! That is His work and His glory.
This message of hope is not beyond our ability to achieve, no matter what our present circumstances may be. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland said:
“However many chances you think you have missed, however many mistakes you feel you have made … , I testify that you have not traveled beyond the reach of divine love. It is not possible for you to sink lower than the infinite light of Christ’s Atonement shines.”
President Uchtdorf speaks of the application of the Atonement of Jesus Christ through the lessons we can learn from Alma and Amulek.
There is no situation that we encounter for which our Mentor is unprepared. He understands when we feel overwhelmed. Because of him, your success and happiness is assured, if you accept his gift and follow him.
The miracle of the Atonement of Jesus Christ blesses us every single day.
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.