Warning! The title is very accurate. Best be getting the tissues out and ready.
One of my classes I’m taking this semester is Jesus Christ and the Everlasting Gospel. It’s been such a fun class. I love studying the words that teach of Christ. I have felt that as I’ve studied the life of my Savior, I have defiantly come closer to Him. In preparation for Tuesdays’ class, one of the assigned readings is to study Elder Holland’s talk None Were With Him given in the April 2009 conference. I just have to say, this is one of my favorite talks! I just love it so much! I can’t tell you how many times I have studied and learned something new each time. If you haven’t read it yet or even recently, I encourage you to clink on the link and go read it now!!
Artist: Adam Abram
Background to the talk: Yep, I thought that I should give a little “what’s happening” before diving in. Haha. Okay, so, this talk is about Christ and His suffering in the garden (this can be found in Mark 14:33-36, Luke 22:39-46, John 15:13, 1 Peter 3:18, 2 Nephi 9:22, Mosiah 3:7, lma 7:11-13, Doctrine and Covenants 19:15-20, and Isaiah 53:3-5). Christ and His disciples had just finished the Last Supper, Jesus knew that it was almost time for Him to be brought before the people to be crucified. Before that could happen though, He had to go into the garden of Gethsemane and suffer for all Gods’ children.
As I said before, I’m not sure how many times I have read and studied the teachings in these amazing words. On the way home from church I was prompted that I should do my religion prep today instead of waiting until tomorrow. I’m not sure why I was prompted to do it today but I’m so grateful that I listened to the Spirit! I just wanted to share some of the insights that I found today while reading.
Elder Holland says, “His sweat came as drops of blood as He pled with the Father to let this crushing, brutal cup pass from Him. But, of course, it could not pass.” This really stuck out to me because I have a personal witness to this exact thing. I remember as I was preparing to be listed for my angel heart, there were several times I prayed and even pleaded to my Father in Heaven asking Him to take it away. I knew that He had the power to do just that. I thought that if He did love me, He wouldn’t want me to hurt anymore and take it away. Well, obviously that’s not the case. Sometimes our trials and burdens seem too hard to carry. More often than not, we will ask our Heavenly Father to make it go away or just make it better. Because He does love us, our Father will sometimes tell us no. It can be hard to understand how that is showing us love but He tells us no because He knows how things will turn out. He knows who we have the potential of becoming. He will tell us that we need these hard things because it will turn us into a better person…and closer to becoming like Him.
“Now I speak very carefully, even reverently, of what may have been the most difficult moment in all of this solitary journey to Atonement. I speak of those final moments for which Jesus must have been prepared intellectually and physically but which He may not have fully anticipated emotionally and spiritually—that concluding descent into the paralyzing despair of divine withdrawal when He cries in ultimate loneliness, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” With all the conviction of my soul I testify that He did please His Father perfectly and that a perfect Father did not forsake His Son in that hour. Indeed, it is my personal belief that in all of Christ’s mortal ministry the Father may never have been closer to His Son than in these agonizing final moments of suffering. Nevertheless, that the supreme sacrifice of His Son might be as complete as it was voluntary and solitary, the Father briefly withdrew from Jesus the comfort of His Spirit, the support of His personal presence. It was required, indeed it was central to the significance of the Atonement, that this perfect Son who had never spoken ill nor done wrong nor touched an unclean thing had to know how the rest of humankind—us, all of us—would feel when we did commit such sins. For His Atonement to be infinite and eternal, He had to feel what it was like to die not only physically but spiritually, to sense what it was like to have the divine Spirit withdraw, leaving one feeling totally, abjectly, hopelessly alone.”
As we go throughout our lives we sometimes feel like we are alone. Absolutely and utterly alone. “No one gets it.” “How could they?” “They haven’t experienced what I have…” Trust me, I’ve been there. I know that Christ suffered in the garden truly alone so I would know that I have never and will never be alone.
Christ’s atonement is so important to me. I have had several opportunities to use His glorious power to help me overcome my trials. Every time I think about Christ suffering in the garden for me, I am overcome with an enormous amount of gratitude. Last week, Sis. Wixom (yes, THAT Sister Wixom, the General Primary President) spoke at the devotional. She told a story about a primary class full of busy little boys. One week, the teacher figured out who the “ring leader” was. She quietly went over to this little boy, put her hands on his cheeks and whispered, “Jesus suffered and died for all of us. But if you were the only one, He still would have done it.” That thought really hit me. I have thought about it like that before but for some reason, the way Sister Wixom said it made me actually consider how much my Savior loves me. I know that this sacred act was part of the plan of salvation. I know that without His Atonement I can’t go back to live with my Father again. I am so grateful for that Christ had the courage to say, “If my not my will, then thine be done. Matthew 26:39“