Today my whole family back home celebrates Easter...I guess it is good to have two days where we reflect on the Atonement.
I went to the temple this past week. I have never been sad at the temple, but this time I was. For some reason I started pondering and thinking about all the trials people have in life. I thought about what I went through in my life, watching people get shot, arrested or beaten, living under curfew, and being humiliated and persecuted.
But then I started thinking of all the suffering others are going through, being driven out of their homes, cities that were destroyed, people that were killed, women that are being sold as sex slaves, children that are suffering, poverty, sadness and despair...
I could not bare it and started to cry. I cried because I could totally feel everyone's pain and anguish and cries for help. I continued to cry until I realized that I don't have to carry all the pain, sickness and death found in the world. I don't have to because the Savior did...That is exactly why we have an atonement and that is exactly why suffering and pain has an end.
When the Savior comes again, He will make it all right. He will come in His glory, open up the heavens and descend to earth and Satan will have no influence anymore. As for those that have suffered: "God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." (Revelations 21: 4)
When my friend Emily and I talked about my experience in the temple she reminded me that we need challenges so we can grow. God does not willingly cause suffering, however, He does allow it so that we can grow and learn from it. Emily shared with me this quote:
"For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn't understand growth, it would look like complete destruction." Cynthia Occelli
As I reflect on my life I can see that the reason I am who I am today is because of the trials I faced. They refined me and strengthened me and solidified my faith.
We have a sister in our ward/church who had a car accident and because of that became unable to do many of the things she used to be able to do, like speak or move or walk. She often expresses her gratitude for the accident because it strengthened her faith.
We can survive hard times, we can hang on...but we are not meant to just hang on. We are meant to stand strong and have a foundation of faith that will allow us to overcome our challenges and rise triumphant. We are here on earth to become the person Heavenly Father wants us to become. And that would require a lot of maintenance. Knocking out imperfect parts and doing some restructuring.
I am grateful for a student who showed me that we can rise above all challenges and be strong. He was a drug addict living on the street. Without the support of others, he put his life back together and is now in college. His mother is about to die of cancer in the next few weeks, but he bore a solid testimony that He knows that God loves him and explained how the Savior has helped him carry His heavy burden. The Savior said: "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)
I am so blessed to teach such amazing students every day and learn from their example. The Savior's burden truly is light. If we come unto Him, He will help us and lift us all the way to our mansions above. He still stands with extended pierced hands pleading with us to come unto Him so we can receive help in carrying our heavy load. May we come unto Him and experience the joy that comes from following Him.