- With mercy and compassion He took upon Himself our iniquity and transgressions, thus redeeming us and satisfying the demands of justice for all who would repent and believe on His name. His magnificent atoning sacrifice is of transcendent significance beyond mortal comprehension. This act of grace provides the peace that surpasses understanding.
He shares that when we following the Savior, our lives are blessed because He is the light of the world.
- When we follow the Savior of the world, the Son of God, we flourish and become glorious despite the many terrible circumstances that surround us. He truly is our light and life. As individuals, disciples of Christ, living in a hostile world that is literally in commotion, we can thrive and bloom if we are rooted in our love of the Savior and humbly follow His teachings. Our ability to stand firm and true and follow the Savior despite the vicissitudes of life is greatly strengthened by righteous families and Christ-centered unity in our wards and branches.
Elder Cook goes on to outline three areas of our lives where we can be strengthened by the Savior. The first is the home, the second in our families, and third in the church. Let's look at what he says on each of these areas.
The Right Time at Home
- The role of the family in God’s plan is “to bring us happiness, to help us learn correct principles in a loving atmosphere, and to prepare us for eternal life.” The beautiful traditions of religious observance in the home need to be embedded in the hearts of our children.
- If we faithfully have family prayer, scripture study, family home evening, priesthood blessings, and Sabbath day observance, our children will know what time it is at home. They will be prepared for an eternal home in heaven, regardless of what befalls them in a difficult world. It is vitally important that our children know they are loved and safe at home. In family council, wives and husbands, as equal partners, make the most important decisions. They decide how the children will be taught and disciplined, how money will be spent, where they will live, and many other family decisions. These are made jointly after seeking guidance from the Lord. The goal is an eternal family.
The Church Helps Us Focus on the Savior as a United Family
- The Church provides the organization and means for teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ to all of God’s children. It provides the priesthood authority to administer the ordinances of salvation and exaltation to all who are worthy and willing to accept them.
Elder Cook notes that culture and language is important for all of God's children. But culture should not overtake the ultimate goal in our lives, returning to our Heavenly Father. Where culture and the gospel do not agree, we would be safe to follow the gospel of Jesus Christ.
- It is important for members to understand the gospel in the language of their heart so they can pray and act in accordance with gospel principles. While we treasure appropriate cultural diversities, our goal is to be united in the culture, customs, and traditions of the gospel of Jesus Christ in every respect.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Has Never Been Stronger
- We recognize that some members have questions and concerns as they seek to strengthen their faith and testimonies. We should be careful not to be critical or judgmental of those with concerns —great or small. At the same time, those with concerns should do everything they can to build their own faith and testimony. Patiently and humbly studying, pondering, praying, living gospel principles, and counseling with appropriate leaders are the best ways to resolve questions or concerns.
Elder Cook speaks personally to each of us as he encourages us to turn to the Savior and seek His atonement in our lives.
- If the grim realities you are facing at this time seem dark and heavy and almost unbearable, remember that in the soul-wrenching darkness of Gethsemane and the incomprehensible torture and pain of Calvary, the Savior accomplished the Atonement, which resolves the most terrible burdens that can occur in this life. He did it for you, and He did it for me. He did it because He loves us and because He obeys and loves His Father. We will be rescued from death—even from the depths of the sea.
- Our protections in this life and for eternity will be in individual and family righteousness, Church ordinances, and following the Savior. This is our refuge from the storm. For those who feel they are alone, you can stand resolutely in righteousness knowing that the Atonement will protect and bless you beyond your ability to fully understand. We should remember the Savior, keep our covenants, and follow the Son of God as the young sunflower follows the sunshine. Following His light and example will bring us joy, happiness, and peace.
I love the hymn, "The Lord is my Light." Elder Cook does a great job of sharing how the Savior can be a light and a strength to each of us. The Savior has given us home, families, and the church to help us live the teachings of the Savior. The family is the central unit for God's plan of happiness to be effective. I pray that we will all focus a little more on our homes and families and make them a place where the Atonement of Christ is taught and where the effects of the Atonement are in effect. I hope we will all be a little more patient, a little more humble, and a little more helpful to those that we love. That is what the Savior would want and expects from each of us.