- In the gospel of Jesus Christ, there comes a point in time when we must stand accountable for who we are and what we are going to be. In the atonement of Jesus Christ, we have been given an example to follow—that of the eldest son of God the Father. I would like to talk for just a few minutes today about the atoning sacrifice and what it has meant in my life, from the perspective of a bishop, in helping us endure to the end.
He asks several questions and makes several observations about Christ and His example to us all. Each question and observation teaches us important lessons about how we should be looking at our lives and how we can endure to the end. The first lesson talks about pouring our heart out to the Lord in prayer, but not taking the time to listen for an answer after doing so. We would be wise to take time to listen.
- How many of us are sleeping when those around us are hurting and are in need? How many of us give our testimonies of the Lord, but then do not listen?
Each of us will need the help of friends along the path back to our Heavenly Father.
- Do we not understand that we, too, will have moments in our lives when we will be brought to our knees, when we will need help to endure to the end? Even Joseph Smith showed impatience after being in jail for a few months and wondered why he could not get on with his mission. At that time the Lord said to Joseph, “All these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.” The ways in which we handle our trials are part of the maturing of the physical and spiritual man.
While Christ was on the cross, he taught us about being concerned for others even during our trials.
- Many lessons can be learned from the account of the Atonement. It is comforting to know that, though suffering, Jesus Christ was able to look down from the cross and be concerned for His mother, that she should be properly cared for, as He asked for the help of a disciple. This is one of the great messages we have heard this conference—that we turn some of our attention from our own trials and tribulations to concern and caring for others.
As Christ appeared after His death to Mary, He taught us that there can be hope and peace when loved ones die because of the resurrection that Christ gave to each of us. We will be reunited with family and friends after this life.
- The lesson we can learn is that when a loved one has died and sorrow and despair have taken over our hearts, we can have solace knowing the joy that will come when our loved ones are reunited and continue their eternal progression because of the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
We each need to build our own personal testimony of the Savior as each of us will have a personal accountability to the Lord for what we have done with the gift of life He has made possible for us.
- Each one of us will someday, either in this life or in the life to come, have to give our testimony that He is truly the Son of God, the Savior of all mankind, Jesus Christ.
He speaks about feeling abandoned by God, how Christ felt the loneliness we sometimes feel, but that we need to take these moments and find peace that God is never far away and wants us to find peace and joy by coming to His feet for peace.
- In the last moments upon the cross Jesus asked His Father a very simple question: “Why hast thou forsaken me?” Are there times in our lives when we think that we have been forsaken by God, or by our fellow men, or by our families? That is the moment when we have to turn our thoughts back to Christ and endure to the end. We know there is a great purpose in Christ’s suffering because this was an act of free agency. Jesus could have called upon legions of angels to bring Him down from the cross, but He did not. He endured to the end that we would have the benefits of the atoning sacrifice; that mercy could be brought into the world; that justice would be satisfied; that we might be resurrected; and that we might be able to earn, through our obedience, eternal life in the presence of God the Father and Jesus Christ.
He shares a story of a father who needed to help his child learn some very difficult life lessons even through he could have saved them from the pain. The lessons needed to be learned just as God needs to allow our actions to have consequences so we learn from them.
- There are times that we, as parents, must be able to cut our own children loose in order that they may learn to make decisions for themselves and have the strength to stand on their own.
There are many lessons to be learned from the life of the Savior. How we should live our lives has been demonstrated by His perfect life. It is Elder Hales prayer that we can learn these lessons and follow the Savior.
- I ask the Lord’s blessings to be with us, that we can understand the importance of the atoning sacrifice in our lives, that it is the greatest event in all history. In fact, the Atonement was the very purpose of the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, coming to earth. Unfortunately, we sometimes deviate from that which we know.
The Savior's life is full of examples for each of us on how we should handle our trials and troubles. We are blessed to have a Savior that leads us by His example and has allowed us to learn from our mistakes. It is through our trials and troubles in life that we learn to grow and be more like the Savior. As we take upon us the challenge to live more like Him, we will be blessed for our obedience and will be given strength to endure our most challenging trials.