Tuesday, September 3, 2013

A Few Thoughts on the Atonement

I most likely will not understand the Atonement during my mortal life. I don’t understand it, but I accept it. While it is difficult to comprehend anyone suffering to an infinite degree for me and for all humanity, I can comprehend His love for me, because I can feel it. I have felt the Savior’s love for me many times; I have felt His forgiveness and His acceptance. His promise of sending His Spirit and giving His peace is a reality for anyone who seeks after Him.

I Feel My Savior's Love

I feel my Savior's love
In all the world around me.
His Spirit warms my soul
Through ev'rything I see.


He knows I will follow him,
Give all my life to him.
I feel my Savior's love,
The love he freely gives me.

I feel my Savior's love;
Its gentleness enfolds me,
And when I kneel to pray,
My heart is filled with peace.

I feel my Savior's love
And know that he will bless me.
I offer him my heart;
My shepherd he will be.

I'll share my Savior's love
By serving others freely.
In serving I am blessed.
In giving I receive.

Words: Ralph Rodgers Jr., Newell Dayley, and Laurie Huffman
Music: K. Newell Dayley, b. 1939

I even have difficulty contemplating His suffering, His death, and His resurrection. No wonder His disciples fell asleep in the garden of Gethsemane as Jesus suffered for all of us. It was too much to witness; it was too much to take in. So while I know that the sacrament is a time to remember Him and honor His gift to me, often I fall short in my re-dedication and let my mind wander. But He is ever understanding, and He still accepts my meager attempts to covenant with Him, to keep His commandments, and to always remember Him.

The greatest testimony to me of the goodness of Jesus Christ is that I am happiest when I am trying to be like Him, when I am serving others. When I am guided by His love to extend that love to others, it is manifest in my own heart to an even greater degree. This is healing; this is light; this is the love of Jesus.

In my moments of greatest sorrow, I have not been cast off. I have been embraced in the warm of His love. As I look at pictures of Him that express sorrow, I am reminded that He is the Man of Sorrows and acquainted with grief; and to become like him, I must also experience sorrow, but I am not left to do so alone. So even amidst the greatest sorrow, I have felt peace, and I have felt joy.

One of my favorite hymns expresses so clearly my thoughts concerning the Savior’s love for me in extending to me the gift of His Atonement:

I Stand All Amazed

I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me,
Confused at the grace that so fully he proffers me.
I tremble to know that for me he was crucified,
That for me, a sinner, he suffered, he bled and died.


Oh, it is wonderful that he should care for me
Enough to die for me!
Oh, it is wonderful, wonderful to me!

I marvel that he would descend from his throne divine
To rescue a soul so rebellious and proud as mine,
That he should extend his great love unto such as I,
Sufficient to own, to redeem, and to justify.


I think of his hands pierced and bleeding to pay the debt!
Such mercy, such love and devotion can I forget?
No, no, I will praise and adore at the mercy seat,
Until at the glorified throne I kneel at his feet.


Text and music: Charles H. Gabriel, 1856-1932

I love the Lord. I can see this, because I have felt a connection with Him and acceptance from Him. This is because He first loved me. While I do not fully comprehend the Atonement, I do understand and accept that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, and I can return to my Heavenly Father because of Him. Truly, I stand amazed. 

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