Sunday, December 28, 2014

I feel my Savior's love

The Savior has been on my mind a lot lately. And, not just because it is Christmas time.

* I have been thinking about Him in the Garden of Gethsemane. He went there to gather strength and to feel peace. He had asked His disciples to go with Him, to help Him watch. Yet, each time He came back to them, Jesus found them asleep. Even on this night of nights when He needed their support, they were tired, too tired to stay awake for Him.

* That night, the Savior was thinking about the atonement. He knew what it was going to entail. He knew the pain He was going to have to go through as He took upon Himself the sins of the world. (He, himself, said in the Doctrine and Covenants that the pain He went through in Gethsemane was so painful that we cannot even imagine how badly it hurt Him.) He knew how much it would hurt before He went through it. He asked Heavenly Father three times in prayer if there were not some other way besides this? No, there was not. The scriptures tell us that an angel came to the Savior there in the Garden of Gethsemane, "to strengthen Him". I have thought long and hard about this: how exactly did the angel strengthen Him? Did he listen to the Savior talk? Did he give him a hug? Did he give Him a pep talk of sorts, tell him that, yes, He could do this atonement thing? Did he hold the Savior as He bled from every pore? I do not know what the angel did to strengthen the Savior. But, I am glad he was there- I am glad the Savior was not completely alone.


Danish painter, Carl Boch's rendition of
an angel comforting the Savior in the Garden

* After Jesus had effected the atonement in Gethsemane, Judas, one of the Savior's disciples, came to the opening of the Garden with guards and gave Him up, betrayed Him. I know the Savior understands about having someone He loved, and someone who loved Him, betray Him. He went through all those emotions and feelings when He learned that Judas had betrayed Him. (He knows how I feel when someone I love has betrayed me.)

* Then came the trial. A trial was held against Jesus, a false trial, anything to trump charges against Him so that the Jewish leaders could somehow try and justify how much they hated Him and wanted Him dead. The Savior was tired, literally and figuratively. He had already gone through the atonement where He had bled from every pore- (I did a little research- one account told me that the average person has more than three million pores. The Savior likely had more than three million pores, and He bled from every one of them.) He had been handed over to the guards by one of His disciples, betrayed by someone close to Him. And, He now had to suffer through a trial where he ultimately was sentenced to die, by crucifixion, on the cross at Golgotha.

* I know a little about pain. I know how much it hurts. I know how much it wears on the soul. I also know that, even when I am in pain, it hurts me to see people I love feel so sad because of my pain. I have to imagine that as the Savior hung on the cross, had thick nails hammered into His feet and hands, that He felt the grief of His mother, Mary, and others of His disciples as they wept and mourned His death on the cross. He always thought about others. Even in His own pain, I am certain that He was aware of what they felt as they saw Him hang on the cross.

* Then, of course, I think about the ultimate sadness and pain of the Savior as He hung on the cross and felt Heavenly Father retreat and withdraw His support and love for His Son. His agony, His anguish was great as He cried out, "My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?" Each previous pain and loss was great. The cumulative pain had been great, and now, to also feel completely forsaken- well, I do not know how even the Son of God endured it all.

* These aforementioned events have been on my mind, in great detail, over the past several months. As they have percolated throughout my soul, my awareness of the Savior's love for me, for you, for every person who has ever lived has grown in leaps and bounds. He can relate to every kind of pain, sorrow, frustration, betrayal, loss, and anxiety we could ever feel, for He has felt them and has been through them all Himself. He truly knows how to succor His people. I weep as I reflect on His great compassion, light, healing, help, and love that He gives to me, to you, to everyone.

(Epilogue: I recently read this blog post. It goes perfectly hand in hand with what I have tried sharing in this blog post. I hope you will read it. It is a beautiful, well-written post, well worth anyone's time.)

I Stand All Amazed
1.) 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.
(Chorus)
Oh, it is wonderful that he should care for me
Enough to die for me!
Oh, it is wonderful, wonderful to me!

2.) 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.
(Chorus)
Oh, it is wonderful that he should care for me
Enough to die for me!
Oh, it is wonderful, wonderful to me!

3.) 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.
(Chorus)
Oh, it is wonderful that he should care for me
Enough to die for me!
Oh, it is wonderful, wonderful to me!