We’ve all seen a lot of darkness lately. A lot has weighed on us. And I don’t know about you, but I’ve started avoiding the news more than I probably should. There’s nothing uplifting about looking for the latest death toll.
And frankly, I think we all need more to lift us up these days.
But honestly, that can be hard to find.
I don’t know how many tragedies I’ve seen in my lifetime. I can think of several off the top of my head – terrorist attacks, war, starvation, abuse, disease – and I’m sure there’s more that I don’t even know about.
The weight of the world is a real burden on the human heart. But I don’t have to tell you that. I’m sure you already feel it too.
Today is Easter Morning.
The sun was a bit delayed by some clouds, but now its brightness fills the valley outside my window. All is quiet, and it’s hard to accept that all the fear, pain, and loss happening just outside of my sight is part of the same beautiful world I’m looking at.
In moments like this, when you see so much beauty and light but still feel the pain and darkness, don’t you just wish you could rid the world of its pain? That you could gather it all up and throw it into a black hole?
We can’t, of course. We don’t have that power.
But the other day, when I was thinking about this, the thought came (definitely a reminder from the Holy Spirit) that the pain in the world has already been gathered up. It’s already been paid for, understood, and helped. Jesus Christ felt every fleeting feeling and every overwhelming emotion that we now feel.
And now, though we still experience the pain, we also get to witness Christ’s divine help coming to us. We may not see it at this moment. We may think that our pain is a sign that we’re alone.
But He hasn’t forgotten us.
14 But Zion said, The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me.
15 Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.
16 Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.Isaiah 49:14-16, KJV
Jesus Christ paid the infinite price for us. He gave His life for you. For me. And in every moment of joy or pain, of light or dark, He is there.
Then Why Do We Need Pain?
One of the biggest questions people have about God is why He lets us, His beloved children, suffer. And it’s a fair question.
I think there could be a lot of answers to this, but the one that sums up all of those answers is probably that we always learn something from pain.
Sure, Jesus felt all the pain we’ve felt. But until we feel it too, until we choose how to approach it, we can’t learn from it.
Christ never intended to remove pain entirely from our lives. Instead, He helps us carry that pain. He took it to balance justice. Pain is an inherited trait of mortality, and it came as a result of the fall of Adam and Eve. Because we were born into a fallen world and didn’t choose it the way Adam and Eve did, justice allows that our pain is aided by our Savior.
And mercy lets us learn from the pain.
Hope Always Comes.
In April’s General Conference, Elder Giménez said,
“As I have seen the storms that affect people’s lives, I have concluded that no matter what kind of storm is battering us—regardless of whether there is a solution to it or whether there is an end in sight—there is only one refuge, and it is the same for all types of storms. This single refuge provided by our Heavenly Father is our Lord Jesus Christ and His Atonement.”Elder Ricardo P. Giménez, “Finding Refuge from the Storms of Life,” April 2020
Jesus Christ is the hope we need, the hope we are seeking every day. He is the reason it’s possible to start over, to try again, to reach for more, and to become better.
And He comes to us boldly when we need Him most, even if that isn’t the moment we expect Him. Like Mary and Martha when Lazarus died, or the disciples afraid of drowning in the storm – we may feel that the time is too late, that He really didn’t show up when we needed Him, and that everything is lost.
But when Lazarus was raised from the dead, Mary and Martha saw the greater miracle and learned the test of faith. When the storm was calmed in an instant, the disciples recognized the incomparable power of God.
And we will too.
I’ve seen so many people recently posting on social media about their current circumstances and about their faith. Honestly, I don’t remember social media ever being this uplifting. People are turning to their faith and their Savior to bring relief in this upside-down time of self-isolation and quarantine we are all experiencing.
They’re finding hope. We are all finding hope during this time, and that hope comes from Jesus Christ. That He’ll heal us, save us from the sickness and pain in the world.
And He will.
But if He doesn’t do so in the way we think He should, or if He seems to come later than we want Him to come, then that means it’s our turn to stand through the test of faith. To listen, repent, and obey even when there doesn’t seem to be a good reason to do so. To trust Him and believe that He will bring light and salvation when it’s most needed.
Today, Easter Day, is the perfect day to remember this. When Jesus died, His followers thought that hope was lost. Jesus was supposed to save them. They’d been oppressed for so long, and He’d brought the promise of freedom and hope.
But He died.
And it seemed that all hope for salvation left with Him.
What Christ’s followers didn’t understand was that the battle was already won. That His death assured the freedom and hope He’d taught them.
And when He came to them, resurrected from the dead that first Easter morning, they finally understood what He’d been teaching them all along. But it took losing Him, suffering the pain of loss and confusion, before they could understand Christ’s true purpose.
Jesus Christ is our Savior. His great sacrifice reaches all of us and frees us from the threat of hell. And no matter what we face, no matter the pain or fear or darkness, Jesus will come to us as a refuge of eternal hope and peace.