Thursday, January 31, 2013

Thoughts on Eternity


You're probably thinking that's a big statement! Well, it is. There are a million and a half talks on this very subject just because it branches out to so many aspects of the Gospel. It's meant to be that way, though. Every single thing we do points to eternity. It's pretty important. 

As of right now I have 61 days until I go to the MTC. I'm just bouncing off the walls excited about this... only mild sarcasm. I worked there for almost a year and a half in the cafeteria, but I actually AM really excited to go back as a missionary. For now, I'm sitting in Ohio. It's my fourth day here. We got back from Utah and there was about 3 inches of snow on the ground, the next day it was 50 degrees, then it rained and the snow was gone. It rained all night, but now it's snowing and freezing. This is typical. 

Oh, anyway. I'm reading this book by Boyd K. Packer called You may claim the blessings of The Holy Temple. It's a really old looking book, but I'm only a few chapters in and I'm astounded. This book has already moved me to tears and softened my heart to the cause of missionary work to the point that I cried over a family that was fighting on Food Network last night. 

I'm not making that up. 

The book mentions this story. I'd heard it before BUT it is my favorite. Here you go: 

"Around the turn of the century two missionaries were laboring in the mountain region of the southern part of the United States. One day, as they were walking along a ridge in the hill country, they saw people gathering in a clearing near a cabin some distance down the hillside. Because in the hill country the people were scattered, the missionaries did not often have a congregation to whom they might preach. They were attracted by this gathering and made their way down to the clearing. 

They discovered that there was to be a funeral. A little boy had been drowned. His parents had sent for the minister to 'say words' at the burial of the little fellow. The minister, who rode the circuit, only occasionally would visit these isolated families. But when there was to be a wedding, or when there was trouble, they would send for him. 

The elders stayed in the background to watch the proceedings. The little fellow was to be buried in the grave already opened near the cabin. The minister stood before the grieving father and mother and the others gathered and began his funeral sermon. If the parents expected to receive consolation from this man of the cloth, they would be disappointed. 

He scolded them severely for not having had the little boy baptized. They had put it off because of one thing or another, and now it was too late. He told them very bluntly that their little boy had gone to hell. He told them that it was their fault, that they were to blame - they had caused their son endless torment. 

After the sermon was over and the grave was covered, the friends, neighbors, and relatives left the scene. The elders approached the grieving parents: "We are servants of the Lord," they told the sobbing mother, "and we have come with a message for you." 

Wow. They shared a message of eternity with those parents. How their son was not doomed to endless torment. They bore testimony of redemption for those who had died. How comforting that must have been- to know their son was okay.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is GOOD NEWS. We can repent and live with our Heavenly Father again! With our families! And Christ! It's the perfect message of hope and happiness. How can people not accept that? Well, Satan is always at work. Always. Members and non-members alike. 

As a pre-missionary, I get to simply look forward to finding people and teaching them about the good news of the Gospel. But as I study and read and learn, my heart softens more and more. I see everyone struggling in one way or another and it breaks my heart completely. Life wasn't meant to be easy AT ALL, but it is still hard to watch others struggle. 

Learning about the temple and promised blessings of eternal joy makes me want to run down the strait and narrow with cleats and blinders (not typical sister missionary attire, I know). Even though it should be easy to see temptation that will lead us away from making our sacred covenants in the temple and be all, no way, sista and turn the other way, Satan knows how to get us. He can convince us to sin all while making us believe it is perfectly okay. Then, when we finally realize that we feel guilty for sinning he makes us embarrassed so we do not seek help. He runs us into a dead end that can ultimately be the end of our happiness. 

Here's the great news. Our Heavenly Father loves us NO MATTER WHAT. And we can always go back to Him. We're supposed to feel shame, but we can fix our sins and know that our God remembers them no more (Isaiah 1:18). That's how much He loves every single one of us. 

It's the perfect message and if you are struggling with this truth or anything... loneliness, depression, any sort of sin... think about how the Atonement was performed that you might feel of Christ's love for you. He died so you, yes YOU, can be perfected and have eternal life in the mansions above that have been prepared. It is nobody's job to judge you, only to love you. 

So eternity is a message of love from every aspect. Heavenly Father loves us an incomprehensible amount and wants eternity for us. Don't intentionally walk away from Him with mistakes that can be fixed, choices made long ago, or anything you can think of that might pull you away from the Gospel. 

Christ never said it would be easy, but He said it would be worth it. Seek after your blessings and the peace that comes with Christ's love. I can't wait to serve and teach this sweet message. The Church is true and the book is blue! Bonne chance! 

Christ is knocking, will you let Him in?