Day 87 S-366-LYDoG:
“He is not here, but is risen.” (Luke 24:6)
On a Friday hundreds of years ago, persons both living and dead mourned as our Lord and Savior was laid to rest. After a harrowing night of agony beyond words, followed by the shame of public trial where people of his own nation sent him to be slaughtered, the earth itself mourned the death of the only begotten Son of God.
I cannot imagine the sorrow and despair that was experienced by those close to the Savior during his life. I often wonder what those days might have been like. Would I have been faithful in awaiting his return? It is more likely that I would have identified more with Thomas, who doubted that his Savior was actually there in the resurrected flesh. I imagine that those days felt dark and lonely as many might have wondered if the Savior was truly set to return. I can only think that the despair of suddenly being without the beloved Son after having basked in the light of his presence during the years of his ministry must have been crushing.
My thoughts then turn to my Savior and the significant sacrifice he has made for me, for you, for all mankind. Every single person who ever was, or will be, benefits freely from the gift of his atonement. Not only did he suffer for the sins of the world, he took upon himself every burden, every mistake, every sickness and infirmity, every … single … moment of pain or grief! Conceptualizing that kind of pain is impossible, let alone actually experiencing it. The fact that he suffered the torment of our physical afflictions in addition to all the rest; it is no wonder he bled from every pore.
My heart aches to think of his agony and distress when he declared “Oh My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me:” but the beauty is in the second half of his plea, “nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.” (Matt. 26:39) If only I might have the strength and faith to allow my Father in Heaven to work his will in my life rather than demanding that the cup pass me by.
The day of the Lord’s rising did come, though. He did rise from the tomb with his resurrected body overcoming death and the power of death over mankind. To quote one of my favorite dissertations on Easter:
“I think of how dark that Friday was when Christ was lifted up on the cross.
On that terrible Friday the earth shook and grew dark. Frightful storms lashed at the earth …
… On that Friday the Apostles were devastated. Jesus, their Savior—the man who had walked on water and raised the dead—was Himself at the mercy of wicked men. They watched helplessly as He was overcome by His enemies.
On that Friday the Savior of mankind was humiliated and bruised, abused and reviled.
It was a Friday filled with devastating, consuming sorrow that gnawed at the souls of those who loved and honored the Son of God.
I think that of all the days since the beginning of this world’s history, that Friday was the darkest …
… But the doom of that day did not endure.
The despair did not linger because on Sunday, the resurrected Lord burst the bonds of death. He ascended from the grave and appeared gloriously triumphant as the Savior of all mankind.
And in an instant the eyes that had been filled with ever-flowing tears dried. The lips that had whispered prayers of distress and grief now filled the air with wondrous praise, for Jesus the Christ, the Son of the living God, stood before them as the [first-fruits] of the Resurrection, the proof that death is merely the beginning of a new and wondrous existence.” ~ Sunday Will Come; Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, website link.
What a marvelous event, what a miraculous gift. I, personally, cannot wait to partake in the gift of the resurrection. You all know the torment I feel being trapped in this broken body. Yet, I think of the Savior and his misery on my behalf and I am truly humbled. Humbled enough to rally my faith and hope and to look forward to my own personal “Sunday.” Further, I am absolutely overcome by the fact that I don’t have to wait to partake of his atoning sacrifice. I can, and do, participate in being “at one with” my Savior on a daily basis. Without this relationship I would dwell in a hopeless and miserable wasteland. With his help I can see the light at the end of my tunnel; he is that light which guides me through my “Friday” and helps me see the purpose in these challenges. Without my testimony of him I would have given up and given in to despair long ago.
“Each of us will have our own Fridays—those days when the universe itself seems shattered and the shards of our world lie littered about us in pieces. We all will experience those broken times when it seems we can never be put together again. We will all have our Fridays.
But I testify to you in the name of the One who conquered death—Sunday will come. In the darkness of our sorrow, Sunday will come.
No matter our desperation, no matter our grief, Sunday will come. In this life or the next, Sunday will come.” ~ Sunday Will Come; Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, website link.
Easter is my favorite Holiday; even more so than Christmas, though it is a close second. I love that Easter occurs in the spring when the whole world is awakening from its own winter “Friday.” What a beautiful time of year to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior and the renewed hope and light that it brings into our lives. As the sun shines on the earth, warming her and coaxing her back to life, so does the Son of God shine for us that we might hold fast to our faith in him and find continual rebirth as we learn and grow. Then, eventually when we partake of the resurrection and are reunited with our perfect bodies, no more to suffer the pains and sorrows of this earth, we are blessed to live in the springtime of our lives for all eternity.
I add my personal testimony to that of Elder Wirthlin’s that I know that my Savior lives and that he loves me. More than that, I know that he understands me better than I even understand myself. When I am in the depths, I can truly feel his presence as though he were there ready to catch me in his arms. I love my Savior and My Father in Heaven for, he too, must have despaired watching his Son suffering for the sake of his children. I am grateful beyond expression for this supreme act of love. I testify that these blessings are available to all mankind and that you, each and every one of you, is loved by your God and his Son, Jesus Christ.
This is my personal testimony of my Lord and Savior, may it uplift you and give you strength as it has given me; and then may you have the courage to reach out to him for succor as he is most willing to provide, if you but ask.