There are many things that we don’t utilize within the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Many people only reach for Christ’s help when they sin. But the Atonement is not just for atoning for sins. The Atonement covers everything. It was Jesus’ act of love for us so that we might one day return to Him. The Atonement is there so that we can find peace and love during hard times and good times. Dallin H. Oaks says,
“In mortality, we have the certainty of death and the burden of sin. The Atonement of Jesus Christ offsets these two certainties of mortal life. But apart from death and sin, we have many other challenges as we struggle with mortality. Because of that same Atonement, our Savior can provide us the strength we need to overcome these mortal challenges.”
Health, Illness, and Injury
In the fall of 2016, I injured my back. I had ruptured three discs and they were leaking spinal fluid down my spinal canal and it agitated the nerves in my legs which caused my legs to go numb and me not being able to walk. I was up at college and it was the first week of school, and because of this injury I was not able to go to my classes and had to file for a medical deferment.
It was hard for me to make the decision to go home but I wasn’t able to move without pain and I had no way to get to classes. My parents came to pick me up and help me drive my stuff back home. For the rest of the year, I was in a lot of pain. I went to physical therapy, got shots in my spine, went to multiple doctors, two ER trips, CT scans, MRI’s, and met with a Neurosurgeon. It was hard to feel happy or even good about myself.
I turned to God and prayed that He would take the pain away, that the physical therapists could help me become strong again so that I could function in my everyday life. That I could get out of my bed and be able to walk and to go with my family. I came across this quote by Dallin H. Oaks,
“Our Savior experienced and suffered the fulness of all mortal challenges ‘according to the flesh’ so He could know ‘according to the flesh’ how to ‘succor [which means to give relief or aid to] his people according to their infirmities.’ He, therefore, knows our struggles, our heartaches, our temptations, and our suffering, for He willingly experienced them all as an essential part of His Atonement. And because of this, His Atonement empowers Him to succor us—to give us the strength to bear it all.”
I realized that because Jesus had experienced all the pain of mortal challenges, He already knew how I felt. He knew what having ruptured discs in your back were like. I prayed that He would help me manage the pain and to give me comfort during this time.
For the first time since receiving my injury, I felt comfort and peace in my heart. It felt like a warmth surrounding me like someone was giving me a hug. I kept going to physical therapy, kept getting my body stronger. When the 2017 winter semester started in January, I was able to go back to school. I was just happy that I could walk without pain.
One of the many things that we have to face on this earth is the pain of rejection. This is especially so for teenagers among their peers. They face rejection based on what they believe, the color of their skin, their gender, their hobbies, their body type, their popularity.
I have faced much rejection for what I looked like when I was a teenager. The people who I thought were my friends bullied me about how big I was or because I wanted to do the right thing. It is painful and despairing to hear that you are worthless or stupid every day. Jesus faced all this for me so that He would know how to comfort me when I came to Him.
When you reach adult years, rejection comes in the form of unemployment or other things in your path. “Those who suffer this circumstance should remember that our Savior experienced this kind of pain also and that, through His Atonement, He offers the strength to bear it” (Oaks, Strengthened by the Atonement of Jesus Christ). We need to remember that Christ has felt all of this during the Atonement and He can help comfort us through it. He gives us the strength that we didn’t know we had.
“Even as we are ‘troubled on every side,’ we are ‘not in despair’ (2 Corinthians 4:8). We know that our spiritual growth requires ‘an opposition in all things’ (2 Nephi 2:11). We also know that the Lord ‘seeth fit to chasten his people; yea, he trieth their patience and their faith’ (Mosiah 23:21). But the scriptures also teach that He will deliver those who put their trust in Him” (Oaks, Stand as Witnesses of God).
This is crippling to our spirits. Some of you may know someone who suffers from an addiction to pornography or drugs. The grip of these addictions is strong. Whether this affects you or a loved one, you need to turn to the Atonement. It “loosens the grip” that addiction has on you. Turn to the Savior and receive His strength to help overcome this.
I have had many friends in my life who have suffered from addictions. There are many types out there. I suffer from an addiction to food. I use food to make myself feel better, to comfort myself when I feel especially sad or lonely. The Atonement covers that! Jesus wrought the Atonement because it helps us, it covers us completely and fully of what happens in our lives no matter what we do. This is when we turn to Repentance.
“Nowhere are the generosity and the kindness and mercy of God more manifest than in repentance. Do you understand the consummate cleansing power of the Atonement made by the Son of God, our Savior, our Redeemer? He said, ‘I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent.’ In that supernal act of love, the Savior paid the penalties for our sins so that we might not have to pay.For those who truly desire it, there is a way back. Repentance is like unto a detergent. Even ground-in stains of sin will come out” (Boyd K. Packer, Cleansing the Inner Vessel).
The Atonement Covers Everyone
I find this as hard to believe as anyone. To think that God would care that much for all of us that He would send His Son to suffer for us. To give us the comfort that we need. I had stopped praying when I was in high school. I felt that God didn’t care about me, that there was no possible way. Why would I believe any different when people kept telling me I was worthless.
It was hard to go to college and make friends. I thought that everyone would feel the same about me in college that people had thought about me in high school. I felt that I was unlovable and that there was no reason for Jesus to have wrought the Atonement for me. I didn’t understand at the time what the Atonement was really about and just how fully it covered me. And how it would come to comfort me.
I really understood that when I was in my first semester of college. I was severely homesick and I was anxious and scared to be on my own for the first time. I kept to myself and stayed in my room most of the time. I was dealing with depression and anxiety attacks.
I had this one roommate. She was amazing. She realized that something was wrong and came to talk to me privately. She came with me when I went to talk to the Bishop and then she was there every day after that just to listen to me and help me understand God better. We had long talks about the Atonement and what the Atonement means.
“Because of His atoning experience in mortality, our Savior is able to comfort, heal, and strengthen all men and women everywhere, but I believe He does so only for those who seek Him and ask for His help. The Apostle James taught, ‘Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up’ (James 4:10). We qualify for that blessing when we believe in Him and pray for His help” (Oaks, Strengthened by the Atonement of Jesus Christ).
It may be hard to believe, but the Atonement is available to everyone. We just have to ask Him for help. The Atonement of Jesus Christ is the love of Christ for us.