Lately I have been feeling more and more gratitude for my Savior Jesus Christ, and He has been on my mind a lot more frequently. A few weeks ago I was asked to give a talk in church on this article with the prompt, "What does Jesus mean to us today?" I've been thinking about that question since then, even after my speaking assignment. When I see people on the street, hear stories on the news, or think about things going on in the lives of people I know, so often the thought comes to mind, "the Savior can heal that." The following is a list of some of those things I've thought of, and how they apply in our day.
- Because of the Savior, we will all live again. I had a good friend die recently. He was just 31 years old and spent the last seven months of his life in a coma. He was newly married, and after just two months of "real marriage," his wife got to watch him slowly slip away over days and weeks and months from where she was sitting everyday next to his hospital bed. The pain she has experienced through that has been tremendous, and she continues to struggle--a widow at 27, all their plans and dreams and hopes for the future gone. But because of the Savior, I know that my friend lives again, and I know his wife will see him again.
- Because of the Savior, we can be with those we love forever. If they accept the Gospel and take part in the eternal sealing covenant, those like my friend and his wife can be together forever. My grandma passed away in 2008. It's incredible how much I think of and miss her. But though I miss her, it is without pain--I know I'll see her again. Time goes by so fast, and the day will come when I will be able to hug her and hear her voice once more. Because of the Savior.
- Because of the Savior, our sins can be forgiven. We can be better tomorrow than we were today, and truly change. I have a very good friend from college who committed a very serious sin several years ago. The consequences of his choice included being kicked out of school, sent back to his home country, shamed publicly, and losing his fiancee, his athletic scholarship, almost all of his friends, and a great deal of pride. But I had the opportunity of stepping into the baptismal font in a temple with him a year later, where he was wearing white, completely forgiven, cleansed, and changed. He was not the same man he was before or when he committed that sin. He was new, and he was whole. Because of the Savior.
- Because of the Savior, we can be healed from pain. This is a big one. It includes being healed from the pain and embarrassment of small things, like feeling rejected when someone you like doesn't reciprocate, to the pain we experience because of anther's choices. It's not something I talk a lot about, but I have a long past history of extreme abuse. Often when people find out about it they are very surprised because I "seem so normal" or as one lady told me recently, "for having a history like that, you are very smiley." That's just the point! The Savior can heal us so completely from bad and hurtful experiences, that though scars remain, we can still live a beautiful, happy, wonderful life, no matter the dark places we may have been stuck in at any point. Because of the Savior, we can be happy.
- Because of the Savior, we always have a friend. I now live more that 7000 miles from my closest friends and family. I have spent most of my adult life away from them, in fact, and while I always miss them and love them greatly, the separation is made so much easier because I know that I am actually not alone. None of us are ever truly alone! Because of the Savior. And I just have to say something more about this--prayer is such a blessing! I have felt so close to my Heavenly Father lately as I have tried to really talk to Him, to pour out my soul. I know He is there, and I know He hears. I know He cares.
There are so many reasons to love and be grateful for the Savior. I can't list all of them here, and I think that because all of us have different trials, He probably means many different things to all of us. But I challenge you to try this test: ask yourself, "What does Jesus mean to me?" or "Why does Jesus matter in my life?" Such an exercise, at least in my experience, is a blessing. It opens our eyes to all the ways we are so dependent on Him, and how lost we would be without Him. I love Him. I am grateful for Him. I stand with President Faust in declaring, "To the question 'What does Jesus mean to modern man?' I testify that He means everything."
And because of Him, we have great reason to rejoice.