Thursday, April 10, 2014

Because I Love You

Because I Love You

This week has been on of enlightenment and understanding. I really have come to understand at a deeper level, the infinite love that our Savior and Heavenly Father have for us. How often do we fall? How often do we make a mistake or fail to live up to the Lord's expectations? Because we are all mortal, we all make mistakes. No unclean thing can enter the kingdom of God, we fall short of the possibility of eternal life with our families. Eternal regret is all that we will have forever; unless we repent and are made clean through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

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God is our loving Heavenly Father, so He has provided a way for us to return to Him. This way is through Jesus Christ and His gospel. The Atonement of Jesus Christ is the 'price' paid for the sins of the world; but this 'transaction' can only be processed if we are willing to repent and follow Him. We must become like the Savior if we are to live with God forever.

As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we make a sacred covenant with God when we are baptised. We promise to keep His commandments and try to be like Jesus. But what if we make a mistake again? One thing I have learnt is that God always loves us, and our Savior's arms are always outstretched. It is up to us to grab hold to those loving arms. I am reminded of my favorite poem, "The Race", by Dee Groberb. I love this poem because it perfectly puts into perspective our purpose and journey in life.

The poem starts with a young boy who is racing against his competitors. He is confident that he will win so that his father who watches from the crowd will be proud of him. As the race starts, he gives it all his effort. But as he's running in the lead, he trips and falls. Embarrassed and discouraged, he searches till he can see his fathers face. The look of concern on his fathers face stirs a desire to get back up, and try again to win the race. As he makes up lost ground, he trips and falls a second time. Still determined not to disappoint his father, he gets back up to try again.

As he continues down the track for the second time, he trips again over a bump. This time the reality of the situation sets in. He feels as though all hope is lost, that the race was no longer worth running. He could just live with his disgrace. But then he remembers his father, who soon he'd have to face. For the third time, he rises and goes on to finish the race.

As the winning runner crosses the line, the crowd cheers for his victory. But as the fallen youngster crosses the line last place, the crowd gives him an even greater cheer for getting back up and finishing the race. The last part of the poem is one of great power, and my explanation couldn't do it justice. Groberg writes:
"With borrowed will, “Get up,” it said, “You haven’t lost at all,
For winning is no more than this–to rise each time you fall.”
So up he rose to win once more. And with a new commit,
He resolved that win or lose, at least he wouldn’t quit.
So far behind the others now, the most he’d ever been.
Still, he gave it all he had, and ran as though to win... 
...And to his dad, he sadly said, “I didn’t do so well.”
“To me you won,” his father said, “You rose each time you fell.”
And now when things seem dark and hard and difficult to face,
The memory of that little boy helps me in my race.
For all of life is like that race, with ups and downs and all.
And all you have to do to win is rise each time you fall.
“Quit!” “Give up, you’re beaten!” They still shout in my face,
But another voice within me says, “Get up and win the race!”

Whenever a hard time, or a trial comes along in my life, I think of the example of this little boy. Thinking of all that he goes through to win the race, I am reminded of myself. Many times I fall, and many time's I've had to get back up again. God is that loving father. He stands off at the side watching and cheering for us. It hurts Him to see us fall, and brings Him great joy when we get back up again. He doesn't want to see us fail

I know that God lives and loves each of us. Jesus Christ is our Savior, Redeemer and brother; and He loves us more than we could ever comprehend. He stands at the door and knocks, waiting for us to open. The only way to open this door is to follow and live His Gospel, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This gospel will lead us back to our Heavenly Father and will make it possible to be with those we love for eternity.

When life gets tough, and you feel as though life is falling apart; When you feel as though you have fallen and can't get back up again, remember that all you have to do to win, is rise each time you fall. And when we do, our Savior will be there waiting as we cross the line, first place.

-Elder Cullen