My daddy gave a powerful talk in church today that I can not do justice paraphrasing so I included the whole thing.
“Grateful that Brother Guthrie has asked me to be the youth speaker today. Please, don’t laugh. I very well could be the youngest person in the room right now . . . . spiritually! I have often thought that my grandchildren might be much older and wiser than myself (spiritually).
Actually, I’m doing pretty well physically. Just the normal aches and pains. But, mentally I’m a little concerned. I seem to be getting more forgetful. Brother Guthrie must have noticed my condition. He gave me this assignment before Sacrament Meeting a few weeks ago. Then, he approached me again during Sunday School, just to remind me. He handed me a book about the topic, in case I have forgotten what I knew about the Atonement. As he started to leave, he turned back and said, “I’ll e-mail you.”
The little book that Brother Guthrie handed me is Christ in Every Hour,
By Anthony Sweat, an assistant professor of Church history at BYU. If you are interested . . .
I am anxious to share this with you today, because if I ever knew this about the restoring power of Christ, I must have forgotten it. It’s fun to teach something new. I will try not to get emotional.
There is a little story at the beginning of Chapter 3 that leads us into this study of Christ’s restoring power.
On December 17, 2010, a lit 300-watt light bulb was mistakenly left on top of a wooden speaker enclosure in the attic of the Provo Tabernacle. Within a few hours, unstoppable flames had consumed the interior of the historic 125-year-old building built by Mormon pioneers, leaving nothing but a five-brick-wide exterior wall. This beautiful architectural sight was nothing but a heap of burnt rubble.
However, nearly a year later at general conference, President Thomas S. Monson announced that the burnt Provo Tabernacle would be restored – and not just as a tabernacle, but as a temple. Something that seemed to have been tragically lost was going to be given back. What was burnt and dead was going to be wiped clean and given life. What was broken was going to be fixed. Something taken was to be restored – this time with an angel Moroni on the spire.
The story of the Provo City Center Temple serves as a microscopic example of a cosmic force in our lives – the divine power of restoration. On this earth you and I suffer the effects of a fallen world. Plucked from our Heavenly Parents’ premortal fireside, we are sent to this earth with all its stark contrasts of health and sickness, peace and war, joy and pain, good and evil.
God our Father takes good notes of the things we experience in mortality. He notices the fall of every sparrow and the loss of every hair and keeps exact inventory. As a loving Father he weeps when we suffer, particularly when it’s not our fault – when a 300-watt light bulb burns through our wooden life – when our parents divorce, when our spouse betrays us – when someone accuses us falsely – when we experience a physical or mental debilitation – when we suffer oppression, poverty or violence.
In the midst of telestial burns we suffer, however, stands the celestial figure of Christ, who says to you and me, “Your life is in my hands. In my own way, and in my own time, I will redeem. I will restore”.
Jesus came to redeem men from all the effects of the Fall of Adam and Eve. Although the Fall was necessary for God’s purposes, paradise was lost. Murders were committed. Sin became common among men. Innocents suffered. The wicked prospered. Healthy cells metastasized. Families fractured. The quiet, balanced harmony in Eden shattered.
Therefore, God offered to make things right. He offered atonement through his Son. The ultimate definition of the word “atone” means to reconcile, or to restore harmony. If we break the word down into three parts as “at-one-ment”, we can more clearly understand what is meant by the idea: to take what is out of harmony and make it “at one” again, or brought back to its proper, balanced, rightful state.
Jesus can perfectly right every mortal wrong.
The effects of the Fall of Adam and Eve include many factors besides sin and death, such as poverty, suffering, oppression, and so forth. Thus, the full concept of Jesus’s restoring power involves the power of rebalancing everything that is a result of the Fall to an at-one status. That’s right, everything! In his own time and in his own way, all the imbalanced inherited effects of Eden – including injustice, inequity, and unfairness – will be made right through the perfect, all-encompassing atoning power of Christ.
Elder Richard G.. Scott taught, “The Atonement will not only help us overcome our transgressions and mistakes, but in His time, it will resolve all inequities of life – those things that are unfair which are the consequences of circumstance or others’ acts and not our own decisions.”
Whether in this life or the next, Christ will repay, reinstate, renew, refresh, or return any blessing that was lost, denied, or taken in this life. He will perfectly restore, rectify, redeem, and recompense any injustice or undue suffering that was a result of our mortal experience.
Christ’s power of restoration says, “If you didn’t have the opportunity to be married in this life, you will eventually. If you couldn’t bear children, you will be given that blessing. If you lost a child to an untimely death, you’ll have them back and raise them. If you’ve been denied a physical capacity, you’ll one day regain it. If you’ve never had the opportunity to hear the gospel in this life, you’ll be given that in full”.
When we learn of the law of restoration we may think, Yes, yes! I believe all of this! Amen! Hallelujah! Give me back what I’ve lost! Go ahead, make the wrongs right! But soon we may also find ourselves thinking, Why is this taking so long? Why aren’t you restoring my blessings now? Restoration doesn’t work. Or perhaps, Am I not doing something I need to be doing to help bring this about? To make the blessings of Jesus’ restoring power available in our lives, it is necessary to understand and live certain fundamental truths related to it. Two of these truths are the sowing and the growing seasons.
One foundational truth is that we must sow now what we desire to reap later. If we desire to reap God’s fruits tomorrow, we can’t plant Satan’s seeds today. “Be not deceived,” the Apostle Paul said, “God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. . . (Therefore) let us not weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not” (Galatians 6:7,9). Christians sometimes call it the “law of the harvest,” meaning that whatever we send out comes back to us, or that we reap what we sow. The Savior taught that forgiving others (or not forgiving) has a direct effect on our being forgiven by God. Part of the law of restoration may be stated thus: What we are sending out – or planting – in our lives will return to us, or will be restored to us. If we trust in Christ’s restoring power, then we must strive to live now with an eye toward how we hope to be recompensed later.
A second foundational truth in the law of restoration is that sowing and reaping are always separated by a growing season. Nothing is ever harvested the same day, neither here in mortality or spiritually in heaven. The Lord will truly recompense, but restoration usually does not happen according to the schedule we desire; it usually requires a space of time.
This is because Jesus’ goal isn’t just to give things to us; it is to grow things in us.
There is a reason that God placed “cherubim and a flaming sword” (Moses 4:31) to guard the tree of life after Adam and Eve partook of the forbidden fruit. God wanted Adam and Eve to grow to become more like him. He knew that immediate redemption from their fallen condition would negate the point of their fall in the first place. They needed to work. They needed to bear children. They needed to be justified and sanctified. They needed time to grow.
Thus, the growing season changes our perspective of the harvest season. Ironically, because the growing season does what it does to us, often the greater reward isn’t what we reap, but what we have become in the process.
Gratefully, like Job, some of our lost blessings are made up and harvested during this life. We must understand, however, that the harvest season always comes in God’s own way and time, and usually takes place long after the growing season is complete. Much of what Jesus taught about restoration was future restoration. Future bodies. Future heaven. Future recompense. Future relationships. Future blessings. But, there will be recompense and restoration to such an extent that God’s children will exclaim: “Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways” (Revelation 15:3), so much so that every nation, kindred, tongue, and people shall see eye to eye and shall confess before God that his judgments are just” (Mosiah 16:1).
The knowledge of the restoring power of Christ should give us power in our everyday lives. It should give us hope. It should help us forgive. It should help us to live the golden rule. It should inspire us to sow good seeds in today’s sowing season and also learn patience during our growing season. It should give us reason to trust in God who is fair even when life is unfair. It should help us look in faith through the ashes of our damaged tabernacles to the rebuilt and restored temple inherent within each of us – yes, with a metaphorical angel Moroni on top.”