When we ask ourselves “What lack I yet?” most of us (if we are being honest) would have to respond with a long list of faults and failings. Is there any reason to hope for anything better?
In the world that many of us imagine for ourselves, each of us is at the bottom of a deep pit built of our mistakes, sliding down the sandy sides each time we try to make a little progress. Truthfully, none of us is so far down that the Savior cannot reach us, so lost that he cannot find us, or so covered in sin that he cannot make us clean.
In our mortal state, we sometimes lose the ability to see that truth. But every so often, a wind blows, a cloud shifts, and we see things as they are. This happened for me when I heard the general conference talk “Approaching the Throne of God with Confidence” by Elder Jörg Klebingat.
I was in a cycle, alternating between the joy that comes from understanding and living the gospel and the frustration of past wrongs and slow progress. It seemed that I was getting closer to the Savior, but not close enough or quickly enough. Despair was beginning to weigh me down and drain the hope that comes through steady belief in the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
Imagine my surprise when Elder Klebingat described my feelings exactly! “The adversary knows that faith in Christ . . . goes hand in hand with a personal confidence that you are striving to choose the right,” he said. “For that reason he will seek access to your heart to tell you lies—lies that Heavenly Father is disappointed in you, that the Atonement is beyond your reach, that there is no point in even trying, that everyone else is better than you, that you are unworthy, and a thousand variations of that same evil theme.” Each of those lies had crossed my mind that very morning, as though preparing me to allow Elder Klebingat’s words to sink into my heart.
Those words were the gust of wind that dispelled the clouds of despair. Vicious lies, designed to make me feel as though God was far away, had penetrated my heart. In reality, Heavenly Father was and is within my reach. Hope filled my soul in place of despair, truth in place of lies, faith in place of doubt. A simple message had lifted me from the imagined pit.
While I still lack many things yet, I am learning to have hope in my Savior. Elder Klebingat offered a simple list of things that I could do to improve my confidence in the sight of God, and I have begun doing them. I am living with more hope because I have seen the world as it is.
If you are being digested by despair or are pinned down under fears and doubts, let me say, in the words of Elder Klebingat, “Yours is the privilege, if you want it, to come to know for yourself, today or soon, that you are pleasing God in spite of your shortcomings.”
Read Elder Jörg Klebingat’s article “Approaching the Throne of God with Confidence.”
Source: October 2014 General Conference
—Rebekah Johnson, Washington, Illinois
feature image by tim marshall
Find more insights
Read more about how to handle life’s toughest moments in Leah Emal’s Mormon Insights article “Finding Joy in the Process.”