Nearer My God to Thee

This week was really an amazing learning time for me. I was asked on Friday night to give a talk on the Atonement in church on Sunday. As you could imagine, I was a little overwhelmed, but when my companion got sick I had a lot of time to use on the preparation for this talk. Like you mentioned in your letter, the study of the scriptures and of the life of Christ raised my vision, and I was so filled with his love as I focused all of my energies to understand the Atonement better. As I studied, I remembered a comment that was made about Christ. The person said that all of Christ’s love and thoughts and actions were directed outward. In situations when the natural man would turn in, he turned to others. The example that I remember is that after Jesus had fasted forty days and been tempted by the devil, he sent angels to minister to John. In this time of physical weakness, when his natural man was clamoring for attention, he thought on John’s plight and sent angels to serve him. I was impressed by that idea, that the way to overcome the natural man in not by turning inward and seeking to tend to your personal needs, but to serve others, to lose yourself (your natural man) in the service of others.

Along the same lines, this week we met with a new convert in our branch. As we talked about the doctrine of Christ, he mentioned the parable of eggs in many baskets. He told us that people would always say; Don’t put all your eggs in the same basket. He then went on to explain his version of the parable. He said; I put all of my eggs in God’s Basket, because God’s Basket never breaks. And even if it does break, I know that I will be in a better place than I was before. This new member’s trust in God is so strong. He has had a harder life than most people, but he has let his trials bring him closer to God. That reminds me of the hymn Nearer, My God to Thee. The line goes;

Nearer, my God, to thee,
Nearer to thee!
E’en though it be a cross
That raiseth me.
Still all my song shall be
Nearer, my God, to thee,
Nearer, my God, to thee,
Nearer to thee!

This member shows that kind of trust in the Lord. Even if he is given a trial, he uses it to come closer to God. I have seen the importance of the Atonement in my life and I have recognized how important it is to follow in the footsteps of our Savior and Redeemer. He is the way the truth and the light. I know that it is possible to do all things that God requires of us, if we will lose our natural man in the service of God.

Take time this week to discover the Atonement in your life. Christ has enabled us with his atoning sacrifice. Thank you for your great emails and your love and prayers.

Elder J Billings

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