Saturday, August 4, 2012

The Great Plan of Salvation

My five older boys understand death.  My little twins are too little.  But my almost-four-year-old little girl just doesn’t get it.  I was trying to explain to her what happened to Grandma Susie, the whole die, get buried, go to Heaven, be resurrected thing, and it went something like this:
    “Oh.  Resurrected is good.  I want to be resurrected right now.”  I tried to explain that before you could be resurrected, you had to die first.  “Then I want to die right now!”  I realized that strange things have to be looked at in a bigger context before they make sense.  The inequities and unfairnesses of this life make no sense at all until we look at them in a much bigger overview.

Things here are sometimes very hard.  To get through, I use my GPS - the Great Plan of Salvation.  Before I can get anywhere, I have to first acknowledge the terrain.  There are mountains, plateaus, rivers, and buildings which I didn’t put there.  They were there before me.  This is the framework set up by God: First, we lived with God .  There, we had the presentation and acceptance of His plan, the creation of the Earth, the fall, and our own births here.  During earth life is also where Christ atoned for our sins, making it possible for us to return to live with God.   We die, go to paradise or spirit prison as a temporary reward.  In the end comes resurrection, or our bodies and spirits reuniting, and the final judgement, where we are ultimately responsible for our own actions, and if we’ve been good, our reward: living with God again.

Next, I need to chart my course.  I have to decide which way I am going to go - on the freeway, the scenic route, through the city, making detours...  I can choose to accept God’s plan or not.  I get to pick whether I want to do the good things God outlined as the best way to stay on course:  accept Christ, be baptized, receive ordinances, share love - or not.  Moral agency, the ability to choose and act for ourselves, is essential in Heavenly Father's plan.

A testimony of the Great Plan of Salvation can give us hope and purpose as we wrestle with the challenges of life. We can find reassurance in the knowledge that we are children of God and that we lived in His presence before being born on the earth. We can find meaning in our present life, knowing that our actions during mortality influence our eternal destiny. With this knowledge, we can base important decisions on eternal truths rather than on the changing circumstances of life.

Going over this GPS is more than just an intellectual exercise.  Elder Henry B. Eyring said that it is “not just to know who God the Father is and who Jesus Christ is and who the Holy Ghost is. It’s to feel that is reality and that those individuals—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost—are real, that they know [us], and they love [us] and they are attentive to [us]”  And it’s an chance to use faith in choosing what seems to be the best course even though I can’t verify every traffic stop.  It is also an exercise in courage, to get started and keep going.

My mom taught me about the GPS when I was a little girl.  She used pictures in Family Home Evening to outline the terrain.  And she forged the path to show me which way to go.  She was an organized planner.  She knew that hard things were easier when we used a road map.  Anticipating her death, she outlined all of the important things we needed to know in this book, down to “don’t all five of you talk - the meeting will be too long.”  

When she wanted to progress in her job at the school district, she made a plan to go back to college and get her degree in computer science of something smart like that.  Then she mustered the strength to work her plan.  I remember her sitting down with her homework at the kitchen table, begging my brother to help her with her math.  She made a binder for us as we planned my wedding, noting all the important things that needed to get done, and planning when to tackle each part.  She taught me to plan out the steps, so that you would only have to worry when it was necessary. She made countless lists on yellow lined pads, wrote innumerable sticky notes of things that needed attention, and calendared just about everything - except this funeral.

She planned on having this family stay together forever, and worked toward that goal.  She made frequent phone calls to each family, to keep in touch and see how we were doing.  She sent cards in the mail and fun email cards.  She gave gifts and took the grandkids out to dinner on their birthdays.  She wrote down that we should be kind to each other, just in case we forgot.

And she had a firm testimony that the Lord can help as we drive through life.  One time we were on a family vacation, driving through gorgeous canyons.  She was driving along a road, precariously winding along the side of a steep cliff.  Suddenly, she pulled over.  She didn’t know why, but had been prompted to stop.  As Dad investigated, he realized that this was the last turnout for a while, and that the steering wheel had somehow worked its way loose.  If Mom had steered around one more sharp turn, the steering wheel would have come off in her hand, leaving the vehicle without direction.  It was sobering to realize that we easily could have been killed.  

I am so grateful for Heavenly Father’s Great Plan of Salvation.  I am grateful for my dear mother teaching it to us, and showing us the way.  I am grateful for God for engineering the path, and that Christ made it possible.  As I chart my own course, I remember her loving example, and hope that I can pass it along to my children.  Thanks, Mom.

1 comment:

  1. Janette-- It really was a beautiful talk. You testify clearly and beautifully. Muster your courage and carry on testifying boldly. LOVE YOU TONS!