I know that my Redeemer lives. My belief in my Savior came as naturally as my belief that the sun would rise: from seeing it in action day after day. In my home, the Whole Armor of God wasn’t just talked about, it was lived. We studied the scriptures and said family prayer every morning. We wrote in our journals and had Family Home Evening every week. Church, seminary, and mutual attendance were non-negotiable. We lived and breathed the gospel, despite our failings and fights. In the midst of trials, we were taught to lean on the Lord.
At an early age, I lost my mom to cancer. I used to pray every day that Heavenly Father would bring her back to life. Morning and night for months, I would plead with Him to let me see her again. And through every prayer and tear-soaked pillowcase, I knew He would do as I asked. I knew He would return her to me and that I would be with her again. I knew it as surely as Abraham knew that, despite God commanding him to sacrifice Isaac, He would yet fulfill His promise that Abraham’s seed would be as numerous as the sands of the sea and the stars in the sky—and it would somehow come through Isaac. I knew with that kind of certainty. But my nine-year-old mind didn’t realize how. I didn’t understand that my prayer had already been answered. Two thousand years ago, our Father sent His Son to atone for us. That atonement covers our sins, our pain, and our sorrow. It covers the lifetime of longing I have felt in losing my mom and a decade’s worth of heartache over my infertility. Through the atonement—and if I am faithful—I know that my sins can be washed away so I may be found worthy to enter into God’s presence after I die. Through the atonement I know my family can be together forever.
All the Lord asks is my obedience. Like the hymn tells us, “At times I am tempted to make a wrong choice.” Other times, I’m more than tempted: I act on it. It would be so easy to allow Satan’s lies to convince me that I can, as Elder Robert D. Hales has said, “participate in ‘selective disobedience’ ” to make myself feel better. It would be so easy to decide that some prophets are “more man than mantle,” and dismiss their counsel to justify my actions. But to do so is to trust in man, not God. To do so is to let the devil cheat my soul. To never see my mom again. To give up an eternity with my family and my God.
I know that the price of discipleship may sometimes seem more than we can bear. We will lose friends and loved ones to cancer or, even worse, to the world. We will be mocked and ridiculed for our beliefs. We will feel sorrow and despair and we will face spiritual whirlwinds so intense, we will hardly believe it possible to live through them, let alone stay standing. When that happens, we must not give up. We must come unto Him. We must believe Him when He says “my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” We must seek Him and draw near unto Him and defend His kingdom. As Elder Neil L. Anderson said, “These are (our) days–to stand strong as disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.”