27 December 2022

Repentance and Hope

This post is part of the General Conference OdysseyThis week covers the Saturday afternoon session of the October 1999 conference.

I listened to all of the talks this morning while I did the dishes from yesterday. We have a vintage dishwasher, me! All of the talks were great, but I especially felt drawn to Elder Eyring's and Elder Holland's talks because of some challenges a son is facing. I think the two talks dovetail perfectly.

Elder Eyring spoke of not procrastinating our repentance. One of the reasons he gave for promptly repenting is so that we don't miss out on blessings and service. He spoke of a man who began to smoke at age 12 and after a few years left both his small hometown and the church. He worked construction jobs, married, had a family, but ended up divorced and estranged from his family. In fact, he ended up quite alone living in boarding houses and out of a single trunk.

One night as he was lightening his load he found a Book of Mormon in the bottom of his trunk. He never knew how it got there, but he read it through and knew through the Spirit that it was true. He realized that all those years ago he had walked away from the true Church of Jesus Christ. 

This now old man and a young Elder Eyring were district missionary companions. Elder Eyring was teaching a lesson and told the people of the power of the Atonement to give a new heart and wash away sins. Later the older man rebuked Elder Eyring saying: ". . .that while God was able to give him a new heart, He had not been able to give him back his wife and his children and what he might have done for them. But he had not looked back in sorrow and regret for what might have been. He moved forward, lifted by faith, to what yet might be."

That struck me as a parallel to my life for reasons I won't go into here. I have a firm testimony of the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ to pay for sins and to heal sorrows, but the one thing it cannot do is to change the consequences of sin. If we delay our repentance, procrastinating, or worse, refuse to repent, we will suffer the full and unalterable consequences of our sins, both in this life and the life to come.

Elder Eyring ends on such a sweet note: "Those in our families who love us, on both sides of the veil, would say as we consider whether to humble our hearts and repent, 'Please, do not delay.' That is the Savior's invitation and His plea."

Elder Holland's talk focused on the promise of the Savior's role as "An High Priest of Good Things to Come."
In the entire history of the world no one has ever loved so purely or served so selflessly--and been treated so diabolically for His effort. Yet nothing could break His faith in His Father's plan or His Father's promises. Even in those darkest hours at Gethsemane and Calvary, He pressed on, continuing to trust in the very God whom He momentarily feared had forsaken Him.
Because Christ's eyes were unfailingly fixed on the future, He could endure all that was required of Him, . . . Because He knows that for the faithful, things will be made right soon enough.

This is the talk in which he told the story of his young family moving to the east to go to graduate school and their dilapidated car breaking down twice in the same place. Such a tender story! Elder Holland ends with his testimony of the Father and the Son saying, ". . .They will sustain us in our hour of need--and always will, even if we cannot recognize that intervention."

Repentance and Hope! One leads to the other. And they are sorely needed in today's world, especially by me. 

Nana Rozy and grandbaby #3


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