There are days I wander through the various offerings on the Internet. Invariably, the Lord leads me to something that touches my heart and nourishes my Spirit. There are words, pieces of art, and music that resonate with my soul and teach me a different perspective. This change of perspective, as guided by the Spirit, brings me comfort and peace.
I find in these moments of contemplation, I no longer feel my physical ailments – for a few moments I am free. I have suffered daily for almost five years with unexplained persistent nausea. No doctor, nutritionist or specialist has been able to explain it or cure it. Sometimes I wonder, “Am I really ill? Perhaps this is all a dream? Perhaps this is the moment I wake, and my suffering will be gone?” Unfortunately, reality does return, and the nausea persists. Oh, but for a moment relief was found! Through seeking to know and understand the Lord a tender mercy is extended to me.
There is a balm, a comfort, a soothing restoration to our troubled hearts which is found in contemplation of our Lord Jesus Christ. Peace comes as we contemplate His miraculous birth, study of His teaching on the hillsides of Jerusalem, and ponder upon the miracles and healings He wrought as He walked the roads of Galilee. Even the words of a simple hymn crossing your mind can calm a troubled heart. There is strength and power to be found in the simplest of actions. It is the endowment of divine grace – a gift from a loving Father as we strive to know His Son.
I have found great hope and peace in the words of those who have suffered varying afflictions. I have found myself seeking out the stories of those who have faced afflictions and have found the strength to endure and, in some cases, overcome.
I am grateful for their willingness to share some of their innermost thoughts and feelings. They have helped me carry on. They have helped me find perspective as I realize my ailments are tiny compared to others.
I have also come to see that for every story told there are hundreds more that could be told. These stories of surviving afflictions of all kinds seem endless. These survival stories are found in the scriptures. They are found in people who are struggling today. Whatever the degree or type of suffering I find a bond with them through my own suffering.
The Savior and Redeemer of my soul has suffered all things, He has descended below all things. (D&C 88:6) I think I now have a glimmer of the value of suffering and affliction. It can be a source of bonding and becoming one with the Savior. It can be a place of common experience, even on the smallest level. I see now that Jesus Christ understands my specific afflictions. He also knows my needs and the best ways to help me overcome as He himself has.
Just as I feel a bond with those whose stories I’ve read, I can increase my bond with Jesus Christ. Just as the experiences of others bring me new perspectives, new hope and renewed determination: Jesus brings me perfect perspective, perfect hope and perfect strength to endure.
My bond with my Savior is strengthened as I study His life, His actions and reactions, and reach out to Him in prayer. My bond with Him also binds me to my Heavenly Father – for they are One. To know Jesus Christ is to know Heavenly Father.
Once I came across an intriguing list of traits, we all have in common with Jesus. It is both daunting and encouraging to consider that I do have things in common with my Elder Brother Jesus Christ. It makes sense considering children of the same parents often share similarities.
Heavenly Father is the Father of us all and so we have divine attributes in common. As I identify shared attributes with my Savior, I feel more united with Him. This thought extends to the people around me – if I seek to see the divine attributes of our Father in them, I find myself feeling more united with them.
Jesus Christ is a perfect exemplar therefore, I see the things I still lack. The plan is perfect because the atonement of Jesus Christ provides an enabling power for the natural man to overcome these mortal weaknesses that abound within us. The counsel to “liken the scriptures unto ourselves” is wise, important and the way towards becoming like Christ.
How can you become what you do not know? I have found my days are better when I study and follow the counsel of President Russell M. Nelson to look for Jesus Christ in the scriptures and “make time for the Lord.” (Make Time For the Lord, Russell M Nelson, Oct 2021)
I do not want to be disrespectful by making these things seem ordinary. There is nothing ordinary about Jesus. There is nothing ordinary about us – we each inherited some portion of divinity. I hope that seeking for commonalities with Jesus Christ does not diminish His glory, His sacrifice and His perfection or the sacredness of His continual service for each one of us. I hope in my seeking to know Him, my love, my gratitude, my respect, and my awe will increase. I hope to never lose sight of the sacred.
My suffering has taught me there is strength, peace and comfort to be found in Jesus Christ. There is power in the very thought of Him. As I write these words and think of the influence of Jesus Christ in my daily life the Spirit is present and witnesses that our Redeemer lives and loves me and you. I am learning my life is better when I include in my thoughts, and efforts, a focus on Jesus and invite His loving presence into my day.
Jesus Christ is the source of the balm I seek. Comfort, restoration and soothing peace are found as I think of Him, study of Him, sing of Him, remember Him and step-by-step, follow Him.
PC: Beautiful artwork by Lauren Grace by Design
Deborah is an encourager, supporter, helper, peace seeker, teacher, writer, friend, honorary mother, and happy GG.
She is a retired probation officer, family history researcher, wreath maker, baby diaper gift creator, and virtual journey walker.
Missionaries found her in Nova Scotia, Canada. She served a mission in Japan. Deborah went to BYU Provo and earned a Social Work degree and the University of Toronto for a Master’s degree in Adult Education.
She loves to learn and expand her knowledge. You will often find her in the midst of completing an assignment for an online course. A manager once asked her “When will you stop taking courses?” Her reply was “Hopefully never! There is so much yet to know.”
She has always been filled with a desire to share her love of art, an appreciation of music, and gospel insights all with the purpose to share her love of Jesus Christ and His presence in her life.
She now faces the challenge of finding a balance in her dual role as caregiver to her mother while also requiring caregiving.
Heavenly Father made it impossible for her to live elsewhere so she moved to Raymond, Alberta, Canada.
You can connect with Deborah through A Worldwide Sisterhood by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.