Do you ever think about the worth of souls? I mean the true worth of each person on earth, good or bad. Member or non-member. Church leader or apostate. Everyone on earth is a person with feelings, hopes, desires, passions, and beliefs. Every soul in this world experiences good and evil, virtue and vice, light and darkness, health and sickness, pleasure and pain. And yet, Christ loved us each so very much and so unconditionally that He gave His own life as a ransom for us all.
Despite the differences we may have at times, I feel a profound love generally for my fellowman. I especially feel a love and closeness to my own family. Words simply cannot express the sacredness of those feelings. I hope for yet greater love and understanding and light in my life.
I wish I had more faith. I say this because I have a lot of fear still in my life. Fear is the opposite of faith. I live at times in fear of the future and what it may bring. Of losing someone that I love. Or worse, the fear of my own child or someone I love dearly, suffering, being brutally tortured, or dying in a horrific manner, and/or dying prematurely.
Do you ever look into the eyes of a child you love and just pray to God that they won’t ever be called to serve in a senseless war for example, on the front lines, to be lost on a cold beach, on a hot sandy desert, or in a fox hole or prison cell? Alone and afraid and in awful pain?
Maybe I should never think of such things. But such thoughts are a reminder of the faith that I still lack and the need and the dependence we each have upon our Lord.
When I read Nephi’s account that “I considered that mine afflictions were great above all, because of the destruction of my people, for I had beheld their fall” — I am often overcome with sadness. Can you imagine Nephi seeing his family members, feeling a family connection, seeing his own grandchildren who look like him and his wife and siblings, and watching them being stabbed, smitten, cimitered, crushed, decapitated, vivisected, raped, beaten, eaten, burned, drowned, and brutalized in every way imaginable!
Or in the case of Enoch whose heart broke after the Lord “told Enoch all the doings of the children of men; wherefore Enoch knew, and looked upon their wickedness, and their misery, and wept and stretched forth his arms, and his heart swelled wide as eternity; and his bowels yearned; and all eternity shook.”
Clearly this perspective must have deeply affected Nephi and Enoch and all others shown such things. Perhaps even more so to think that these souls who endure human suffering might also endure an endless torment was what caused them to connect to God and get the power from heaven needed to make a difference.
Now they were desirous that salvation should be declared to every creature, for they could not bear that any human soul should perish; yea, even the very thoughts that any soul should endure endless torment did cause them to quake and tremble.
I seek faith. I seek that anchor to my soul and that trust in the Lord that “their bounds are set” and that He is in charge! What would it be like to live without fear! To have such faith to face fire, the lions’ den, even death in its most horrific manner, with confidence, love, light, and courage! Oh what glad tidings indeed if one can be redeemed and receive the Gifts of God, even Faith, Hope, and Charity!
Even then though, and perhaps more so, those who do acquire these gifts, still weep for mankind as do John the Beloved and the Three Nephites. But I suppose and have hope that such groanings of the Spirit are swallowed up by the inexpressible joy spoken of in scripture.
God is good. He is mighty. He is kind. He is in charge. Despite my concerns about the direction of the Church, I feel in my heart to love its members without conditions. Their souls too are precious. They have feelings and righteous desires just as I do. I pray for them and hope they too can find faith to live without fear.
Our connection to heaven and a promise from God that we are saved, is our only hope in this dark and dreary world. May we all be so blessed is my humble prayer.
Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God; For, behold, the Lord your Redeemer suffered death in the flesh; wherefore he suffered the pain of all men, that all men might repent and come unto him. And he hath risen again from the dead, that he might bring all men unto him, on conditions of repentance. And how great is his joy in the soul that repenteth! Wherefore, you are called to cry repentance unto this people. And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father! And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!