On an impromptu early morning walk with a child who decided to rise with the summer sun, I picked a random conference session to listen to on mormon channel.
As I walked in the fresh stillness of the morning, this talk "The Way" by Elder Lawrence E. Corbridge made a deep impression upon my mind. It was a strong unequivocal message from scriptures, a plea from our Saviour to recognize He is the way, the only way.
There is only one way to happiness and fulfillment. He is the Way. Every other way, any other way, whatever other way, is foolishness.
Only God can bless us. Only He can sustain us. Only He can cause our hearts to beat and give us breath. Only He can preserve and protect us. Only He can give us strength to bear up the burdens of life. Only He can give us power, knowledge, peace, and joy. Only He can forgive our sins. Only He can heal us. Only He can change us and forge a godly soul. Only He can bring us back into His presence.We live in a world that professes that everyone can go their own way, and ought to--that any overarching principles are oppressive and based in manipulative pressures to conform.
So instead everyone should just choose their own path and wander off to their own kind of self-found happiness. How egotistical of us? How self-involved? How blind to the sources of true direction and guidance we could have constant access to!
Nothing in this life is of greater worth than the supernal gift of the Holy Ghost. It is the source of joy, peace, knowledge, strength, love, and every other good thing...Every good thing depends on getting and keeping the power of the Holy Ghost in our lives.We've been duped into thinking high moral standards are just too hard, and we're scarred to set ourselves up for failure. I love how Elder Corbridge explains the source of this misgiving, and then clarifies the profound difference between our earthy endeavours and those urged and assisted by heaven.
...the Lord said, “I am the way.” 16 He said, “Follow me.” 17He said, “What manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am.” 18
Don’t think you can’t. We might think we can’t really follow Him because the standard of His life is so astonishingly high as to seem unreachable. We might think it is too hard, too high, too much, beyond our capacity, at least for now. Don’t ever believe that. While the standard of the Lord is the highest, don’t ever think it is only reachable by a select few who are most able.
In this singular instance life’s experience misleads us. In life we learn that the highest achievements in any human endeavor are always the most difficult and, therefore, achievable only by a select few who are most able. The higher the standard, the fewer can reach it.
But that is not the case here because, unlike every other experience in this life, this is not a human endeavor. It is, rather, the work of God. It is God’s work and it is His “glory … to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” 19 There is nothing else like it. Not anywhere. Not ever.
No institution, plan, program, or system ever conceived by men has access to the redeeming and transforming power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the gift of the Holy Ghost. Therefore, while the Lord’s invitation to follow Him is the highest of all, it is also achievable by everyone, not because we are able, but because He is, and because He can make us able too. “We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind [everyone, living and dead] may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.” 20And then this line, that has echoed in my head ever since I heard it:
Life is hard, not the gospel.Do we get confused? Do we feel the weight of callings and responsibilities and mislabel them as part of the burden we are pulling, our load of "things that make life hard"? When in reality the gospel is actually the yoke that ties us to the Saviour who makes our immovable load pull-able?
“There is an opposition in all things,” 21 everywhere, for everyone. Life is hard for all of us, but life is also simple. We have only two choices. 22 We can either follow the Lord and be endowed with His power and have peace, light, strength, knowledge, confidence, love, and joy, or we can go some other way, any other way, whatever other way, and go it alone—without His support, without His power, without guidance, in darkness, turmoil, doubt, grief, and despair. And I ask, which way is easier?The gospel is the easier way. Life is hard, not the gospel. The gospel is what grants the perspective, the assurances, the sustaining power and daily even hourly strength we need to make it through the tough things life throws our way.
[Christ] said, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; … and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” 23I don't think the promise of "light" is just referring to weight. But of the brillant light that comes into our lives to illuminate the path, and grant us glimpses of where we headed.
Life is hard, but life is simple. Get on the path and never, ever give up. You never give up. You just keep on going. You don’t quit, and you will make it.
There is only one way to happiness and fulfillment.
Jesus Christ is the Way. Every other way, any other way, whatever other way is foolishness.
I bear record of Him, even Jesus Christ, that He is the Son of the living God, He is the Bread of Life, He is the Truth, He is the Resurrection and the Life, He is the Savior and the Light of the World. He is the Way, the only Way.
I know the gospel way is the only way to real peace and joy. I know that because when I look into the faces of my children and primary children and feel overwhelmed with a love for them that wants everything good for them, that wants so badly for them to find beauty and fulfilment and avoid anguish and heartbreak... when I look in their faces and tell them, "come this way", "take my hand and I'll show you the path, I'll bring you to Jesus, who has taken my hand and walked with me"--when I plead with the energy of my soul with them to choose this path, that is when
I know it is right.
It is not just a choice I have made, a culture I feel comfortable in. It is the way. The only way.
And when I am filled with pure desires for those little ones that I've been blessed to love and teach, it is when I point them to the Saviour that I receive anew that witness that I am indeed pointing them in the only sure and true way.
I remember sitting in the Houston Temple, my oldest son on the verge of a life-altering diagnosis, my next soon-to-be-born-son softly hiccuping inside my swelled pregnant belly, the spirits of my other children also seeming to linger near. I was overwhelmed. I wanted healing for Aaron--out of a fearful desire to avoid the unknown more than anything--but I also felt a loss of any pretence of control. I was paralyzed by the realization that I couldn't shield my children from the crushing blows of mortality (no matter how much I wanted to), that I could not save them, that I was powerless to keep them safe from all they surely would face.
I remember my turmoil of thoughts trickling out into one repetitive prayerful plea,
"Help me save my boys! Help me save my boys!"
The only desire of my heart. I'd give anything.
I remember looking up at a large painting of the Saviour.
It was all pastels and gentleness. So bright and beckoning.
And then the answer, soft and kind. And clear.
"Bring them to me."
He is their Saviour. He will heal them. He will save them. He can do what I can not.
From that day, that has been my quest. That is all I can do. I can not save my children, but he can. And my only job is to "lead them, guide them and walk beside them", as they make their way to Jesus Christ, my Saviour and theirs.
He is the way The only way.
I'm grateful to have felt that message again and be reminded.
That His way is not hard.
Life is hard, not the gospel.