Saturday, September 3, 2011

His Hands

The past three and a half years for me have been an incredible journey of trial and heartache, but also of healing, learning, and love. I can see how much my Heavenly Father has blessed me – He has given me a wonderful family to love, great friends who understand me, and most of all, He has blessed me with a Savior, Jesus Christ. In Alma chapter 7:11-12, it talks about how the Atonement is not only for our sins which we have committed, but it is also for our pains and afflictions. I know that my Savior has felt every single moment that I’m in pain, and He has felt all of those nights of sorrow when I have cried myself to sleep because of the burden which I carry. Knowing that my Savior has felt it too – makes it so much easier for me to bear the burden and carry the trial. When I feel broken, He is the One who picks up my shattered pieces and puts me back together. Because of His unconditional love, I know that He is leading and guiding me through my life. I love Him so very much, and I know He has me encircled about with his love. I am struggling right now with bearing the pain and blind spells, but I am getting by, because all I have to do is remember how much Heavenly Father has blessed me with, and then I have more strength to make it through.

I want to share with you an experience I had just over a year ago. I’m not exactly sure why I’m meant to share this now… I haven’t shared this with too many people, but I feel prompted to share it with you – hopefully the Spirit will portray my words in a way that will touch your heart and you are able to feel and understand what it is that you are meant to learn from this.

Just about a year and a half ago, I was sitting in Sacrament meeting – in Red Wing, Minnesota (I was receiving treatment from Mayo Clinic in Rochester, and the Red Wing ward is where I had some dear childhood friends and teachers.) It was my first time back to sacrament in quite a while, over a month and a half; I had been missing sacrament meeting because of the especially severe headache that was plaguing me. As the sacrament was being passed, I started to ponder what it means to me to partake of the sacrament, this symbol we have of Christ’s body and blood that was bruised and spilt for us. As I took the bread and passed it on, it was like my eyes were opened up to a vision right in front of me. It was almost like watching a movie – some parts were blurred, and some parts were clearer. Sometimes I could see an entire scene, and sometimes I could only see a small portion of the big picture. At first, I saw a man, kneeling at a rock – in the manner of praying. Then the vision zoomed in, and I caught a quick glimpse of Christ’s face, before the vision zoomed in on His hands. They were clasped onto the rock, gripping it tightly, and they were shaking as blood poured from each pore on His body. I knew what I was witnessing was the beginning of the Atonement, at the garden of Gethsemane. But all I could see were His hands – grasping that rock so tightly – I knew He was in so much pain, and that He wanted to give up – but He didn’t. He held fast to the Father’s plan for Him, even when it hurt… even when it was so excruciating, He never gave up. I watched His hands grasp that rock, over and over, He was scraping His palms on it, but I knew that was because of the pain He was feeling. All I wanted to do was to grasp His hand, let Him know that I was there, helping Him, giving Him more strength to make it through. I wanted to shout toward Him, telling Him it would be all right, and thank Him for what He was doing for me. But my lips were unable to move, my mouth was unable to speak. Then the vision changed multiple times, flashing scene after scene. I watched the hands of Judas, passing the leather bag of silver into dirty hands. I watched the hands of Pilate, as he washed them in a bowl, flicked them clean, and dried them on a clean white towel. Then I watched as my Savior’s hands were tied together and pulled up – they gripped the rope which tied them so tightly – I knew that this was the time when His persecutors stripped his back, and whipped him with a leather whip, that had shards of sharp rock and metal hanging from the end. I knew they were placing the crown of thorns on His head, because I could see His hands tighten their grip even more on the ropes which bound Him. I could feel a tiny part the agony that He felt. I never saw them strike Him, I only saw the zoomed-in, blurry-edged version that only allowed me to see His hands gripping the rope. But I knew deep within myself what they were doing to Him. And I also knew deep within myself that the ropes which bound Him on earth could not bind Him forever. Then the vision changed again. This time I watched as they grabbed one of His hands and straightened His arm against the wood beam He was laid upon. Then, to my horror, I watched as they picked up the spikes, about ¾ of an inch round and about 6 inches long, and they set them on His hands – again, I wanted to cry out and yell at His tormentors, “You don’t know what you’re doing! That is Jesus Christ, the Savior to each one of you, and you’re about to kill Him!” I wanted to grab the man that held His hand flat to the beam, push him aside and take care of my Redeemer. But I could not speak or move. Then I watched the hammer, more like a wooden mallet, come down… and as it came down, almost in slow motion, the head of the mallet changed… and I flashed through experiences of my own life – the time I disobeyed the Spirit, and because of that, a woman fell and hit her head and started bleeding. Slam! The mallet hit, and I could hear the bones in His hand break. My eyes widened as I watched the dreadful scene. The time I snapped back at my mother, and didn’t recognize the hurt in her eyes. Slam! The spike drove in even further, my own sins on the end of the mallet. The time I felt jealous of my friends who didn’t have to live with such pain. This time I shook my head, and tried to close my eyes, but the vision was still there. I couldn’t leave it. I watched the mallet slam into His hand a final time… the vision suddenly zoomed in on the face of the persecutor holding the mallet… and I saw my own eyes and face staring back at me. The vision closed, and I burst into tears right as the water was being passed to me – it seemed as if the time of the vision had been hours, and the time on earth had been only a few minutes. I put the sacrament cup to my lips and drank – with a depth and a fire burning in me so strongly it almost took my breath away. I realized the gravity of the Atonement. I realized just what I had done to my Savior, and I realized exactly what Jesus Christ, my Lord, Savior, and Redeemer has done for me and does for me each day. The words, “Forgive them, for they know not what they do,” resonated in my mind’s ears the rest of the day. I realized that each time I make a mistake or sin, I am the one driving that mallet into my Savior’s hands. And yet, He forgives me each time, He forgives each blow that I slam into His hands and feet, because He loves me. He loves me with a love so deep and strong that I could never sing enough praises to Him.

Without these headaches, I would have never known my Savior, truly know Him. I am so blessed each day that I have the relationship with Him that I do – and I would challenge you to seek out a better relationship with Christ through your own prayer and scripture study. I know it’s hard to do sometimes because of your own pain, challenges, and trials you’re wading through. But I know it is possible. And I know as you DO strive to seek a greater understanding of Christ and His atonement, I know your heart will “sing the song of redeeming love” as it says in the scriptures. You will feel power from on high, and you will become ever more the son or daughter He wants you to be. Your joy will be full, and peace will come.

1 comment:

  1. What an amazing experience. Thank you for sharing such a personal thing with me. It has moved me.