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Finding Peace and Strength through the Atonement of Jesus Christ

Audio" Finding Peace and Strength through the Atonement of Jesus Christ"
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Thank you for the beautiful musical number. Sacred music calms my soul and invites the Spirit. Whether you are here in the I-Center or listening online, I extend a warm and heartfelt welcome. I am humbled and grateful for the opportunity to speak to you today. I have earnestly sought guidance from Heavenly Father about the message I should share, and I pray the Holy Ghost will be our companion as we spend time together.

Several years ago, my daughter, Jenise, was preparing for a mission. She patiently waited for her mission portal to open and quickly started to work on the needed documents. As she was preparing to submit the final paperwork, she experienced appendicitis, which of course, required surgery. Five days after the appendectomy, she became extremely sick. I quickly ran her to the hospital, and shortly after arriving, the doctors rushed her into emergency surgery. This surgery and the introduction to new medication required Jenise to postpone submitting her paperwork for three months. Jenise was devastated. At the time, she did not understand why she had to postpone her mission. However, while serving in the Massachusetts Boston Mission, she discovered that the mission delay allowed her to cross paths and make connections with individuals whom the Lord needed her to meet. It can be difficult to understand why we must face some of the tough situations in our lives; one thing that can provide comfort during the challenges of life is learning to rely on the enabling power of Atonement of Jesus Christ.

The word atone means to reconcile or to restore to harmony. Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can be reconciled to our Heavenly Father. Only Jesus Christ could redeem us from our sins. We have been taught this foundational principle of the Atonement of Jesus Christ from an early age; however, there is another aspect of the Atonement of Jesus Christ that is important to know and use in our lives.

In a BYU devotional, Elder David A. Bednar shared two aspects of the Atonement of Jesus Christ:

I suspect that you and I are much more familiar with the nature of the redeeming power of the Atonement than we are with the enabling power of the Atonement. It is one thing to know that Jesus Christ came to earth to die for us. That is fundamental and foundational to the doctrine of Christ. But we also need to appreciate that the Lord desires, through His Atonement and by the power of the Holy Ghost, to live in us—not only to direct us but also to empower us. I think most of us know that when we do things wrong, when we need help to overcome the effects of sin in our lives, the Savior has paid the price and made it possible for us to be made clean through His redeeming power. Most of us clearly understand that the Atonement is for sinners. I am not so sure, however, that we know and understand that the Atonement is also for saints—for good men and women who are obedient and worthy and conscientious and who are striving to become better and serve more faithfully. I frankly do not think many of us “get it” concerning this enabling and strengthening aspect of the Atonement, and I wonder if we mistakenly believe we must make the journey from good to better and become a saint all by ourselves through sheer grit, willpower, and discipline, and with our obviously limited capacities. [1]

While my daughter was serving her mission, she continued to endure trials and challenges with her health. Each time my phone rang with a Massachusetts phone number, my heart would sink, and a deep sense of concern would wash over me. Jenise had been in the mission field for almost a year when she suffered her most challenging health issue. She visited the emergency room three times in two weeks, each time with a new diagnosis and medication to help ease her pain. I prayed intensely for the doctors to figure out what was going on and help her feel better. After a month of not feeling well, Jenise’s condition started to decline quickly. With permission from the mission doctor, Jenise and her companion visited the emergency room again. While in the emergency room, her temperature spiked to more than 101 degrees. She was chilled, nauseous, and in a lot of pain. Jenise had experienced a kidney stone six months earlier on her mission. She would suggest to the doctors that this was another kidney stone, but they did not listen. This time, the attentive emergency room doctor listened and confirmed it was a kidney stone; it had been lodged for a while and had caused a serious infection. The doctor called me and explained that she had sepsis, her condition was serious, and if not treated immediately, she could die. They rushed her into surgery to drain her kidney, and she spent a few days alone in the hospital. I was ready to fly to Jenise’s side in Boston, I thought she needed her mom, but I was wrong. After expressing a heartfelt prayer, I set off for work. The sun radiated brightly as I reached the crest of the hill by the Rexburg temple, and then I heard a voice: “You do not need to go. I hold Jenise in my hands, and I am watching over her.” Instantly, I felt enveloped by love of my Savior. He cherished my daughter, and He was all she needed. The time spent alone in the hospital allowed Jenise to recognize Jesus Christ’s influence in her life during the good and bad times. She knew that Jesus Christ gave her the strength to endure her challenges.

In her email that week, Jenise shared,

I have been pondering why so many health problems have come on my mission. I am still praying about it, but one thing I have learned is that Heavenly Father never abandons you. He has never abandoned me. He doesn't turn His back and mumble, “Oh that Sister Taylor is back in the hospital again. She's not a good missionary.” Our Heavenly Father loves us so much!

He is so proud of the efforts we make! Sometimes our best efforts are teaching the Restoration at 2:30 a.m. in a hospital hallway, and sometimes they are amazing lessons about the power of priesthood blessings. But God is aware of us at all times. Everything happens for a reason, and I testify that God is so good.

Alma was one of King Noah’s priests who believed the words of Abinadi and sought to follow the path of righteousness. However, his commitment to righteousness did not shield him and his people from persecution. Amulon, a wicked priest of King Noah, sought to oppress Alma and his people. Amulon imposed heavy burdens and tasks upon them, subjecting them to cruel treatment and hardship.

Amid their afflictions, Alma and his people turned to God in prayer, seeking comfort and deliverance from their suffering. Despite the threat of death for praying out loud, they continued to communicate with God silently in their hearts and minds:

The voice of the Lord came to them . . . saying: Lift up your heads and be of good comfort . . . I will covenant with my people and deliver them out of bondage.

And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs . . . this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, . . . that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions. . . .

It came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord. [2]

Divinely aware of their afflictions and the sincerity of their hearts, God provided comfort, strength, and eventually deliverance to Alma and his people. Their unwavering faith and perseverance in the face of adversity serve as a testament to the power of prayer and the divine mercy and protection extended to those who seek Him.

There were many days that I felt heavy with worry about how Jenise was feeling, and the six days between phone calls were really hard. She was constantly on my mind, and I worried if she was okay. The 2018 youth theme song “Peace in Christ” was introduced the year Jenise left on her mission. I listened to that song often and trusted in these words:

He gives us hope
When hope is gone.
He gives us strength
When we can't go on.
He gives us shelter
In the storms of life.
When there's no peace on earth,
There is peace in Christ. [3]

These words were instrumental in fostering a hopeful attitude and drawing me closer to our Heavenly Father. Through them, I've learned to rely on the enabling power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ for strength, comfort, and peace. Understanding the Atonement has revealed its expansive reach—He not only redeems us from sin but also can heal every wound we may encounter in this mortal life. Jesus Christ, through His suffering in Gethsemane, intimately comprehends the pain, heartache, and despair that we endure.

Joseph Smith spent four months during the winter of 1838 in the bottom level of Liberty Jail, often referred to as the dungeon. The jail was dirty, cold, dark, and without beds. The meager food they received was not good and sometimes poisoned to make them sick. President Henry B. Eyring shared the following:

In the depths of his anguish in Liberty Jail, the Prophet Joseph Smith cried out: “O God, where art thou? And where is the pavilion that covereth thy hiding place?” Many of us, in moments of personal anguish, feel that God is far from us. The pavilion that seems to intercept divine aid does not cover God but occasionally covers us. God is never hidden, yet sometimes we are, covered by a pavilion of motivations that draw us away from God and make Him seem distant and inaccessible. Our own desires, rather than a feeling of “Thy will be done,” create the feeling of a pavilion blocking God. God is not unable to see us or communicate with us, but we may be unwilling to listen or submit to His will and His time.

Our feelings of separation from God will diminish as we become more childlike before Him. That is not easy in a world where the opinions of other human beings can have such an effect on our motives. But it will help us recognize this truth: God is close to us and aware of us and never hides from His faithful children. [4]

After long months of suffering, the Prophet Joseph Smith received reassurance from the Lord: “My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment.” Then the Lord promised him, “If thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.” [5]

Amid the challenges we face, we can understand that God is our steadfast companion, listening to our prayers and urging us to trust in His guidance. Even during moments when we may feel distant from His presence, His enduring love offers us hope and reassurance.

May I share a personal experience with you? In recent years, I've encountered some of the most challenging trials and tribulations of my life. Life felt overwhelming as I grappled with the responsibility of holding my family together, losing my dad, the pressures of work, and the demands of building a house, all while feeling deeply isolated. In the midst of it all, I lost sight of a crucial aspect—keeping Jesus Christ at the center of my life.

One Sunday as I sat in church, feeling numb and disconnected, a profound realization struck me: I faced a critical decision. I could either embrace my Savior, Jesus Christ, drawing strength from His love and guidance, or continue along a path that would lead me farther from Him. I knew immediately that leaning into Christ was the right path to take. Despite the difficulties, these experiences have brought me closer to my Heavenly Father.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland shared these words of encouragement:

Don’t give up, . . . Don’t you quit. You keep walking. You keep trying. There is help and happiness ahead—a lot of it . . . You keep your chin up. It will be all right in the end. Trust God and believe in good things to come. . . . Some blessings come soon, some come late, and some don’t come until heaven; but for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, they come. [6]

I began to deepen my scripture study, listen to conference talks, offer heartfelt prayers, seek priesthood blessings, and increase my temple attendance. With a sincere desire to draw nearer to Heavenly Father, I noticed a remarkable transformation: the weight of my burdens began to ease. While my struggles persisted, I found myself equipped with newfound determination and a positive outlook to confront them. I felt the love of my Savior. In those moments was clarity and reassurance that everything would be alright, and that I was loved beyond measure. It's a feeling of being encircled by God’s love and a reminder that I am valued and cherished by my Savior. You are also loved and cherished by our Savior, Jesus Christ.

In Matthew 11:28–30, we are invited to come unto Him and He will lighten our load. In these verses, Christ is speaking directly to you and me:

Come unto me, [Insert Your Name] all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

[Insert Your Name], take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. [7]

As I turned to the Savior, I felt impressed to study recent talks by President Russel M. Nelson. Here are four things that we can do to draw nearer to God; this counsel will assist us in feeling His love and strength:

1. Focus On the Temple

Spending more time in the temple is one way to find rest—or peace—from the challenges of today’s world. President Nelson taught, “My plea to you this morning is to find rest from the intensity, uncertainty, and anguish of this world by overcoming the world through your covenants with God.” [8]

2. Increase Faith in Jesus Christ

“Through your faith, Jesus Christ will increase your ability to move the mountains in your life, even though your personal challenges may loom as large as Mount Everest.” [9]

3. Daily Repentance

“When we choose to repent, we choose to change! We allow the Savior to transform us into the best version of ourselves. We choose to grow spiritually and receive joy—the joy of redemption in Him. When we choose to repent, we choose to become more like Jesus Christ!” [10]

4. Think Celestial!

“I encouraged you to begin with the end in mind. This means making the celestial kingdom your eternal goal and then carefully considering where each of your decisions while here on earth will place you in the next world.” [11]

This is a short list of action items that President Nelson has invited us to do. I challenge each of you to consider one thing you can change in your life to move Jesus Christ to the center. Let’s take a minute to reflect and jot down one thing you can work on.

Later today, I urge you to spend time planning out how you will successfully make this change. Whether it's dedicating time for prayer and scripture study, serving others, or seeking personal revelation, let's commit to taking steps forward to strengthen our relationship with our Savior, Jesus Christ. Are you up for the challenge?

I know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and through His infinite Atonement, we can find forgiveness, healing, and peace. I have felt the Holy Ghost guide me and comfort me in times of trials. I know that as we strive to live the gospel of Jesus Christ, we can find joy and happiness in our lives. I am grateful for living prophets and apostles who provide guidance in how to navigate current-day challenges. I am thankful for temple blessings that connect our families for eternity. I know that God loves each one of us. He knows us individually and desires our happiness. As we turn our hearts to Him and follow His Son, Jesus Christ, we will find peace in this life and eternal life in the world to come. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.


[1] David A. Bednar, “In the Strength of the Lord,” Brigham Young University devotional, October 23, 2001,

[2] Mosiah 24:13–15.

[3] Nik Day, “Peace in Christ,” Liahona, January 2018.

[4] Henry B. Eyring, “Where Is the Pavilion?,” Ensign or Liahona, November 2012.

[5] Doctrine and Covenants 121:7–8

[6] Jeffrey R. Holland, “A High Priest of Good Things to Come,” Ensign, November 1999.

[7] Matthew 11:28–30.

[8] Russell M. Nelson, “Overcome the World and Find Rest,” Liahona, November 2022.

[9] Russell M. Nelson, “Christ Is Risen; Faith in Him Will Move Mountains,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2021.

[10] Russell M. Nelson, “We Can Do Better and Be Better,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2019.

[11] Russell M. Nelson, “Think Celestial!,” Liahona, November 2023.