If you are Christian, you probably have a pretty good understanding and strong belief in resurrection. After all, it was Jesus Christ who made it possible for all of us to be resurrected, our spirit and our body reunited again after death, in a glorified form, never again subject to the sickness and pain brought about because of the Fall of Adam and Eve.
But, have you ever actually thought about how it would feel like to be resurrected? Personally, I’ve never given it much thought. But I know people who think about it quite a bit. Even long for it. I’ve heard elderly people talk about how much they look forward to having a youthful body again. I’ve heard bald men mention that they will someday have their thick wavy hair back. I’ve listened to women commiserating about their wrinkles and varicose veins say throw in a comment about the perfect body they will someday have.
So just try to imagine for a moment what it will really FEEL like to suddenly have a perfected body. You could see with perfect vision. You could walk and run with agility. You could hear things that have long been silent to you. You would feel a strength and sureness of body that you might never have experienced before.
When you are suddenly able-bodied, you might be filled with a desire to try something that you have always felt too inadequate to try in the past. You would no longer feel self-conscience because you are too fat, or thin, or short, or misshapen, or feeble.
Can you imagine those feelings? Can you imagine how good that will feel?
Well, guess what. Just as Jesus Christ enabled us to someday feel rejuvenated about our physical bodies, Jesus Christ has also made it possible to have those very same experiences in a very real, but spiritual, sense when he atoned for our sins.
The spiritual pains and defects from which we suffer can be taken away from us through repentance and coming unto Christ, just as surely as our physical pains will disappear at resurrection.
Yes, it would be nice to have perfect eyesight. Like many people, I am beginning to know what it feels like to have my eyes grow dim with age, to not be able to focus on things that used to clear. That’s a physical thing.
Unfortunately, I also know what it’s like to have my spiritual eyes dimmed by sin. To slowly lose focus of what is right. To be blinded by what the world has to offer.
And then I’ve also felt how repentance has brought my life into focus and I’ve experienced being able to see and understand spiritual things in with a new clarity, like putting on eyeglasses for the first time.
Maybe your hearing isn’t as good as it once was. And it’s not Just that things aren’t loud enough. It’s that you just can’t hear certain tones anymore. Or some peoples’ voices sound like mumbles. Again, physical problems.
I’ve had years of pride take away my ability to hear the spirit, to hear the love and concern in the voice of my brothers and sisters who wanted to be there for me.
And I can testify of the way repentance allows me to begin hearing my Father in Heaven’s voice all around me. In acts of service, in the beauty of nature, and in answers to my prayers.
You might know what it is like to feel weak. Maybe you see others lifting things that you can’t, or opening jars that you can’t budge.
I know what it feels like to be spiritually weak. I’ve avoided the fellowship of church folk because I didn’t feel like I belonged among righteous people. I’ve felt like my prayers were bouncing off the ceiling and were never heard.
But listen to me, the Atonement has allowed me to feel spiritually strong and close to my Father in Heaven. I have felt the strength of my Priesthood as I worthily gave blessings of healing and comfort that have left me physically drained but quickened by the Holy Spirit.
You know that feeling you imagined earlier of wanting to try new and difficult things with your resurrected body? I have felt that same way when I allow the love of God into my life. I know that when I allow the atonement to work in my life, I have the desire to try things that I’ve felt inadequate to try in the past. I don’t feel as afraid to fellowship a new family at church. I feel more comfortable talking about spiritual things and blessing the lives of others.
No, I’m not any more perfect than I was when I turned my back on God. But I feel reborn. And I am learning to allow myself to feel God’s love for me. Christians aren’t perfect, but they are forgiven. And there is a change that comes over you when you feel that.
Since I’m on the subject of imperfect people, I’ll share with you an experience I had a few weeks ago. I was having lunch with a cousin who hasn’t attended church in decades. The subject of religion came up in the conversation as I was talking to him about what keeps me busy.
When he was young, he had been a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He knew their standards and recognized how many of them didn’t follow them. He said, “I just can’t stand all the hypocrites in church. I remember there were people in my ward who smoked during the week. There were alcoholics. Some of them were hateful and dishonest people. If you are going to do those things, you shouldn’t go to church.”
My reply to him was the same thing I say to everyone who uses other people’s weaknesses as an excuse to not follow God. It’s a response that I’ve developed through years of my own struggles with imperfection. I said, “So by your reasoning, nobody should ever join a gym unless they are in perfect shape. Fat people shouldn’t go to the gym until they are thin. Weak people shouldn’t go to the gym until they have big muscles.”
My friends, Church is our Spiritual Gym. If you are weak and out of shape, this is the place for you. Jesus Christ has atoned for you. Don’t wait another day before you come to him and let him make you stronger.
No matter where you are in your progression, no matter if you are wallowing in the filth of the world, you can lift your dirty hand out to the Lord and he will lift you and make you clean.
In the January 2014 issue of the Ensign magazine, Deiter F. Uchtdorf wrote:
“At times in my life I have spent sleepless nights grappling with issues, worries, or personal sorrows. But no matter how dark the night, I am always encouraged by this thought: in the morning the sun will rise. With every new day, a new dawn comes—not only for the earth but also for us. And with a new day comes a new start—a chance to begin again.”
Now, There might be a few people reading this who have been working out for years in your little gym called Church. You feel like you are spiritually strong. You have made a lot of progress. You should be proud of how far you have progressed!
However, now is not the time to look around in contempt at all of us out-of-shape people, us weaklings, those of us with disabilities. It isn’t time for you to shake your head and question why we are so slow in our own progression.
Now is the time for you to become a personal trainer. Now is the time to help us, and show us, and teach us.
If nothing else, please be that voice that calls out, “you can do it!” while we struggle.
In the May 2014 issue of Ensign Magazine, David A. Bednar testified:
The Savior has suffered not just for our sins and iniquities—but also for our physical pains and anguish, our weaknesses and shortcomings, our fears and frustrations, our disappointments and discouragement, our regrets and remorse, our despair and desperation, the injustices and inequities we experience, and the emotional distresses that beset us. The Son of God can reach out, touch, succor, heal, and strengthen us to be more than we could ever be and help us to do that which we could never do relying only upon our own power.
I promise you that someday you will enjoy the blessings of a perfected body because Jesus Christ prepared the way for you to be resurrected. And I know that you look forward to the celebrating you will do that day.
But I also promise you that right now you can begin the process of becoming perfected in Christ. Following the Savior will bring a joyful celebration to your soul as you come unto him and you will feel spiritually renewed and strong in a way that transcends the physical limitations of your mortal body.