A few years ago, at a family gathering, my then-eight-year-old nephew William asked our oldest son, Briton, if he would like to play ball with him. Briton enthusiastically responded, “Yes! I would love to!” After they had been playing for quite some time, a ball got away from Briton, and he accidentally broke one of his grandparents’ antique pots.
Briton felt awful. As he began picking up the broken pieces, William walked over to his cousin and lovingly patted him on the back. He then comforted, “Don’t worry, Briton. I broke something at Grandma and Grandpa’s house once, and Grandma put her arm around me and said, ‘It’s OK, William. You are only five.’”
To which Briton responded, “But, William, I’m 23!”
We can learn much from the scriptures about how our Savior, Jesus Christ, will help us successfully navigate the things in our lives that are broken, no matter our age. He can heal broken relationships with God, broken relationships with others, and broken parts of ourselves.
While the Savior was teaching in the temple, a woman was brought to Him by the scribes and Pharisees. We do not know her full story, just that she was “taken in adultery.”1 Often the scriptures give only a small portion of someone’s life, and based on that portion, we sometimes tend to exalt or condemn. No one’s life can be understood by one magnificent moment or one regrettable public disappointment. The purpose of these scriptural accounts is to help us see that Jesus Christ was the answer then, and He is the answer now. He knows our complete story and exactly what we suffer, as well as our capabilities and vulnerabilities.
Christ’s response to this precious daughter of God was “Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.”2 Another way to say “go, and sin no more” could be “go forth and change.” The Savior was inviting her to repent: to change her behavior, her associations, the way she felt about herself, her heart.
Because of Christ, our decision to “go forth and change” can also allow us to “go forth and heal,” for He is the source of healing all that is broken in our lives. As the great Mediator and Advocate with the Father, Christ sanctifies and restores broken relationships—most important, our relationship with God.
The Joseph Smith Translation makes it clear that the woman did follow the Savior’s counsel and changed her life: “And the woman glorified God from that hour, and believed on his name.”3 It is unfortunate that we do not know her name or other details about her life after this moment because it would have required great determination, humility, and faith in Jesus Christ for her to repent and change. What we do know is she was a woman who “believed on his name” with the understanding that she was not beyond the reach of His infinite and eternal sacrifice.
In Luke chapter 15 we read a parable of a man who had two sons. The younger son asked his father for his inheritance, took his journey into a far country, and wasted his substance with riotous living.4
“And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.
“And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.
“And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.
“And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!
“I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,
“And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.
“And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.”5
The fact that the father ran to his son, I believe, is significant. The personal hurt that the son had inflicted upon his father was surely deep and profound. Likewise, the father may have been genuinely embarrassed by his son’s actions.
So why didn’t the father wait for his son to apologize? Why didn’t he hold out for an offering of restitution and reconciliation before extending forgiveness and love? This is something I have often pondered.
The Lord teaches us that forgiving others is a universal commandment: “I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men.”6 Extending forgiveness can take tremendous courage and humility. It can also take time. It requires us to put our faith and trust in the Lord as we assume accountability for the condition of our hearts. Here lies the significance and power of our agency.
With the depiction of this father in the parable of the prodigal son, the Savior emphasized that forgiveness is one of the noblest gifts we can give one another and most specifically ourselves. Unburdening our hearts through forgiveness isn’t always easy, but through the enabling power of Jesus Christ, it is possible.
The lame beggar was over 40 years old8 and had spent his entire life in a seemingly never-ending state of wanting and waiting, for he was dependent on the generosity of others.
One day he saw “Peter and John about to go into the temple [and] asked an alms.
“And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us.
“And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them.
“Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.
“And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.
“And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.”9
Oftentimes we can find ourselves, like the lame beggar at the gate of the temple, patiently—or sometimes impatiently—“wait[ing] upon the Lord.”10 Waiting to be healed physically or emotionally. Waiting for answers that penetrate the deepest part of our hearts. Waiting for a miracle.
Waiting upon the Lord can be a sacred place—a place of polishing and refining where we can come to know the Savior in a deeply personal way. Waiting upon the Lord may also be a place where we find ourselves asking, “O God, where art thou?”11—a place where spiritual perseverance requires us to exercise faith in Christ by intentionally choosing Him again and again and again. I know this place, and I understand this type of waiting.
I spent countless hours at a cancer treatment facility, united in my suffering with many who were yearning to be healed. Some lived; others did not. I learned in a profound way that deliverance from our trials is different for each of us, and therefore our focus should be less about the way in which we are delivered and more about the Deliverer Himself. Our emphasis should always be on Jesus Christ!
Exercising faith in Christ means trusting not only in God’s will but also in His timing. For He knows exactly what we need and precisely when we need it. When we submit to the will of the Lord, we will ultimately receive substantially more than that which we had desired.
My dear friends, we all have something in our lives that is broken that needs to be mended, fixed, or healed. As we turn to the Savior, as we align our hearts and minds with Him, as we repent, He comes to us “with healing in his wings,”12 puts His arms lovingly around us, and says, “It’s OK. You are only 5—or 16, 23, 48, 64, 91. We can fix this together!”
I testify that there is nothing in your life that is broken that is beyond the curative, redeeming, and enabling power of Jesus Christ. In the sacred and holy name of He who is mighty to heal, Jesus Christ, amen.