He Lives

    “He Lives,” Tambuli, Dec. 1993, 32

    He Lives

    … and he loves. I discovered how much he loves me just when I needed him the most.

    One day we had a special devotional about the Savior as part of our early-morning seminary class. The girl who was conducting bore her testimony of Christ, then asked each of us to share our feelings. Our teacher, Brother Pratt, added his testimony and said we each needed to know that Christ died for us individually.

    As I listened to the others bear their testimonies, it occurred to me that I wasn’t really sure I had a testimony of the Savior. I had always attended church and seminary classes. And I thought that Jesus Christ was Heavenly Father’s Son and an example to follow. But I didn’t really know him to be my Savior—someone essential to my salvation.

    I managed to say a few words in seminary that morning. And then I spent the next several days pondering over the experience and praying to know for myself. I received a warm feeling that the Church was true and that I should live its teachings. I felt good about that answer and decided that having a basic testimony of the gospel and living the standards of the Church would be enough. But I still didn’t understand the need for a Savior.

    Then, several years later, after I had moved from home, I faced a serious crisis that left me with deep emotional and spiritual pain. Without the necessary faith in Christ to guide me, I felt lost and alone. I had stopped praying sometime earlier and had just recently decided that I would no longer go to church.

    Just at that point in my life, my home teachers, Dan and Terry, came by. I was a little embarrassed because I hadn’t been to church that day and had no good excuse for my absence. The Spirit told them that something was seriously wrong, so they persisted in presenting a lesson that seemed to be especially for me. They visited with me for a while, and when it was time for them to go, they offered a powerful prayer. The Spirit lingered after them for a short time, and I felt more hopeful than I had in a long time.

    I wanted that Spirit to remain. I gathered up the remnants of my faith and offered a prayer. Because I hadn’t been praying for a while, I had no real hope or expectation of an answer. But as I knelt and prayed, a black cloud lifted, and I felt an overpowering warmth come into my heart. Complete love and understanding filled the room. I was surprised at the depth and strength of the Savior’s love—how well he knew me!

    There was no room for misunderstanding or doubt as he lovingly empathized with my challenges. All of a sudden, words came into my mind, telling me where I could improve. And the Savior promised me all the help I would need. I learned that there is indeed a loving Heavenly Father and a Savior, Jesus Christ, and that they know each of us as individuals. I also learned that they will give us the help we need as we extend our faith in them. And I knew that, no matter what, we must always pray.

    Although I still had problems to overcome, I knew the Savior was there, ready to help. I have never felt completely alone with my problems since. I can now say, along with the hymn, “I know that my Redeemer lives.” And I am grateful.

    Photograph by Melanie Shumway

    Still photograph by Phil Shurtleff from the Church movie The Lamb Of God.