Gratitude Day 5: The Plan of Salvation

One of my favorite verses in the Book of Mormon, as well as one we are studying this week for Come Follow Me, is Ether 12:4. In that verse, Moroni teaches that “whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God.” In short, our faith in God leads us to hope for and seek something better, His plan is for us to become like and return to Him. I want to #GiveThanks for the Plan of Salvation and it’s impact on my life.

This poem is kind of based off of one of my favorite poems, Choose Something Like a Star, by Robert Frost; and one of my favorite quotes, which I first heard from President Thomas S. Monson, in his devotional Decisions Determine Destiny: “Ideals are like stars; you will not succeed in touching them with your hands. But . . . you choose them as your guides, and following them you will reach your destiny.”

The Plan of Salvation

I walk along life’s paths,
with many blind corners,
many unknowns ahead,
and few road signs —
I often get lost.

The only things constant are
the world changing around me,
and the ever unchanging stars.

Some travelers I’ve met on my journey
have told me that the stars should be guides —
“You can’t walk far enough to reach them,
but they’ll always lead you true.”

Others say — “Stars are useless,
all that matters is the path.”
Though if you don’t know where you’re going,
there are so many paths to take,
and I don’t know where to go.

I try to follow the stars.
They remind me that, in the chaos of the universe,
something is eternally true,
eternally pointing
to a final destination
where God knows I belong.

He Lived for Us

This poem stuck me as a great one to go along with Alma 34, which I read this week for Come Follow Me. is one of my favorite chapters in the Book of Mormon. I especially think about verse 10, where Amulek describes the Atonement as an “infinite and eternal” sacrificed. This has always struck me as odd, because although I certainly see that the effects of Christ’s sacrifice are infinite and eternal, the sacrifice itself seems to have been limited in time and scope. Christ gave up his life, but he was resurrected. He suffered, but He is not suffering now. If any of you have any insight into this, I would love to hear your thoughts. 

One thought I’ve had is that part of the sacrifice that Christ made was sacrificing His life as He lived it to be an example and to be worthy to perform the Atonement. He sacrificed His will entirely and for all eternity, not just in the Garden of Gethsemane when pleading if the cup could pass from Him. 

He Lived for Us

Written on my mission, May 6, 2018

On a mission one spends a lot of time studying and pondering the Atonement. One thing I have been struck with was that Christ didn’t just come down to earth, suffer, die, and resurrect. First, He lived a life. A perfect life. That means that every single choice, every single temptation faced, would have to be faced and overcome perfectly. I can’t imagine the sort of pressure this was on Him, but I am fortunate that because of His perfect life, our lives, though far from perfect now, can become better.

His first steps were not on the road to the hill called Calvary.
His first breath was not taken in the Garden Gethsemane.
His hands were first a carpenter’s hands, before nailed to the cross.
Before He died, our Savior and Redeemer lived for us.
 
Christ was born in Bethlehem, a baby in a manger.
He grew from grace to grace, though to temptation was no stranger.
He always chose the harder right, never the easier wrong.
The Mighty God Jehovah served the weak He was among. 

He taught us how to live our lives, He said, “Come, follow Me.”
He did good long before he died for us on Calvary.
He fulfilled His father’s will in all things from the start,
Until the end, upon the cross, when sin’s pain broke his heart.

He is a man of sorrows, well acquainted with our grief,
But He knew the way to give true healing and relief
Was to be perfect—to bear the weight of the world in every deed.
And when we make His soul an offering for sin, he’ll see His seed.

It’s as if He walked a tightrope over a pit to save a friend—
One misstep and down He’d fall, a poor and unhappy end.
But Christ was perfect! Every step was straight and strong and true
So He could qualify as sacrifice and die for me and you.

He’ll look back, and He can see the travail on His great soul.
But if just one man, through His sacrifice, can be made pure and whole,
He shall be satisfied, His joy in heaven how sublime.
How great a man, my Jesus Christ, how perfect and divine.

Christ never said

I was reading Mosiah 24 for Come Follow Me this week (I’m a little behind) and I was struck by verse 14, where Christ seems to show that helping us in our afflictions is more important for us to build faith than delivering us from our afflictions. I decided to expand on that idea with other instances from scripture.

Christ never said

Christ never said that storms wouldn’t come,
He said He’d be a refuge when they raged. (Isaiah 25:4)

Christ never said we would not have trials,
He said He’d visit us in our afflictions. (Mosiah 24:14)

Christ never said He would keep us from wandering away,
He said He’d come and find us when we do. (Luke 15:4-7)

Christ never said we would not have grief or sorrow,
He said that with His stripes we could be healed. (Isaiah 53:4)

Christ never said we would be perfect in this life,
He said He would succor us in our infirmities (Alma 7:11-13)

Christ never promised we would never cry,
He said He would wipe away all tears from our eyes. (Revelations 21:4)

Christ never said we would not be heavy laden,
He said He’d give us rest, and make our burdens light. (Matthew 11:28-30)

Christ never said that life would not be hard,
He said He would be with us always, even to the end (Matthew 28:20)

Redeemer

Redeemer

If every bad thought
were a stone you had to carry everywhere,
how grateful you would be
if someone helped you lift the pack
and let you walk again.

If every unkind word
were a year you could never see your family,
how grateful you would be
if someone offered to take on your lonely decades
and let you hug your family again.

If every hurtful deed
were a stab wound in your flesh,
how grateful you would be
to the doctor who bound and healed your wounds
and let you live without pain again.

And yet,

when every bad thought would always weigh us down from happiness,
when every unkind word would keep us from our family forever,
when every hurtful deed would lead to everlasting pain and death,
how often we forget
the Man who suffered, struggled, and died
to let us live again.

Behold the Man

Originally published 6-25-19

This poem is based off of Elder Uchtdorf’s eponymous talk and the scripture John 19:5, where Pilate pleads with the Jews to “Behold the man!” and to not kill the innocent Christ. I thought it would be fitting to share, as last week we read this in Come Follow Me.

Behold the Man

When encompassed with sharp grief,
Behold the Man.
When surrounded by pressing trials,
Behold the Man.

In affliction’s fiery furnace,
Behold the Man.
Under guilt’s crushing weight,
Behold the Man.

In bleak, hopeless night,
Behold the Man
Who died the darkest yet most hopeful day.
Behold the Man.

See Him as who He truly is—
Behold the Man.
Follow Him, love Him,
Behold the Man.

Peace will come when we
Behold the Man.
So come to Him, remember Him —
Behold the Man.

The Carpenter of Nazareth

Originally published 05-22-19

Written July 5, 2018

I wrote this on my mission, but never sent it home. It is loosely based on a similar
poem I read of the same title. A note I wrote to myself on the side of my notebook on
that day reads “What can’t Christ heal?”

The Carpenter of Nazareth

The carpenter of Nazareth,
he fixes broken things.
Broken tools and broken toys,
whatever people need.

He takes the broken object
and examines it up close.
He feels the break, studies the crack,
and to his tools he goes.

He gently holds the wood in place
and starts to fix the crack,
‘til piece by piece he’s fixed it up
and gives it gently back.

Many come from Nazareth
to the carpenter to ask
if he could fix their broken thing,
if he was up to such a task.

And always, a smile and a reply
that he would try his best.
No one left denied of his care,
each felt an honored guest.

His Son saw all His father’s works
and when He became old
He also fixed up broken things,
but He fixed broken souls.

And as nails pierced this Master’s palms
into a cross of wood,
He gently took each soul in hand
and did what just He could.

He mends our cracks, He heals our wounds,
He picks up fallen souls.
The Son of Nazareth’s carpenter
came to make us whole

Choose Every Day to Believe

Originally published 05-18-19

We talked about faith in my institute class last week, and it inspired this poem. It is written as a song.

Choose Every Day to Believe

Two hundred years ago, a grove of trees
Blazed brightly, and a young boy’s prayer was heard.
He left the grove, and taught the world the truth,
I was not there, though, when that all occurred.

CHORUS: I never saw the boy in Palmyra,
And I never met the man in Nauvoo.
I get to see the labor, though, that he worked to achieve,
And I get to choose every day to believe.

Two thousand years ago, Jerusalem
Cheered as on a donkey rode their King.
He walked the garden of my olive press,
But I was not there to shout and praise and sing.

CHORUS: I never saw the boy, the Nazarean,
And I never met the man of Galilee.
I get to see the labor, though, that He worked to achieve,
And I get to choose every day to believe.

In the struggles of the day to day,
I’ll choose faith and go and light the world
I don’t know all things, and I have doubts,
But I am here to wave a flag unfurled.

CHORUS: I never saw the prophet, Joseph.
I never met my Savior, Jesus Christ
But I get to labor with them in this work that we’ll achieve
I get to choose every day to believe.

I—I choose every day to believe.

Break All Bonds

Originally published 05-07-19

This poem was inspired by the Come Follow Me for this last week. I loved the line in Luke 13:16, where Christ describes healing a woman on the Sabbath as “loosed from this bond.” I like the imagery, and I wrote this poem in response.

Break All Bonds

When an ox
falls in a hole
would you not each
rescue her?

Do you not—
even on the Sabbath—
lead your sheep
to be watered?

A daughter of Abraham,
too, can be loosed
from her bonds
on God’s day.

He who breaks all bonds
comes now to you:
will you let Him free you
today?