God and Individualized Service

When at the Last Supper with His apostles, Jesus Christ knelt before each of them and washed their feet. The significance of such an act, it being the last act of intimate love between the Savior and His apostles before His crucifixion, remains deeply in my mind.  Apparently, charitable service was one of the last messages the Savior wanted to leave us with before He departed the earth.  Other acts of service resound deeply with my heart, however, especially the Lord's ministry to the sick, afflicted, blind, deaf, and so forth. As Alma prophesied, "And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and sicknesses of his people." (Alma 7:11, see also v.12-13)  The Savior performed various acts of service to demonstrate what we, as mortals, can aspire to, and performed the ultimate act of service to illustrate what we can ultimately become as Gods and Goddesses of love ourselves (see Romans 8:14-19).

How, then, can the Savior love us each personally and individually?  Because the Savior suffered the Atonement, He comprehends with perfect understanding, depth, and wisdom each of our trials and how to administer to us accordingly.  His service to us, in my mind, can come in several ways, though.  One way that I have found is that the Savior sends us angels to lift us up.  Christ has given that promise to the Saints, and He has also promised that we can ask for what we desire in prayer and He will give it unto us.  They will show themselves unto each of us, if we have strong faith and a firm mind in every form of godliness (Moroni 7:30).  And angels do not always have to be glorified, immortal beings-they can also be people in this life such as friends, family, teachers, priesthood leaders, and other amazing individuals in life.  As I recall Elder Holland testifying at a fireside I once attended, "I have seen angels whose feet have not left the ground." Some people, though not gifted in spectacular or showy ways, possess the marvelous gift of selfless service, which, in the eternal scheme of things, will make just as much of a difference as other more public gifts.

The Savior also loves us on an intimate level by conversing with us in prayer.  When Nephi spoke of prayer, he said that he was "speaking with the Lord", not to the Lord.  The Savior loves to communicate with us in a very healing and peaceable sort of way, one that comforts, sustains, instructs, lovingly chastens, and guides in perfection.  Once we finish praying with God, we go to study the scriptures, because Elder Hales once stated, "When we want to talk with God, we pray.  When we want to hear His voice, we study the scriptures."  The scriptures, then, also provide another method by which the Savior serves us personally.  He has spoken unto His chosen servants, and inspired various individuals to bring the scriptures forth, that we might have personal revelation in all things.  As Nephi once stated, "The words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do."  If Christ has spoken enough for us to know all things that we should do, then I believe it is an excellent idea to turn to the scriptures first whenever a problem arises.  I also believe this shows us how much Christ is willing to guide us along by helping us keep such scriptures in mind, and by speaking those words aloud to ourselves sometimes when life really starts growing difficult.

Finally, Jesus serves us in love individually by providing tender mercies to us throughout each day.  Whether it is a kind word, some quality time, a gift, hugs from people, or a thoughtful act, those all can touch our hearts as we look for those little presents from Him each and every day.  Christ also provides tender mercies when we are stressed out, temporally struggling, spiritually aching or falling short, and more.  I have personally experienced comfort, direct knowledge on how to resolve or at least soften stress, mercy when I most definitely deserved a chastening hand or punishment, and more.  The Lord has, as David once expressed in Psalms 117, turned each wilderness in my life into a garden of Eden, and transformed every desert into a flowing river to quench my thirst.

 And all this, in summary, applies to SSA because the Lord knows how to love us regardless of our inner conflicts, pains, oppositions, dysfunctional relationships, doubts, fears, concerns, and all the rest we deal with and attempt to resolve.  Each of us, I know, turns to Jesus Christ because we look up with tear-filled, hopeful eyes to heaven, asking God to assist us in our progress towards the upward trail to heaven.  The mountain of the Lord is a temple all the way up-not just a temple at the top, but I wonder sometimes how many of us pause to see the many individual gifts God gives to us on the way.  Every little rose, every scent upon the air, every sound of flowing streams, each touch of pine needles and earth and every insight we find along the way-those are His gifts to us.  And I know with all my heart that God loves us in every way-all we have to do is live with gratitude and love in our hearts, expressing it through virtuous living as we know through the Spirit to be right.  As John once expressed, I share the sentiment, "We love Him, because He first loved us."  May we all continue in that lifestyle, and receive the mercy of God's individual, perfect love.

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