Throughout my mission I have seen certain themes developing in things I am learning. What I mean by this is that in a certain amount of time, there will be one aspect of the Gospel that keeps coming up over and over again in lessons, meetings, conversations, and studies. A few examples of this are: When I was in Reading one thing that frequently came up was priesthood keys. When I first got to Wilkes-Barre the theme seemed to be spiritual death. Currently the theme that is prevailing has been the great paradoxes of the Gospel. An example of this is that God is both a merciful God, and a just God. How can he be both at the same time? (To get this answer read ALMA 42) Or another example is: We are to cease to be idle, but not run more than we are able. Where's the balance? Or another is, "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it." Mark 8:35
But the biggest paradox I have seen in the last week is: How I can be doing so well at everything I'm doing, but still feel like crap? This last week has been awesome. We've had more lessons than have been taught in this area in about a year. We've had a ton of less active members become reactivated. We've had more investigators at church than we ever have, and yet I feel like nothing I've done, or am doing is good enough. How can this be? Obviously everyone can see how successful I am. Everyone else says that I should be happy with my efforts. The whole world can tell me these things, yet I feel like a failure.
So how can there be so many paradoxes? If the Gospel is supposed to make sense, why is it so confusing? Why are the messages we receive so contradictory? How can the natural man that is within us, be perfect, even as our Father in Heaven is perfect? It is because of the atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ. Nothing makes sense without it. Relating back to my examples, God is a just God, no unclean thing can dwell in His presence, but He also can forgive us. Because Jesus Christ suffered for our sins and payed our spiritual debts, we can be made clean. We can cease to be idle, and yet we can rest from all our troubles, and all our care and sorrow, because the atonement of Jesus Christ can make up the rest. We can give all that we have to our Heavenly Father, and yet, our lives will be saved. All because Jesus Christ has shown us the way, and has given everything He has for us. I can be grateful to my Heavenly Father for all that he has given me, and I can rely on the atonement to change me, to reform me, to refine me until I become who my Heavenly Father wants me to be. In this earthly life I will never be good enough, I will never be giving all I can, but as long as I am relying on the atonement, and repenting, I can know that my Heavenly Father is proud of me, and I can know that Jesus Christ has made up the difference. Nothing in life makes sense without the atonement of Jesus Christ. This is fundamental to the plan of Salvation. I know that is true. I know that despite the trials, the frustrations, and the disappointments I face, I am doing the best I can, and that I am a successful missionary, not because of my numbers, my testimony, or my scriptural knowledge, but because I have felt of God's confirming answer to my prayers. He's proud of me, and He is proud of any and all His children as they strive to follow Him as best they can. I say this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Have a GREAT Week!