A Dramatic and Unexpected Event
During several decades of Church service, I have seen some unforgettable moments while traveling. One occurred several years ago while flying to a university president’s inauguration, where I was to offer the invocation. It was a short flight in a small two-engine plane. We were halfway to our destination when the right engine suddenly exploded, spewing flaming fuel all over the right side of the plane. The propellers stopped. The plane was on fire, careening to the earth in a spiral dive. I expected to die.
Miraculously, the dive extinguished the fire. The pilot was able to restore power to the other engine and make a safe landing. And I actually made it to the inauguration on time.
Throughout the dramatic, unexpected experience, I was surprisingly calm. My entire life flashed before me. While approaching what seemed to be certain death, I was at peace. I knew that my family would be well cared for. And I knew that my wife and I were sealed to each other eternally and our children were sealed to us. Because of my faith in Jesus Christ and obedience to His commandments, I knew that life beyond the grave was certain and joyful. Thanks to the Lord, I knew that we would all be together again. I was at peace, ready to meet my Maker.
Gratefully, I survived and can now relate that experience.
For the past year, we have all been dealing with dramatic and unexpected events.
Amid such uncertainty, there is only one way to feel at peace—that real peace that passes all understanding. That peace is found in faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Easter Is about Peace and Hope
When He suffered for our sins and weaknesses, died on the cross, and rose again, the Savior rewrote humanity’s story. Because of Him, we do not have to deal with our frailties, sins, and fears alone. Because of Him, death is not the end. Resurrection will come to all who have ever lived. Because of Him, families can be together forever. Because of Him, guilt becomes peace, regret becomes relief, and despair becomes hope. We are given second chances, clean slates, and new beginnings. Because of Jesus Christ, we celebrate Easter. And Easter is all about peace and hope.
During that first Easter season two millennia ago, the Lord suffered unspeakable agony in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross as He took upon Himself the sins and pains of all humankind. There in the garden bearing the Hebrew name of Gethsemane—meaning “oil press'—olives had been beaten and pressed to provide oil and food. There at Gethsemane, the Lord “suffered the pain of all men, that all ... might repent and come unto him” (Doctrine and Covenants 18:11). He took upon Himself the weight of the sins of all humankind, bearing its massive load that caused Him to bleed from every pore.
He was betrayed by the one He had called friend. He was arrested, scourged, mocked, and crucified. Upon the cross, the Savior of the world was lifted up. He gave His life as part of His atoning sacrifice. His subsequent Resurrection, His triumphant victory over the grave, is recorded in the holy scriptures: “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept” (1 Corinthians 15:20).
A proclamation given by angelic messengers near an empty tomb—“He is not here: for he is risen” (Matthew 28:6)—declared that the Lord Jesus Christ had overcome death through His Atonement and Resurrection. He lives. And because He lives, we too can know “peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come” (Doctrine and Covenants 59:23).
The Savior Himself has taught that this great sacrifice was for a purpose: “For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent” (Doctrine and Covenants 19:16). Because the Savior offered Himself as the infinite Atonement, you and I have the opportunity—the privilege—to be forgiven when we repent. We can also turn to Him for healing of our hearts, for strength when we are weak, and for help to do things we simply cannot do on our own.
Remembering the Palms of His Hands
On this Palm Sunday, I invite you to make this coming week truly holy not just by remembering the palms that were waved to honor the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem, but by remembering the palms of His hands.
According to Isaiah, the Savior promised that He will never forget you, saying, “Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands” (Isaiah 49:16). Such scriptures teach much about the mission and ministry of the Lord.
An Invitation to Act
Now, after all that Jesus Christ did for you, I invite you to do something this week to follow His teachings. You might make your prayers more earnest. You could forgive someone or help a friend in need. You can start today on a new spiritual quest.
This Easter, I encourage you to focus on the Savior. If you are looking for a place to worship, please join with us. On Easter Sunday, the worldwide general conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will be filled with Christ-centered messages and music. We will gather virtually to worship our Redeemer. Please join with us. Invite your friends!
Jesus Christ lives! As our resurrected and atoning Savior, He stands ready to help us grow from the dramatic, unexpected events in our lives. At this Easter season, let us worship and praise Him for the peace, hope, light, and truth He brings to us.