Sunday, July 26, 2015

He is Hope

My whole life I have always loved listening to Elder Holland speak. The power and spirit he brings as he speaks always warms my heart. My love for Elder Holland has just grown throughout the years, especially so at this last General Conference. I had the incredible opportunity to attend General Conference in the Conference Center this year. When Elder Holland got up to speak I was giddy inside. I leaned forward in my chair and his powerful voice carried even to the very back of the Conference Center (where I happened to be sitting). This talk ended up being my all time favorite General Conference talk. Ever since, I've been trying to write a blog about it but never could put the amazing power of the talk into words. I've spent the last few months reading the talk every Sunday and dissecting the talk word by word. And even though I am still short for words of the incredible nature of Elder Holland's talk, I felt a strong need to share it. 

Elder Holland starts the talk off with a story about two brothers who were trapped on a ledge somewhere in Snow Canyon State Park. The older of the two helped his brother to safety; knowing that once his brother was hoisted to safety, he would be trapped. John, the older brother, created a plan and told his younger brother, Jimmy, to find a large stick to help pull him out. When Jimmy left, John decided to jump, knowing his little brother wouldn't be there to see him if he jumped to short and fell to his death. When John jumped, he jumped high enough and grabbed on to the ledge, soon after realizing that there was nothing to hold on to. Struggling to grab onto the loose gravel and sand that were beneath his fingers, John realized that he was going to die. Right when he had lost hope, two hands appeared, grabbing his, and pulling him to safety. His younger brother had anticipated his brothers plan and had waited, quietly, knowing that John would try and make that jump. And so, when John jumped, Jimmy grabbed him, held him, and refused to let him fall. 

This story, oh man this story hits home every time I read it. In life, we all have our "ledges", we all have things that seem to leave us hopeless and leave us feeling like we are certainly going to die. Are we all just hanging in a cold canyon somewhere? Just searching for something to grip with nothing but the feeling of sand sliding beneath our fingers, nothing to save us, nothing to hold on to. And more heartbreaking, nothing to hold onto us. Are we that hopeless? Absolutely not. Just when we get to the point of absolute hopelessness, two hands will come to our rescue. Our beloved brother and Savior Jesus Christ will always hold onto us and He will never let us fall. Our Savior has been where we have been and felt everything that we have felt. He knows exactly how we feel. When He knelt in the garden and suffered for our sins, and felt our pains, and knew our sorrows and heartache, and most of all...felt the exact hopelessness. He felt it right as Satan was about to overpower Him, as the Savior himself was being overcome by complete darkness, Heavenly Father reached out and held onto Him. The Savior truly knows how you feel. And just like Heavenly Father saved Him, He will always save us. In fact, He already has. The Atonement of Jesus Christ will save us from our darkest sin, our deepest heartache, and our worst sorrows. There is nothing that you can do or that you can feel that the Atonement doesn't fully cover. And just like Jimmy didn't leave John all alone, just like Jimmy grabbed onto his hands and did not let him fall,  the Savior will always be there holding onto us with all His might. So whatever your ledges are, whatever you may experience in this life, the Saviors strong and loving hands will always be there, lifting you up, and saving you from certain death.

I know this, without a shadow of a doubt, because my Savior has saved me in my darkest hour. He has lifted me from my ledges and has brought me to safety. He has come to me in times where I certainly  thought there was no hope, and He gave me hope. He IS my hope. With Him and the gospel I know that hope is never lost and I know that I will never fall because my Savior will not let me. He is there, He is always there, with His hands outstretched, holding onto mine. I testify that our Savior's Atonement is true and real and will pull you out of the depths of sin and save you from the sorrow of the world. His Atonement, His sacrifice, brings us hope. He died for us but He lives, and He saves us everyday. He is hope, and because He lives, hope is never lost. 

 Elder Holland's 2015 April Gen. Conference Talk: