While I often talk of costuming, writing, and the joys of travel and memories, I do not want to ever exclude the most important messages that I can deliver to you: that I know that Jesus Christ lives, loves you, and is there for you. One thing that I enjoy doing in the morning as I get ready is listening to talks given by Elders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. One of my particular favorites to listen to, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, gave a particularly stirring and striking talk in April 2009 that I wish to share with you today.
“For His Atonement to be infinite and eternal, He had to feel what it was like to die not only physically but spiritually, to sense what it was like to have the divine Spirit withdraw, leaving one feeling totally, abjectly, hopelessly alone.
But Jesus held on. He pressed on. The goodness in Him allowed faith to triumph even in a state of complete anguish. The trust He lived by told Him in spite of His feelings that divine compassion is never absent, that God is always faithful, that He never flees nor fails us. When the uttermost farthing had then been paid, when Christ’s determination to be faithful was as obvious as it was utterly invincible, finally and mercifully, it was “finished.” Against all odds and with none to help or uphold Him, Jesus of Nazareth, the living Son of the living God, restored physical life where death had held sway and brought joyful, spiritual redemption out of sin, hellish darkness, and despair. With faith in the God He knew was there, He could say in triumph, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.”
Brothers and sisters, one of the great consolations of this Easter season is that because Jesus walked such a long, lonely path utterly alone, we do not have to do so. His solitary journey brought great company for our little version of that path—the merciful care of our Father in Heaven, the unfailing companionship of this Beloved Son, the consummate gift of the Holy Ghost, angels in heaven, family members on both sides of the veil, prophets and apostles, teachers, leaders, friends. All of these and more have been given as companions for our mortal journey because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the Restoration of His gospel. Trumpeted from the summit of Calvary is the truth that we will never be left alone nor unaided, even if sometimes we may feel that we are. Truly the Redeemer of us all said: “I will not leave you comfortless: [My Father and] I will come to you [and abide with you].”
Remember, Brothers and Sisters, that you are loved. He sacrificed for you and did so because He loves you. In times of darkness and despair, I have personally found that if I but reach out and seek Him, He does come to me, to comfort me, to build me up, and to give me the strength to do that which I could not do alone. I know He can and will do the same for you and I add this Testimony of mine to that of Elder Holland’s. He lives. He loves us. And He will never forsake us.