I was released from my calling as a Bishop’s counselor a couple months ago. Since my release I have really noticed a huge difference in my association with the Holy Ghost. I have honestly found that I must work much harder to feel and keep the Spirit with me.
I think because of this difference I have been contemplating Peter, James and John’s behavior in Gethsemane with Jesus. It is very easy for me to wonder what in the world were they thinking and condemn them for falling asleep as the Savior began his most important work. How could they do that? Were they not excited to be a witness to the miracle of the atonement?
I went to the account found in Matthew 26:36-46 to see if there was more to the situation than I was considering. I had written a cross-reference in verse 40 which took me to Luke 14:15-24, which gives the parable of the great supper. My initial thought was that I had made a mistake of some kind in connecting these two scriptures but then I read the parable again.
This changed my focus from Peter, James and John to me and I had to ask, am I falling asleep now instead of witnessing the miracle of the atonement? Do I make excuses when asked by the Spirit to help someone? Am I too busy with my “life” to attend the eternal supper the Savior has offered me?
As I sat here writing this and thinking about my own weakness the Spirit whispered, “Many are called but few and chosen my friend, many are called but few are chosen.” I had to go to D&C 121: 34-35 to remember why.
“Many are called but few are chosen, and why are they not chosen?
Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, …”
We know that week in Jerusalem was eventful and stressful, the Apostles knew something was going on but didn’t really know the finality of Jesus’ work yet. It was late in the night when they went to the garden, they had to be physically exhausted.
Over the last year my work life has been extremely stressful. I am emotionally worn out.
Yet these are the conditions in which the Lord steps in and carries us if we allow him. In that garden, he willingly felt every sickness, pain, joy, heartbreak, stress and loneliness any person might ever experience, including Peter’s physical exhaustion and my emotional weariness. I have the choice of sleeping through the atonement or using it to rise above myself and my troubles.
The Lord’s answer to Joseph Smith’s pleading in Liberty Jail contains wonderful encouragement and a promise.
“Therefore, hold on thy way, and the priesthood shall remain with thee; for their bounds are set, they cannot pass. Thy days are known, and thy years shall not be numbered less; therefore, fear not what man can do, for God shall be with you forever and ever.” D&C 123: 9.
The wonderful thing about the atonement is that it never fails, it never goes away and it never gives up. No matter how many times I fall asleep or how deep the sleep is, if I can wake myself enough to use the atonement and ask the Savior’s help, I will get all the love and support I need.
May we never forget. What a blessing the sacrament is, every week when we partake of it we promise to “always remember him.” I pray that we will always remember him and his atonement.