Monday, August 11, 2008

O That I Were an Angel

“O that I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart,” wrote Alma, a Book of Mormon prophet. And what was Alma’s wish? “That I might go forth and speak with the trump of God, with a voice to shake the earth, and cry repentance unto every people!”

“Yea, I would declare unto every soul, as with the voice of thunder,” he continued, “repentance and the plan of redemption, that they should repent and come unto our God, that there might not be more sorrow upon all the face of the earth” (Alma 29:1-2).

Alma lived sometime in the century leading up to Jesus’ birth and knew that his wish, his heart’s desire, could not be fulfilled in his lifetime: “I ought to be content with the things which the Lord hath allotted unto me,” he concluded (Alma 29:3).

Perhaps because it was his desire to preach repentance and the plan of redemption to the ends of the earth that it is fitting that many of Alma’s sermons and writings are recorded in the Book of Mormon and now available in some 100+ languages.

We live in a day when our voices can be heard as it were in any part of the world via the Internet, a technological wonder Alma probably never dreamed of but would likely use, were he alive today, to share his testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ to any who would listen.

I feel like I am living Alma’s dream to at least a small degree. The opportunity to share something of my faith with friends and family and readers from across the United States and around the world has been a source of great joy in my life.

I have personally tasted of the sweetness of the gospel, or good news, of Jesus Christ, and I would like to share it with any who are seeking for lasting happiness and joy. If some of my religion-themed posts have sounded preachy, it is only because I am anxious to get the message out and struggle in my efforts to communicate it.

But, oh, what a message it is! At its core is God’s love for His children, all of humanity, and His desire to bless us beyond measure, beyond our current comprehension. The plan of redemption mentioned by Alma is God’s way of bringing us back to live with Him. Central to that plan is Jesus Christ: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Or as Jesus put it on another occasion, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3).

Therefore, “I would commend you to seek this Jesus of whom the prophets and apostles have written” (Ether 12:41). I would also encourage you to make these things a matter of fervent prayer: “Ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true” (Moroni 10:4). God will answer your sincere prayers without chastising or upbraiding you (James 1:5-6). I can affirm that one of the sweetest feelings is the understanding that God has actually communicated with you directly. That He is eager to do so is amply evidenced in the scriptures.

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