In the April 2014 LDS General Conference, Elder Timothy J. Dyches quoted a statement from the “Preach My Gospel” handbook, “…all that is unfair about life can be made right through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.”
We know the Atonement can wash away our sins through repentance and assist us in overcoming our weaknesses and shortcomings. But where is the scriptural basis for the statement that all that is unfair about life will eventually be made right?
A lot of time in my youth I pondered on the fairness of life. I complained (as children are wont to do) a fair amount. “That’s not fair!” My mother had a quick and readied response to this. “Life isn’t fair,” she would say. “Now go do the dishes.”
The reality is that I did not have a very good perspective on what was and was not fair as a child. The thing I have come to realize through my adulthood years is that I still do not have a very good perspective on it. That is because I am mortal. I am imperfect. I am, essentially, blind.
We all are.
We simply cannot see the eternities. We cannot understand Gods purposes in full. We only get a small fraction of understanding. Why is this? Because life is a test. If we had all the answers clearly given to us, we wouldn’t be tested. We need the veil over our understanding so that we can act on faith. That is the core to the test being given. With our limited mortal views we cannot understand things that the Lord perfectly understands. In a similar manner to a mother’s understanding that her child’s view of fairness is entirely unreasonable, so I imagine our Father in Heaven views our complaints of unfairness — only on a much grander scale, of course. Our earthly mother’s views are still mortal and imperfect. Our Father in Heaven’s views are perfect, all-knowing, all-seeing, and all-loving.
Still, I think that part of the answer is in my mother’s quip to her whiny children. “Life isn’t fair.”
I think that’s probably true to an extent. It isn’t fair. Some are smarter, others…not so much. Some are beautiful, others…not so much. Some are talented, strong, tall. Even harder, some are born into privilege, while others are born into miserable situations. And sometimes when we are in good situations, fate comes along and strikes it down through various forms of tragedy. Others seem to go through life with relatively little tragedy.
It just doesn’t seem fair. (See my response to: WHY ARE SOME CHILDREN BORN INTO PRIVILEGE AND OTHERS INTO MISERY?)
It is fair. We don’t know how. Someday we will see, when our eyes are opened, and all is revealed on that day. It will have been perfectly fair, just, and, above all, worth it if we have qualified ourselves for salvation.
Remember the 3rd Article of Faith:
“We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.”
That is how the Atonement will make things right. Because of the Atonement, if we take advantage of this marvelous gift, all suffering will have been for our good. All pain will have drawn us closer to the Lord. All hurt will be washed away. Our joy will be full.
If not for the Atonement, this would be impossible. None of us could receive exaltation without the Atonement, and all our pain and suffering in life would have been for naught.
But there is another aspect of the Atonement that I think plays into your question. The Savior took more than just our sins upon Himself in the Garden of Gethsemane. He took upon Himself all our pain and suffering. Because of this, His understanding of us is perfect, and because of this His comfort may also be perfect. When we face trials and pain, if we turn to the Lord, He can and will reach out to us through the Holy Spirit and give us peace and succor. I have personally experienced this, and I can testify of it. The peace that comes in a trial when we turn to the Lord strengthens us in ways that we could never be strengthened without the trial. You will often find those who have been through incredibly difficult trials making expressions along the lines that they would not trade it for anything because of this.
Elder James E. Faust spoke on the Atonement and taught us:
” Our Redeemer took upon Himself all the sins, pains, infirmities, and sicknesses of all who have ever lived and will ever live. No one has ever suffered in any degree what He did. He knows our mortal trials by firsthand experience. It is a bit like us trying to climb Mount Everest and only getting up the first few feet. But He has climbed all 29,000 feet to the top of the mountain. He suffered more than any other mortal could.
The Atonement not only benefits the sinner but also benefits those sinned against—that is, the victims. By forgiving “those who trespass against us” (JST, Matt. 6:13) the Atonement brings a measure of peace and comfort to those who have been innocently victimized by the sins of others. The basic source for the healing of the soul is the Atonement of Jesus Christ. This is true whether it be from the pain of a personal tragedy or a terrible national calamity such as we have recently experienced in New York and Washington, D.C., and near Pittsburgh.
A sister who had been through a painful divorce wrote of her experience in drawing from the Atonement. She said: “Our divorce … did not release me from the obligation to forgive. I truly wanted to do it, but it was as if I had been commanded to do something of which I was simply incapable.” Her bishop gave her some sound advice: “Keep a place in your heart for forgiveness, and when it comes, welcome it in.” Many months passed as this struggle to forgive continued. She recalled: “During those long, prayerful moments … I tapped into a life-giving source of comfort from my loving Heavenly Father. I sense that he was not standing by glaring at me for not having accomplished forgiveness yet; rather he was sorrowing with me as I wept. …”
The Atonement does not restore mortal life and limb. It does not remove trials. It does not save our lost jobs, mend broken relationships, or heal our infirmities, though sometime such miracles do occur as the Lord deems fit in His mercy. Yet when we feel the Savior in our hearts, feel His peace and love, and know that we can be with Him again if we only endure for a little while, truly all is made right.