This week in my New Testament class we have been talking about the suffering, Crucifixion, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. We learned about all the physical pains that He had to feel for our sake and the torture inflicted upon Him. This physical suffering was essential so that Jesus could know personally all of the pains that mankind feels. But to me what is even more touching is the mental and spiritual torture and suffering that He was called to endure. We know that Jesus has felt all of our sorrows, grief, pain, afflictions, and remorse (see Alma 7:11-13). He knows what it feels like to be rejected, wrongfully judged, guilty, and distant from the Spirit. As part of His sacrifice for us, He had to not only overcome physical death, but also spiritual death. Spiritual death is basically the complete separation of a spirit from Heavenly Father's presence and Spirit. Because we live on Earth, all of us are separated from the presence of God. We can feel glimpses of it through the light of Christ and the Holy Ghost. But, for us to be able to return to the presence of the Father, Christ had to overcome this spiritual death. In Matthew 27, we read about the Crucifixion and death of Christ. In these moments of extensive physical pain and suffering, Jesus was required to overcome it alone. The Father had to withdraw His Spirit so that Jesus could feel and overcome a complete spiritual death. In verse 46, Jesus cries out, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" Even the Son of God, the Savior of the world, questioned the Lord's will a few times. However, He never forsake it and was perfectly obedient and trusting that the Father knew best.
Like the Savior, we too must trust in God's will. It is OK to have doubts, fears, uncertainties, and questions. Don't keep them to yourself! The Lord wants us to have questions and seek the answers to them. He wants us to learn and gain a testimony for ourselves. Sometimes in the search for guidance and answers we may feel like we aren't getting anything in response. We may feel abandoned, hopeless, and confused. We may wonder if the Lord is really even there, if He really cares, or if He will ever answer our questions. There are some things in this world that will take us a long time to understand; there are others that we will never understand in this life. I testify that although sometimes we may feel distant from the Lord, He truly has our best interests in mind and will never let us fail without first offering us help. Sometimes He is silent in answering our pleadings not because He doesn't love us or care about our concern, but because He wants us to grow from making our own choices and using our agency. It's like learning to ride a bike. When a father teaches his child to ride, he lets go once the child becomes comfortable and strong enough to pedal on her own. This is not because he doesn't care about protecting his child. He knows that she can do it on her own, and that if she does begin to wobble and fall he can always swoop in to catch her. I know from personal experience that the Lord loves us and knows what we most need to grow and develop. I know that sometimes this requires Him to pull back a little and let us "ride" on our own. He loves us so much that He lets us have our agency. He does not want us to be His "robots" whom He controls ; He wants us to become self-sufficient and capable.