On Saturday I managed to cut three of my fingers in just a few minutes.
With a large family and a demanding job I like to freeze up to a month's worth of meals so I can grab something already made and throw it in the oven or crockpot. Over the years I’ve learned to make ten or more meals in just a couple of hours.
Saturday I was meal making. Using a sharp knife I found myself slicing some food when the Spirit whispered for me to change the angle on my knife. I ignored it. After all, I’ve been slicing, dicing and julienne-ing food for decades. I am careful and, with this particular stubborn item, I was cutting slowly to avoid injury. I didn’t need to pay attention to the prompting.
As always when I try to debate the Spirit, I lost. The knife hit a soft spot in the food, sliced through it and into two of my fingers in less than the beat of a heart.
Well, I quickly cleaned the cuts, applied bandages, and went back to work.
Not two minutes later I was sealing tinfoil around a completed meal when I sliced another finger on the edge of the tinfoil. I didn’t even know you could get cut by tinfoil! I discovered that it cuts as fast as paper cut but, because the foil is metal, it slices through skin like a razor blade. The very top of one of my fingers was almost entirely cut through.
Well, I cleaned that cut, applied a bigger bandage, and went back to work.
And, for the rest of the time, I kept wondering if something was wrong with me. Was I growing so old and senile that I could no longer handle a knife? Were the three injuries somehow my fault?
So I analyzed the situation.
My first two cuts were the result of my foolish decision to ignore the Spirit. I had been warned. Because I thought I knew better, I got hurt. The cuts inconvenienced me for a few days but, thanks to the miraculous gift of our bodies, are now mostly healed.
The other cut, which caught me completely by surprise, bled for 24 hours. I had to keep changing the gauze bandage and, in retrospect, probably should have had stitches (but those have always sounded like they hurt worse than the original injury). Now, even though the bleeding has stopped, I still have a bandage on that finger as it heals more slowly than the other wounds.
These two incidents caused me to reflect on the wounds we suffer in life that afflict our souls. Some of them are the results of our foolish decisions to ignore what we know or have been told is right. Thankfully, though, because of the Atonement, we can repent and our spirits can heal miraculously--just like our bodies.
Other wounds catch us completely by surprise and have little to do with our personal foolishness. I am thinking of those wounds that are caused by others who choose to ignore or break the Commandments. Some of these wounds may cause our souls to bleed for years. We may even wonder, as I did, if we somehow caused or deserved the wounds. We may think there is something wrong with us.
If I had been a better husband or wife…
If I had been a better mother or father…
Or we may grow angry and our thoughts may keep those wounds bleeding for years. President Hinckley said “There is no peace in reflecting on the pain of old wounds.” (See “Of You It Is Required to Forgive,” Ensign, June 1991)
President Hinckley clearly understood there is another part of the Atonement. Besides seeking healing through repentance, we can and must find spiritual healing through forgiving others.
And yet the Infinite Atonement does not even stop there!
We all know that not all human sorrow is connected to sin. Some pain and hurts just happen.
Stephen E. Robinson said, “He knows the loneliness of those who don’t fit in or who aren’t handsome or pretty. He knows what it’s like to choose up teams and be the last one chosen. He knows the anguish of parents whose children go wrong. He knows the private hell of the abused child or spouse. He knows all these things personally and intimately because he lived them in the Gethsemane experience.”
How I love the promise in Revelations 21:3-4. Throughout the scriptures the Lord says he shall send a Comforter to the righteous or He shall cause that they receive this blessing or that blessing; but in the end the promise is personal…one on one.
“Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain.”
God will personally wipe away our tears. He will stand before us, hold our face lovingly in His hands, and personally heal us of all our hurts.
That is the power of the Infinite Atonement.
That is the true power of His Infinite love.