February 19, 2011

Restless Nights

Last night was the worst nights sleep I've had in a long time. I tossed and turned all night, could never get comfortable, and could never seem to shut my brain off long enough to allow sleep to overcome me. I rolled over, and bright red numbers reading 3:02 stared back at me from my alarm clock. Laughing a little bit, I thought to myself, "Well... I must be a princess..." as the memory of the childhood fairytale The Princess and the Pea filled my mind.

A young prince was looking for a fair princess to wed. He searched high and low all throughout the kingdom looking for his royal bride. Yet, he could never find a maiden of royal birth. One night, while a terrible tempest was raging outside, there was a knock at the castle door.
It was a fair maiden indeed, but she looked rather homely from traveling out in the brewing storm. She declared herself to be a princess. Eager to find the truth, the queen placed a small pea underneath her bed, and then placed 20 mattresses on top. This would surely prove the fair maiden as a royal, or an impostor.

That night, the maiden tossed and turned all night. She could not get comfortable, and could not find rest. The next morning, the queen asked her how she slept. "Terrible!" She responded. She had bruises all over her body from the tiny pea. The queen was overjoyed to find that she was truly a princess, and the maiden and the prince were married, and lived happily ever after.

We are all sons and daughter of the most high God, and as such that makes us of royal birth. Indeed, we are heirs to eternity. We too must be as sensitive as the royals in this story. Sin has the capability to harm us. Indeed, it can bruise us. It makes us uncomfortable; we toss and turn over it all night. Any disobedience to God's commands leaves us in a state of unrest.

There was a young man in the Book of Mormon who found himself in the same restless state. His name was Alma, and his father was the prophet. He went throughout all the land, trying to destroy the faith of the saints. An angel appeared to him, and commanded him to stop. Needless to say, this left an impact on young Alma. This experience was so intense, that it left Alma in a coma for three days. He describes his state during those three days as being racked with torment by the memory of his sins.

While in the depths of despair, he remembers the words of his father, who spoke of one Jesus Christ. In his anguish, Alma calls upon our Savior, Jesus Christ. He describes the effects of his plea, "And now, behold, when I thought this, I could remember my pains no more; yea, I was harrowed up by the memory of my sins no more. And oh, what joy, and what marvelous light I did behold; yea, my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain." (Alma 36:19-20)

Alma experienced the power of the Savior's atonement, which provides rest to all our souls, and heals us perfectly. I testify of the atonement, as I have felt the cleansing power of it in my own life. It's real, and it applies to each of us.

Alma had a change of heart, and became a missionary himself, declaring the gospel of Jesus Christ boldly. When speaking to the people in Ammonihah, Alma declares the word of God, "Whosoever repenteth, and hardeneth not his heart, he shall have claim on mercy through mine Only Begotten Son, unto a remission of his sins; and these shall enter into my rest." (Alma 12:34) Alma perfectly knows of the rest that the Lord speaks of, which is made possible through Christ. As we too repent, and soften our hearts, we will come into the rest of the Lord, and live worthy of the royal destiny that we each possess.

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