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I am surrounded by the forces of destruction.
These forces have been at work for long before I arrived on the scene. And they will endure long after I am gone.
Unlike the forces of destruction unleashed in the New World at the death of Jesus Christ because of the wickedness of the people, the forces of destruction I see bring unexpected wonder and beauty. I’m writing this from Arches National Park in the state of Utah.
Millions of people from all over the world pilgrimage to this geological holy land. Like me they are struck with awe at the outcomes of persistent geological forces over so many years. As I was telling my daughter today, with enough time, water and wind will erode any block of solid sandstone leaving a mesmerizing canyon in its wake, much like my family experienced today on the Colorado river.
This destruction brings beauty.
But not all destruction does, at least not at first.
When I read 3 Nephi 8, my heart breaks like the rocks broken at the death of Jesus. I wonder how a people who had received so many blessings could turn their hearts from God, from their fellow humans. How could they have lost everything?
Then I reflect on how Jesus created beauty from the destruction. He took what was broken and offered enduring healing.
The brokenness and destruction led to new life. The people who had survived such an immense catastrophe turned their lives over to Jesus Christ, creating a society of individuals who experienced long-lasting peace and prosperity.
What do we have in our lives that is currently broken or destroyed? How can Jesus heal that brokenness? How can Jesus build anew what has been cast down?
How can we let Jesus create wondering beauty from the pieces of destruction?
Do we let the love of God persistently erode away the hardness of our hearts so that a river as mighty as the Colorado pours light and love into the gaping chasm? Do we let people into those open spaces of our hearts to show them the power, love, and healing of God?
Do we expect to be and stay who we have always been? Or will we let the forces of God tear down our fallen natures, one grain of sand at a time, so that we become new creatures in Him? Will our souls become holy land that supports the pilgrimage journey to the presence of God?
[Mesa Arch with La Sal Mountains in the Background, Canyonlands National Park]
3 Nephi 11—Jesus’s First Act in the New World
After God introduced His Son Jesus Christ and after Jesus introduced Himself to those gathered near the temple in the land Bountiful, what was the first thing Jesus did?
Jesus invited everyone to come to Him so that they might know He is “the God of Israel and the God of the world earth” who was slain for the sins of the world (see 3 Nephi 11:14, emphasis added).
I find myself in wondering awe at the simple power of Jesus’s first words and deeds.
He did not come to become popular.
He did not come to chastise people.
He did not come to glory in Himself.
He did not come to laud His power over others.
Jesus came to invite all people to Him.
Jesus came to heal brokenness.
Jesus came to teach saving truths.
Jesus came that we might know!
As evident by His very first act in the New World, Jesus came so that everyone would be invited to Him to know that He is God.
How have you sought God? How have you come to know that Jesus is your savior? How has Jesus taught you that He is the God of Israel and the god of the whole earth?
What have you done because of this knowledge?