I do not remember a talk that spoke more to my heart of the deep loneliness that I have felt especially when I have turned away from His guiding light.
Brothers and sisters, my Easter-season message today is intended for everyone, but it is directed in a special way to those who are alone or feel alone or, worse yet, feel abandoned. These might include those longing to be married, those who have lost a spouse, and those who have lost—or have never been blessed with—children. Our empathy embraces wives forsaken by their husbands, husbands whose wives have walked away, and children bereft of one or the other of their parents—or both. This group can find within its broad circumference a soldier far from home, a missionary in those first weeks of homesickness, or a father out of work, afraid the fear in his eyes will be visible to his family. In short it can include all of us at various times in our lives.He goes on to tell of how Jesus knows perfectly how to succor us in this loneliness, not because he also has sinned and has cut himself off from divine support; but because his father allowed for it when he removed his influence from Jesus. He had been abandoned and removed from the support of his followers. Yet, it seems that Jesus did not understand on every level what it would be like to be completely severed from the influence of God.
Now I speak very carefully, even reverently, of what may have been the most difficult moment in all of this solitary journey to Atonement. I speak of those final moments for which Jesus must have been prepared intellectually and physically but which He may not have fully anticipated emotionally and spiritually—that concluding descent into the paralyzing despair of divine withdrawal when He cries in ultimate loneliness, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46; emphasis added)
The loss of mortal support He had anticipated, but apparently He had not comprehended this. Had He not said to His disciples, “Behold, the hour . . . is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me” and “The Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him”? (John 16:32; 8:29)
For His Atonement to be infinite and eternal, He had to feel what it was like to die not only physically but spiritually, to sense what it was like to have the divine Spirit withdraw, leaving one feeling totally, abjectly, hopelessly alone.I am so grateful for the influence of Jesus Christ in my life. He has saved me from the lonely hell I had created for myself. Because of Him, I was enabled to put myself in a position to meet and fall in love with my wonderful wife. His grace has continued to strengthen me over the last 14 and a half years. He has ministered to me through his willing servants, most of all my angel wife through her patience, forgiveness and persistence. I will praise His name forever and our Father who sent Him.
When the uttermost farthing had then been paid, when Christ’s determination to be faithful was as obvious as it was utterly invincible, finally and mercifully, it was “finished.” Against all odds and with none to help or uphold Him, Jesus of Nazareth, the living Son of the living God, restored physical life where death had held sway and brought joyful, spiritual redemption out of sin, hellish darkness and despair.