But for me the part that leaves me pondering is how He can help us be healed and feel better in those times of pain and rejection. Let me share my brief thoughts from this week.
Many toddlers and young children have a tendency to search out their mothers when they hurt themselves. Among them there are many that want their mothers to 'kiss it better'. This is an interesting phenomenon. Something that I have seen now in more than one culture and something that appears to be a little silly or unnecessary. But the incredible part about it is that it seems to make a difference for the young child. With this simple act of consolation, truly the recognition of a problem or pain, and the (admittantly inconsequential) kiss of a wound- the child is 'healed'.
Now that is the interesting part. Where was the pain to begin with? If it were in the bloody knee, as would seem to be the case, why does an inconsequential kiss quiet the howling? The answer is in the expectation, attitude, or faith of the young child, The toddler really believes that the kiss will help and heal.... and so it does!
So it is with the Atonement. The Atonement requires faith in order to take affect. Simply going through the motions does not have a great impact. But believing that Christ understands what we are going through, knowing that He too has suffered it, and then asking for his alivement has the power to heal us inasmuch as we believe.
Does it sound like some mind-trick? Let me conclude with my thoughts to that question. It is necessary that we believe in order for God to complete his purposes with us. He created us so that we can be like Him. So that we can live as He lives and act as He acts. Raising a bunch of doubtful children who soley learn to go through the motions without being truly converted to eternal truths and principles would serve neither Him nor us. And so in order to encourage and lead us towards a real conversion, one that comes only throught the constant participation in a personal interaction with God and His eternal laws, He must require us to believe. He must require us to love Him. Were it not so, we would never be able to be completely ready to stand in His presence and receive our eternal recompense.
As I have pondered and applied the principle of faith in my life, my personal relationship with God, and my interactions with the rest of my earthly brothers and sisters I have felt the power of the Atonement. Unlike the 'kiss it better' treatment, there is a real power in the kiss of the Lord. One accessable only on conditions of faith and repentence.