According to Our Infirmities

Part of Jesus' amazing grace is the merciful truth that he suffered through the very infirmities he gave to us.

August 11, 2019

Ether 12:27

27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.

I can't stop thinking about this scripture. I even wrote a hymn about it, which turned out to be a difficult and wonderful experience. In the verse above we learn that our weaknesses were actually given to us by the Savior for a very important purpose. Admittedly, I sometimes wonder why he would give us the very weaknesses that make us vulnerable to sin and suffering.

This all becomes much easier to stomach when we remember that our sufferings became his own. Indeed, "I Stand All Amazed" when I remember that he didn't just divy out arbitrary weaknesses only to let us struggle through them, offering only an occasional helping hand if we ask politely. No, he already voluntarily went through everything we are struggling through and is with us every step of the way!

Alma 7:11-13

11 And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.

12 And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.

13 Now the Spirit knoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the flesh that he might take upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance; and now behold, this is the testimony which is in me.

If that wasn't convincing enough that the Savior is firmly in our camp, a constant source of understanding and help, listen to his own account of his current efforts on our behalf:

Doctrine and Covenants 45:3-5

3 Listen to him who is the advocate with the Father, who is pleading your cause before him--
4 Saying: Father, behold the sufferings and death of him who did no sin, in whom thou wast well pleased; behold the blood of thy Son which was shed, the blood of him whom thou gavest that thyself might be glorified;
5 Wherefore, Father, spare these my brethren that believe on my name, that they may come unto me and have everlasting life.

This is another amazing reference. These verses contain a veiled admission that we are all guilty as charged, but the good news is that the Savior (who is speaking in the third person) is our advocate and is currently pleading our cause before the Father. Note that this isn't something he already did or will do someday, he's doing it now--all the time!

Having said all of that, here's how I understand our mortal condition:

  1. Yes, the Savior gave us our weaknesses to provide ample opportunity for us to become humble.
  2. When we come to him in humility he makes sure we are keenly aware of those weaknesses.
  3. As part of his atoning sacrifice he took the very weaknesses he gave us upon him.
  4. Because of this he is prepared to provide exactly the help we need in the instant we humble ourselves and exercise faith in him and strive to repent.
    • Also see Alma 34:31: "Yea, I would that ye would come forth and harden not your hearts any longer; for behold, now is the time and the day of your salvation; and therefore, if ye will repent and harden not your hearts, immediately shall the great plan of redemption be brought about unto you."
  5. This combination of our imperfect striving in humility and faith along with his perfect sacrifice and understanding makes possible his advocacy of our cause before the father, that we might be spared and have everlasting life with them.