Emily Belle Freeman
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THIS IS MY JOY

AND MY GREAT REJOICING

Second Chances

Mosiah 25:18-Mosiah 28:7

I believe in a God of miracles.

I believe He can do anything, anytime, anywhere.

I believe it with my whole heart.

Some of the most wondrous things God has ever done are recorded in the scriptures and in the hearts and journals of people all over this world.  The blind have their sight restored.  The sick and lame walk.  The door to paradise is opened and the dead rise.  But the miracles that have and will make your jaw drop are when Jesus touches the spiritually blind, sick, and dead and turns them into saints.

Mosiah 27 is filled with words and phrases that make my heart shudder.

“…a great hinderment to the church of God…”

“…stealing away the hearts of people…”

“…giving a chance for the enemy of God…”

Alma and the sons of Mosiah knew better.  For the sake of propriety, let’s just remember that these boys were not just sneaking extra cookies at the Cub Scout meeting.  Every foul sin would have been available to these boys, and it seems as if they indulged themselves in all types of wickedness.  Imagine it being said of you that you were the cause for many peoples’ destruction.  Imagine if your actions actually invited the darkest being in the universe to exercise his power over another human soul.  They were in a dark place.  Perhaps hopeless.

I met a girl once in the lobby of the Provo Temple.  She was beaming.  She was holding hands with a bright, handsome young man.  They just glowed from the inside out.  Her smile was one of confidence and spiritual strength.  It was such a delightful and outstanding difference to see her and compare her with the memory I had of her from several years before.  This was not my first time meeting this girl.  I knew her in her high school years.  Despite being raised by faithful parents herself, her life was in a mess—a mess of her own creating.  She made choices that lead her places she never wanted to go.  Places of shame.  Places of guilt and sorrow.  The last time I saw her, that is where she was.  I bet many people didn’t think any good would come from this girl’s life.  Perhaps I was tempted to think the same.  Several years earlier, this girl had stood in front of me with her head hanging in shame.  Now, her chin was held high and her eyes sparkled as she invited me to her temple sealing. It has been one of my most favorite memories.

I wonder where my friend is now and what she is up to.  I wish her all the best.

As for Alma and his companions— “thus did the Spirit of the Lord work upon them, for they were the very vilest of sinners.  And the Lord saw fit in his infinite mercy to spare them…” (Mosiah 28:4)

Each of these young men became some of the greatest missionaries that have ever come to this earth.  Their stories are heroic.  Their stories are legendary.  One of them teaches a group who will later become the army of Helaman.  One of them converts a king.  One of them will have a great grandson who will meet the Resurrected Lord.  Thousands will come into the fold of God because of their efforts.

Doesn’t this story remind us that we never know what will happen to those we care about?  If you have someone you love who is living an Alma the Younger lifestyle, speak up when you need to, pray on and hope on.  The story is not over for them yet.  Hope never expires.

There is always an opportunity for lives to be turned around.  It might be a long, hard road back, but there is a road.

“Remember: the heavens will not be filled with those who never made mistakes but with those who recognized that they were off course and who corrected their ways to get back in the light of gospel truth.” (President Uchtdorf, April 2008).

We worship a God of restored opportunities.

We worship a God of second chances.

We worship a God of miracles.

Emily Freeman