A Wonderful Plan

 

Elder José A. Teixeira

President, Europe Area

 

Recently I received an e-mail message from my daughter-in-law Lisa expressing the joy she feels with her new-born daughter. Her words were filled with gratitude for a wonderful plan of a Father in Heaven who loves us.

I began to think how her experience of giving birth has helped her better understand the importance of the covenant of baptism and deepened her testimony of Jesus Christ as our Savior and Redeemer.

John 3:5 states: “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God.” Christ is teaching us more than just the fact that baptism is essential to salvation. What does He want us to learn by comparing baptism to birth? Having just given birth, my daughter-in-law shared some insights of what our Church membership means to Him and what it means to us. Here are eight lessons she has learned from her baby daughter Jane.

1. We are absolutely pure and innocent after baptism. Could the Lord explain to us any more clearly that our sins truly are washed away and we are absolutely clean, than to compare us to a newborn baby? 

2. It is a not a small, casual thing to be baptized. The cost of our purity is the Lord’s Atonement. He described His experience in D&C 19:18: “Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup…” Those are some of the same feelings experienced during labor and birth. Just as giving physical birth requires great sacrifice and pain, giving spiritual birth requires the ultimate sacrifice and the pain of the Atonement. But why are mothers willing to bear children? Because they love their children—because they are so worth it. The Lord loves us, and we are so worth it. 

3. A long period of nourishing and strengthening and building a relationship occurs before birth, and there is much anticipation. Even though a mother is creating this bond with her child for nine months, the first time she sees and holds her infant she has feelings of reverence and joy that are impossible to describe. Likewise, the Lord nourishes and strengthens His children as they prepare for baptism. He looks forward to that day. The bond created when His children enter the waters of baptism is so strong, and He overflows with joy as does the new mother. What a powerful image to describe His happiness. 

4. Jane took our name and is a part of our family. We take Christ’s name upon us when we are baptized, and we become part of His family. With this comes great responsibility, but it also makes us heirs to all that He has. 

5. A mother is excited about everything a new born does. Jane does not have to be perfect for her mother to be proud of her. New converts may feel like they do not measure up when compared to seasoned members of the Church, but the Lord is so proud of their every new development. 

6. Lisa mentioned that she always knows where Jane is and what she is doing, even when the baby cannot see her or doesn’t know that she is watching her. Lisa would never, ever leave her alone. The Lord is even more aware of us: “I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about to bear you up” (D&C 84:88).

7. Jane is absolutely dependent on her mother, and her mother gives her everything she needs. If the baby were to tell her mother, “I don't need you,” she wouldn’t survive. Telling the Lord that we don’t need Him is the path to die spiritually. We need His nourishment every day. He gives Himself to us as a mother gives herself to her child. 

8. Lisa says: “I don't want Jane to stay like this forever. I want her to grow and develop and experience a fullness of life. Because I love her, I want her to experience all the joy that I have had. That is what loving parents want for their children.” We have a loving Heavenly Father, and even though it may seem impossible now that we could ever be like Him, He sees our future. He knows our potential. And that is exactly what He is training us to be—to be like Him. That is what loving parents do for their children, and we are His children. 

May we recognize that we can return to live with our Heavenly Father only by relying on His Son’s grace and mercy. [1] May we rejoice in being members of the Church and always be grateful for the wonderful plan our Heavenly Father has provided for us.



[1] Preach My Gospel, p. 61