Not long ago, we received a surprise visit by some old friends. They stopped by to catch up on things, and the conversation quickly turned to the recent death of our son Joshua. We talked about our life before his death, our life after his death, and our life now. I would have to say, that it was one of the best conversations I've had in a very long time.
Our friend told us of her sister who also experienced the tragic loss of her baby last year as well. She asked me about the atonement, and how it has worked in my life. I shared with her my feelings of having a much greater understanding of just what Christ went through, knowing that He had to suffer even the pain I've felt from losing my child.
She told me that her sister has learned that every individual has their own reliance on the atonement. For example, she would hear others talk about how hard their lives were, and what trials they were experiencing. She would sometimes feel that their trials were little in comparison to the loss of her very own baby.
During each person's life, they are in need of the atonement at different levels. We can never judge them in any way. We must never assume that their trial is easy, and that they are being weak.
Everyone will have their turn. Everyone will have to walk through Gethsemane. I believe that to be able to live in the presence of God, you will have to experience something very difficult that will help you to better understand just what Christ went through. You will have to experience something very hard that will test your faith. You will have to be fit for His Kingdom.
With that said, in no way do I feel like the death of my son is, or has been my complete Gethsemane. I'm very aware that God has many more trials in store for me. In fact, on a personal note, I sometimes feel that thus far in my life, Joshua's death has not been my very most trying time. It is definitely up there in the top 2, though.
Once I prove to God that I have learned what he wants me to learn from each specific trial, He will send another big one my way so that I can continue being tested again and again.
And to those of you that don't have many trials at all: Just wait...but it's not for me to judge you anyway.