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Finding Christ on the covenant path

Recently I pedaled to the High Bridge Trail’s eastern terminus near Burkeville.

Turning around, I saw a marker indicating distances to various destinations: restrooms, High Bridge, Farmville. Until I saw this signpost, I had no idea I had traveled so far.

Now, seeing the number of miles that stretched out before me to get back home, I felt somewhat daunted. Sometimes the covenant path stretching back to our heavenly home can seem long and arduous. We might feel that it has been too long since we have seen the inside of a chapel, or since we opened the scriptures. We might even feel that actions contrary to the commandments of God make us unworthy to worship with fellow believers.

In fact, none of these is true. There is always a way. Jesus invites us all, like His ancient disciples, to “Come and see” John 1:39.

Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, outlined the experiences of Saul, whom the resurrected Lord visited on the road to Damascus and asked: “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?”

Receiving a testimony of the risen Christ, Saul replied humbly: “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” Acts 9:1-6.

Elder Uchtdorf described those individuals who “stand at the waters of baptism but do not enter. They wait at the threshold of testimony but cannot bring themselves to acknowledge the truth. Instead of taking small steps of faith on the path of discipleship, they want some dramatic event to compel them to believe. They spend their days waiting on the road to Damascus.”

How many of us are waiting on the road to Damascus? How many delay starting along the path because it seems too long, because we are unsure, because we are afraid of what others might think, or because we are awaiting a more dramatic conversion?

In fact, true conversion comes gradually as we act in faith daily, feasting upon the words of Christ and bowing humbly in prayer. Rather than any dramatic single event, conversion to Christ becomes a fundamental part of who we are.

Elder Uchtdorf testified: “Those who diligently seek to learn of Christ eventually will come to know Him. They will personally receive a divine portrait of the Master, although it most often comes in the form of a puzzle — one piece at a time. Each individual piece may not be easily recognizable by itself; it may not be clear how it relates to the whole. Each piece helps us to see the big picture a little more clearly. Eventually, after enough pieces have been put together, we recognize the grand beauty of it all. Then, looking back on our experience, we see that the Savior had indeed come to be with us — not all at once but quietly, gently, almost unnoticed.”

May we each venture forward on the covenant path, and in doing so find the Savior we seek!

BRENT ROBERTS is the Elders Quorum President in the Sandy River Branch, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and also Dean of Greenwood Library at Longwood University. He can be reached at brentsroberts@hotmail.com.