First, I was reminded of the delight I feel to see a tired old house restored so its unique character can be appreciated again. We are all like broken down houses. We came to Earth all shiny and new with commendable characteristics and valuable gifts to share. Then we were stained by sin, worn out by the storms of life, and broken in places by the imperfect people around us. Our Savior Jesus Christ paid an immense price during His Atonement to gain the power to restore us, and He earnestly seeks to use that power. Despite the heavy cost, He delights in the process of restoring us to our former glory.
The second encouraging thought that came to mind was my young garden. I do not grow a lot of food; instead my garden is mostly ornamental. It has been two years since we undertook a large landscaping project in the backyard, and there are some pretty spots but still a lot of bare ground. I love to sit outside and imagine how the garden will look in five or ten years when the trees and other plants are more mature. Even though there will be a lot of work between now and then, I look forward to the process of nurturing its growth. We are all like young gardens. The patches of goodness and beauty here and there in our current selves are just a small part of our infinite potential. Our Savior never loses sight of that potential and finds much more joy from nurturing our growth than I receive from my nurturing my garden. His Atonement provides plenty of grace to continue to support us throughout the long process of maturation.
An old house and a young garden echo the changes that come to our hearts as Christ uses His Atonement to help us become one with Him and our Heavenly Father (John 17:21). Jesus fixes the damage from our sins, the sins of others, and the perils of mortality; then He fills us with more and more of His attributes and strength. He makes us whole again like an old house restored, and He makes us holy like a garden filled with growing beauty, light and life. Our Savior delights in the completed goal ahead but also in the ongoing process. If He sees goodness and finds joy in us now despite our sagging stairs, broken windows, barren patches and weedy corners, then we can feel optimistic about our progress, slow though it seems. He can show us how to find joy in the journey because He finds joy in the journey. With the encouragement of the Holy Spirit and steady streams of Christ’s grace, we can attend to the healing and growth of today with a bright hope in the righteousness to come.