For a long time I didn’t make the connection between Monday migraines and Sundays’ partaking of the gluten- and commercial yeast-rich sacrament bread, not to mention inhaling potent levels of fragrances some ward members feel compelled to wear that inevitably subject sensitive other ward members to often lingering allergic reactions. Being averse to taking medications and their plethora of toxic chemicals, I would suffer through the pain even if it meant holding on to a chair for relief during the day or walking around the house at night while all were asleep until at last the pain lifted. But I noticed that each time I emerged from such a trauma my spirit was more in charge of my body. A portion of my iniquities—dysfunctional patterns, whether my own or ones I had inherited generationally—had been cleared or expiated with the pain. I felt more purified and sanctified and empowered in spirit.
Referring to Jesus’ sacrifice, Paul speaks of God’s making “the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings” (Hebrews 2:10)? This tells us that although Jesus was indeed a perfect victim to make restitution for the sins of the world, he wasn’t yet as perfect as the Father was perfect. Thus, Jesus himself says, “I cast out devils and do cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be perfected” (Luke 13:32). To attain the perfection of the Father, he had to keep the law of the Father, and that was to do “what he seeth the Father do, for whatsoever things he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise” (John 5:19). After his suffering, Jesus thus included himself in his Father’s perfection: “Be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect” (3 Nephi 12:48), whereas before that he did not do so: “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48).
If Jesus “learned obedience by the things which he suffered” and by so doing was “made perfect” (Hebrews 5:8–9), and if he “suffered for us, leaving us an example that ye should follow his steps” (1 Peter 2:21), shall we not unite our sufferings with his on the cross that we too might be made perfect? For do we not become “heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ if it so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together” (Romans 8:17)? For if it is true that “if we suffer we also shall reign with him,” then it is likewise true that “if we deny him he also will deny us” (2 Timothy 2:12)? Our choice is thus between consecrating our sufferings to God in the name of Jesus—as a freewill offering or else it is in vain—or suffering regret later for having procrastinated the day of our exaltation. That is, unless we are content to settle for salvation only and not pay the price of exaltation.