Through the Atonement, the Lord is able to help all bear life's heavy burdens, taught Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
He began his Sunday morning talk by sharing the experience of a friend who drove his new four-wheel drive pickup truck to the mountains to collect firewood.
Snow had already fallen in the area where he intended to find wood. As he drove up the mountainside, the snow became deeper and deeper. But the man persisted, continued to the area where he planned to cut the wood and promptly became stuck in the snow.
Despite feeling embarrassed and worried, the man climbed out of his immobilized vehicle and began cutting wood, eventually filling the bed of the truck with a heavy load. Then he attempted to drive out of the snow one more time. He slowly inched forward, drove back to the road and made his way home.
"It was the load of wood that provided the traction necessary for him to get out of the snow, to get back on the road and to move forward," he said. "It was the load that enabled him to return to his family and his home."
Everyone, he added, carries a load that is comprised of demands and opportunities, obligations and privileges, afflictions and blessings, and options and constraints. But is one's load producing the "spiritual traction" needed to press forward with faith in Christ and, ultimately, return home to Heavenly Father?
"Sometimes we mistakenly may believe that happiness is the absence of a load. But bearing a load is a necessary and essential part of the plan of happiness. Because our individual load needs to generate spiritual traction, we should be careful to not haul around in our lives so many nice but unnecessary things that we are distracted and diverted from the things that matter most."
The Lord invites His followers to "Come unto me" and lighten their loads.
"We are not and never need be alone," said Elder Bednar. "We can press forward in our daily lives with heavenly help. Through the Savior's Atonement we can receive capacity and strength beyond our own."
The Atonement, in conjunction with sacred covenants, allows for deliverance.
"Covenants received and honored with integrity and ordinances performed by proper priesthood authority are necessary to receive all of the blessings made available through the Atonement of Jesus Christ."
Christ's Atonement makes possible the remission of sins and enables people to do good in ways far beyond mortal capacities.
"It is one thing to know that Jesus Christ came to earth to die for us," he said. "But we also need to appreciate that the Lord desires, through His Atonement and by the power of the Holy Ghost, to enliven us — not only to guide but also to strengthen and heal us."
The Savior also suffered for each person's physical pains, weaknesses, fears, frustrations, disappointments, injustices and emotional distresses.
"He can reach out, touch, succor, heal and strengthen us to be more than we could ever be and help us to do that which we could never do relying only upon our own power."