I read an article the other day on CNN about Phantom Leg Syndrome. It’s something I’d heard of before but never really given much thought to.Phantom Leg Syndrome describes a medical condition where someone who has lost a limb (not necessarily a leg) feels itching, pain, or other sensations in the limb that is no longer there. It occurs because of neuron stimulation at the point where the limb was severed, and as those signals travel to the brain, they’re interpreted as coming from the missing limb. The result is an excruciating and unnerving experience because there’s clearly no way to alleviate that itch/pain/sensation.
As I thought about it, I couldn’t help but appreciate the striking similarity there is between this syndrome and one’s moral and spiritual conscience.
Often in life, we succumb to spiritual entropy, we get out of tune, take a wrong turn, or sometimes simply fall flat on our face. Whatever the cause, a core part of our spiritual and emotional well-being goes missing.
Sometimes it takes an unbearably long time to realize it, but inevitably, God has built into our souls a mechanism to eventually surface that to our awareness. Much like the phantom limb syndrome, where neurons deep within the body are pricked and call for attention, our conscience eventually gets pricked and we come to realize something is missing.
Unlike in the instance of a missing limb, the Atonement of Christ has made it possible to replace that crucial component that is missing from our lives. Repentance, while not always easy, IS always available.
Repentance gives us a spiritual regenerative ability that is unmistakable and undeniable. The atonement was given to all – if we will but receive it.
But sometimes thinking beyond the pain of the “now” (for those who have found something missing) is impossibly difficult. You get stuck dwelling upon your past, which tends to result in an ever inhibiting cycle of self-imposed limitations. We convince ourselves that help is somehow beyond reach.
The Atonement represents an irreplaceable, unmovable, and unchanging ability to become whole again. Christ performed miracles as he walked the earth, making people whole, all along the way. His atonement extends that cycle of regeneration today and forever. His ability to heal today, is no less real or compelling than it was 2,000 years ago.
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