Perfection Pending

Even a child can understand the Atonement of Jesus Christ

Boy riding tricycle

Lee Jacob is my nephew. He is five years old, and is a redhead. Now, I’m sure that most of the things they say about redheads are nonsense, but in Lee’s case, they all fit. He is impulsive, stubborn, and he has a temper. Besides that, he absolutely cannot sit still. We’re not sure if he has ever wanted to sit still. All we know is that he has never done it.

This is the boy who, as a three-year-old stood up on the bench at Church (while his father was sitting on the stand, and his mother was out with the baby), pulled open his shirt and declared loudly, quoting from his favorite movie, “I’m just like Gaston. Every inch of me is covered with hair” (“Beauty and the Beast,” 1991).

Child playing in the sand

When he was four, he went to the ward Christmas party and Santa Clause was there. Lee Jacob had not seen Santa yet that year, so he ran to the jolly fellow, and, because Lee Jacob wasn’t very big, he tugged on Santa’s pants to get his attention. Santa’s pants fell down to his knees.

When Lee was five, he started kindergarten. Everyone was worried: his mom, his dad, his grandparents, ward members, and parents of other kindergarten kids. Everyone knows that school is not a very friendly place for redheaded boys who can’t sit still.

Lee’s mom waited for a couple of weeks before going to visit the teacher, and then she found out that Lee was a very lucky little boy because Mrs. Smith loved kids – and not just cute little girls who loved to sit still and sing and draw. She even loved noisy, overactive, stubborn kids who only liked to jump and climb and wrestle.

Children happy

Lee’s mom went home that night and she said to Lee, “Lee Jacob, I talked to your teacher today.”

Lee’s head hung down until it touched his chest, but his mom kept going.

“Your teacher says that sometimes you forget to use your walking feet, and sometimes you forget to use your quiet voice, but that whenever she reminds you, then you remember. And Lee Jacob, that’s okay. They had to remind me to use my walking feet and my quiet voice until I was in grade twelve.”

Baseball grass

And then, Lee threw his arms around his mom’s neck and hugged her real hard, because she knew the whole truth about him, and she still loved him, and she knew he was trying his best- and his best was good enough.

Then he stepped back and his head fell again, and he said, “But Mom, I’ll never get SuperBee.”

You see, Mrs. Smith had a helper named SuperBee. He was a puppet made out of a glove, so that when you put your hand inside, your fingers were his legs and he was all velvety and nice to touch. He sat on Mrs. Smith’s desk and watched the kids with Super BEEhavior. And every night SuperBee went home with a super kid. Now Lee was no dummy, and he knew he could never sit as quietly as those little girls, so it looked hopeless.

Pencil crayons broken

Lee’s mom gave him a big hug, and after Lee was in bed, she called Mrs. Smith and told her about a three-foot high redhead who knew that no matter how he tried, he could never win SuperBee. Then each morning as Lee left for school, his mom encouraged him to do his very best. And on Friday when Lee came home from school, he threw open the door, just as he always did. He dropped his coat on the floor, just as he always did. He shouted, “Hey Mom, I’m home,” just like he always did. And then he added, “And I’ve got SuperBee!”

Jesus meeting apostle

And the lesson learned

You may already know the comparison I am going to make. None of you would be caught dead carrying SuperBee home on your hand, but all of you would love to go home to live with your Heavenly Father. But you look around and you see a lot of people who seem to live a lot better than you do. Some of them don’t even seem to be tempted to do wrong things. And when you look at them, you’re pretty sure you don’t have a chance.

But after you go to bed tonight your Saviour is going to go to His Father and He is going to say, “Father, Ryan (or James or Emma) doesn’t think he can make it. He’s having trouble keeping all the commandments. But he is really trying, Father, and he is getting better.”

Jesus comforting child

And then Heavenly Father will say something like, “Is he doing his best?”

And the Savior will answer, “Yes.”

“And are you willing to make up the difference?” the Father will ask.

And the Saviour will answer, “Yes,” because He knows the whole truth about you, and He still loves you.

Because the Atonement of Jesus Christ isn’t just for those who find it easy to do the right things. It is also for those who find it hard, and who fight every day to do better and be better.

For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved (John 3:17).