One of the tasks often undertaken by someone in my profession of business analysis is a “gap analysis.” Said gap is the difference between the current state of a business or product and the future state. If you can identify what’s missing, than you can come up with a plan to close that gap and transform the business or product into that future version, often done by undertaking a project or by taking smaller steps or iterations toward the future state. So the Parable of the Gap Analysis comes from personal experience (though I’ve never encountered such a drastic situation).
Even though He didn’t approach it quite this way, Heavenly Father’s plan and purpose for life on earth reminds me of this situation—hence the parable.
Before His Crucifixion, Jesus taught, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). Following His Resurrection, He instructed the Nephites in the Western Hemisphere, “Therefore I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect” (3 Nephi 12:48). Clearly, between these two sermons, something had changed—Jesus had achieved perfection. Though He had committed no sin during His mortal life, He had to pass through death and obtain an immortal body in order to be perfect, or whole and complete. Showing His resurrected, perfect, glorified body to His disciples illustrated that obtaining such a body is one of the purposes of life.
But this highlights the first major gap. We have no way to bring about our own resurrection after we die, no way to change our state of separation of spirit from body, any more than we could create a perfect body out of a mortal one. Without any intercession, our bodies would remain dead and our spirits trapped outside the presence of God. This gap would have been a chasm yawning wide as eternity.
But even resurrection would do us little good if we still carried the stain of our sins. Unlike Jesus, who always exercised the utmost self-control, we give in to temptation at times. We think, speak, or act in ways that distance us from our Father and make us unsuitable to live with Him. Nor would we want to live with Him with a constant realization that we don’t belong and don’t deserve to live in holy halls. Once again, a deep, uncrossable gorge.
The scriptures have referred to these as “gulfs,” which also sound extensive.
In the United Kingdom, the edge of train platforms have the phrase “mind the gap” painted on them. It’s a reminder that not stepping far enough to get onto the train can result in injury or even death. In this eternal sense, all of us have fallen into that gap and cannot escape it on our own. An all-wise Heavenly Father understood this gap and knew what was needed to bring the “as is” and the “to be” together.
I could stop here; after all, the parable was about the gap. Henriette looked at it and could see that the company would be sunk without help. Realizing the extent of their deficiency brought on a feeling of hopelessness and imminent doom. The executives recognized that they needed something they didn’t have in order to survive. But stopping there could be, well, kinda depressing.
In the end, we will all be called forth by Him who broke death’s bands. All who have ever been and will ever be born on earth will receive this gift from Him. “All shall be raised from this temporal death” (Alma 11:42). But if death were the only gap keeping us from fulfilling God’s desires for us, there would really be no need for the gospel to be preached and for Christ’s Church to exist. Heavenly Father sent Christ to suffer the penalty for our sins so that the repentant can receive forgiveness and cleansing. The central figure in the Father’s plan, Jesus provided the solution for two main problems that stand in our way of becoming what He envisions for us. He bridges or closes these gaps.
The prophet Jacob taught us to “be reconciled unto [the Father] through the atonement of Christ, his Only Begotten Son” (Jacob 4:11). One definition of reconcile is “to bring into agreement or harmony” (Dictionary.com). As we let Him, Jesus can change us, our desires and attitudes, so that we come into harmony with Heavenly Father’s will—a will that is forever directed toward what is and will be best for us. Through His infinite, atoning power, He can remove all gaps that we face that separate us from that God who would have us return to Him.
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