<– Day 20 Day 22 –>
3 Nephi 1:10
“Now it came to pass that when Nephi, the son of Nephi, saw this wickedness of his people, his heart was exceedingly sorrowful.”
Being a prophet, Nephi had a great love for the people he served; even those who would not listen to him. The unbelievers weren’t just ignoring him. They had strayed so far, in the opposite direction, that they made a plan to kill! Nephi was heart-broken. I suspect he’d been heart-broken over the unbelievers for a while. But now, the unbelievers were going to impose their beliefs on the believers. Maybe they thought that by threatening the believers with death, they’d denounce their faith? Bad things happen to good people as well as the bad. God doesn’t impose His will on anyone. Unfortunately, that means that bad people are allowed to act according to their choices. Our choices, good or bad, always have an effect on someone else. The thought that “it doesn’t hurt anyone else” is simply not true. If we weren’t allowed to follow through with our choices, there really is no such thing as choice. (But that’s a subject for another day.)
Although death comes to all of us the timing is not up to us. The repentant and the innocent can be assured that they will live with Christ after death, but we came to this earth to learn. Each of us has a purpose here. Our duty is to stay alive, as long as we can, to fulfill that purpose. We may not know all the purposes we have until after we die and have 20/20 hindsight. If one of God’s children takes the life of another, they are pretending to be God. Only God knows when our purpose here is fulfilled and its time to go back to Him. Young children have no need of repentance. They are too young to sin. When young children die, they go straight into Jesus’ arms. But only Satan would try to convince one that that justifies the killing of children!
<– Day 17 Day 19 –>
3 Nephi 1:7
“And it came to pass that they did make a great uproar throughout the land; and the people who believed began to be very sorrowful, lest by any means those things which had been spoken might not come to pass.”
The word ‘sorrowful’ jumps out at me in this verse. In the previous verse the unbelievers were mocking the believers for their faith. Now their mocking is escalating. I know there have been times in my life when someone has mocked me for my faith to the point of making an ‘uproar’. I felt sorrowful too. But it didn’t shake my faith. It made me dig deeper into what my faith is based on and why I believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God. As Alma, another Book of Mormon prophet, said, “And now as I said concerning faith – faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true.” (Alma 32:21) These people are still hopeful. They know the sign will come. The believers aren’t the ones imposing a timeline on God. The non-believers are not hopeful for the sign to be given. They are hopeful that the sign is NOT given. Then they will be justified. The believers are probably ‘sorrowful’ for a few things: 1) that the non-believers are not prepared to accept Christ into their life, 2) what the non-believers will do to the believers when the sign is not given on their timeline, 3) that little bit of doubt that sometimes creeps in when you’re at the end of your rope. God has said He won’t give me anything that I cannot handle. But sometimes I forget to tell Him that I can’t handle anymore. 🙂
Oh, that reminds me of one of my favorite analogies from the book “Believing Christ” by Stephen L. Richards. (best explanation of the Atonement I’ve ever read)
He talks about how our faith in Christ strengthens when we go through severe trials. He compares it to a weight-lifter building muscle. Muscle is strengthened by stretching it just beyond its limit so it is actually damaged. As it heals, it scars. The scar tissue is actually stronger than the surrounding tissue. The spotter stands near the weight-lifter telling him/her to ‘give me one more’ each time it looks like the lifter is going to give up. The spotter is there to catch the weight when the lifter finally cannot lift one more time and yells for the help. I love the imagery. I am sure that parents who lose children to death feel they are stretched beyond their limit. They struggle to understand. I pray for them; that they will feel the Savior’s arms around them as He encourages them to give one more day. To them I say: Don’t give up. You have other loved ones who need you here. Your children are safe in Jesus’ arms. They are pefect. You have a little more work to do. If you don’t know what that “work” is, look for it.