Continuing lessons in trust: The journey is the means but not the end
Some may wonder what has happened to our family since I wrote about learning to trust in the Lord when prompted to make a move to France, not knowing beforehand how any of it was going to work out but willingly moving forward.
We have crossed our own ocean, leaving the shore behind, and seen the Lord guide our every step. The waters have been anything but smooth sailing in many respects, but somehow a path not visible to our eyes seems to have opened up and, one step at a time, we are slowly moving out of complete darkness to a place in which we are starting to see some light.
In this process, I have reflected on Lehi's and Nephi's experiences many times, clinging to their examples. Like many others, I have often read the account of Lehi’s dream, his family's departure to follow the Lord's commandments and the life this created for Nephi and his brothers. These experiences became a means to define their testimonies or, perhaps, for Laman and Lemuel, thanks to their own free will and choices, were a missed opportunity to come closer to the Lord.
We often jokingly say that perhaps these early chapters are the most-read pages of the Book of Mormon because so many start reading and never finish until prompted again, and then start all over. I experienced this quite a few times in my youth until a particular experience with the Book of Mormon in my late teenage years that helped define and shape my testimony for the rest of my life.
Could there be a reason these are the first chapters in the Book of Mormon? I believe so. What if these first chapters actually contain some of the greatest lessons we are to learn on this earth?
Nephi learned early on what trusting in the Lord truly means, which had to happen in order for him to become an instrument in the hands of the Lord to achieve a purpose that could not be accomplished any other way.
"Trust" gives the sense of an ongoing thing. One cannot give his or her trust once, then start seeing the hand of the Lord and be done with it.
Nephi trusted in the Lord when his family was asked to find a promised land. Once on the journey, while his family was blessed and sustained after making that step, many other times came when Nephi had to do things that would require continued trust.
Consider having to go back after weeks of traveling to get plates from someone who could potentially kill you and trust that a way would be provided, or breaking a bow that’s all you have to feed your family and having to rely on the Lord to survive.
Or imagine arriving to the land Bountiful, finally finding a beautiful place of plenty after years of traveling, and then being asked to continue the journey. To top it off, this part of the journey would require a boat. For us, it would be like being asked to build a space shuttle. Overwhelming, isn’t it? But through obedience and continuous trust, we get to witness a tremendous demonstration of love, miracles and nurturing, leading to blessings beyond imagining.
Isn’t trusting in the Lord a characteristic that is at the core of finding true happiness in this life and preparing ourselves to return to our Father’s presence? We may often become discouraged because things don’t seem to work out the way we thought they would or because we have not been blessed with certain things, even though we feel we have shown the Lord that we trust him.
Even more interestingly, we embark on paths we never would have chosen ourselves without any idea why and how we might continue. This constant trial of our faith becomes an opportunity to strengthen our testimonies and to truly develop trust that eradicates any doubt.
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