In the beginning of the Book of Mormon, 1 Nephi chapter 3, Lehi tells his son Nephi of a dream he had where the Lord commanded that him and his brothers go back to Laban’s (in Jerusalem) and “seek the records.”
This scene made me stop and think. God didn’t give them the whole picture, or pave the way for them to heed His command. He didn’t tell Nephi and his brothers every step they needed to take to obtain the plates. He gave them just enough information to get started on their journey.
- They were to return to Jerusalem, to Laban’s house.
- They needed to obtain the records there.
With those two bits of information from God, Nephi returned through the wilderness (about 200 miles) without knowing HOW to get those plates.
This is how Heavenly Father helps us stretch and grow. He gives us just enough information to get us started, and then we must rely on His spirit and our own ingenuity to figure out how to accomplish His commands.
Laman and Lemuel murmured and said this was too hard…and it was. Jerusalem was 200 miles away. They’d just left and traveled weeks to get where they were. And now their dad wanted to send them back.
But Nephi, in verse 7, answers: “I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.”
Though the Lord gives us just a little direction…it is enough. With the faith of Nephi, we don’t have to worry about failing. We just go and do. God will make up where we fall short.
Once Nephi and his brothers returned to Jerusalem, they met with lots of challenges. Laban, who had the plates God wanted them to get, wouldn’t turn them over. He even went so far as to accuse them of being robbers and sent his guards after them to kill them. They barely escaped with their lives, and his brothers wanted to give up and turn back.
Do we ever do this in life?
When the going gets tough, do we want to turn back to our lazy, slothful, or sinful ways instead of pressing up the path God wants us to take?
Do we ever doubt spiritual promptings when life throws challenges our way as we try to heed God’s will?
If we do, that’s the natural man reaction. We’ve probably all done it once, twice, or too many times to count.
But Nephi didn’t give up, and I think this scene was put in the Book of Mormon to help remind us to be faithful when things don’t go as planned. Nephi refused to turn tail and run. I draw strength from his words:
“As the Lord liveth, and as we live, we will not go down unto our father in the wilderness until we have accomplished the thing which the Lord hath commanded us.”
Let us be faithful like Nephi. Let us build our faith so that even when hard times knock us down again and again and again, we keep getting up with a new plan as we seek God’s direction to help us accomplish the thing which God has asked us to do. God will help us grow and become more like Him as we do this. I know that with all my heart.