Alma 15 – Take Courage

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After all the lawyers and judges are killed in an earthquake as they taunt and torture Alma and Amulek in prison, the two missionaries walk out miraculously unscathed and unscratched. Others who witness it, don’t believe still, but tell them to get out of their land.

They depart out of Ammonihah and go to Sidom, where they find all the rest of the people who had been cast out and stoned. Zeezrom is with this group, “with a burning fever, which was caused by the great tribulations of his mind on account of his wickedness…” (3)

Alma and Amulek have to relate horrible news of these men’s wives and children being burned. Can you imagine how awful that would have been?

Zeezrom has been worried that his actions caused Alma and Amulek’s deaths, and his sins “did harrow up his mind until it did become exceedingly sore, having no deliverance; therefore he began to be scorched with a burning heat.” (3)

When he hears that they are in Sidom, “his heart began to take courage…” (4)

Taking courage seems to be a turning point for him. He has despaired in his sins, but now takes courage to hope for something better. Zeezrom begs them to heal him. Courage has moved him to repentance and faith in a power greater than him.

Alma takes him by the hand and asks, “Believest thou in the power of Christ unto salvation?” (6)

This is the power Zeezrom must have faith in for his courage to be put into action. He says he believes everything they have taught.

Alma says, “If thou believest in the redemption of Christ thou canst be healed.” (8) Alma prays to God to deliver Zeezrom not only from physical ailment, but from his sins (which is the greater miracle).

And when Alma had said these words, Zeezrom leaped upon his feet, and began to walk.

Alma 15:11

By taking courage to believe in Jesus Christ, Zeezrom was healed both physically and spiritually. This transformation, that only Christ can grant us, made him leap to his feet.

Do I take courage in Jesus Christ to have the faith to leap to my feet and do as He asks?

The people are astonished at this miracle. Zeezrom is baptized “and he began from that time forth to preach unto the people.” (12)

This was a Paul-like miracle. He who once persecuted the gospel of Christ is now preaching it with all his energy. This is the fruit of repentance…yearning to share the glorious message of the gospel to save others.

I love the story of Alma, Amulek, and Zeezrom. All three of these men weren’t your normal ‘saints’ in the beginning.

Alma had persecuted the church, going about doing gross wickedness, yet when he repented, God changed him into a new man. A saint.

Amulek, too, had been called many times, but would not hear. But when he finally became converted, he was changed as well to be able to have courage to preach to his city and then endure having his family and friends all turn on him and cast him out. He gave up all of his worldly wealth and influence for Christ.

Now, we see that Zeezrom, one of the foremost enemies of Alma and Amulek in the beginning, a lawyer who set about to trip them up in their words so he could accuse him to the chief judge, was pricked in his heart by truth. He ends up standing up for the two men he ridiculed at first, and he is cast out of the city as well.

All three of these men show that God is powerful enough to transform even the vilest of sinners into a saint. We should never place limits on Christ’s redeeming power by judging others as lost or too far gone in the path of sin.

The church grows in Sidom, but in Ammonihah, the people are still stiff-necked and hard-hearted (a spiritually lethal combination). They ascribe the miracles Alma and Amulek performed to the power of the devil, proving that miracles alone do not convert people to Christ.

Amulek, in choosing to follow God, gave up all his material possessions and left them in the land of Ammonihah. He has been “rejected by those who were once his friends and also by his father and his kindred.” (16) He feels depressed and alone.

This is how many new converts must feel when they enter the waters of baptism and covenant to leave their old life behind. Their friends and family might reject them. Alma shows how we should treat new converts, especially those suffering, like Amulek is here.

Alma…took Amulek and came over to the land of Zarahemla (home), and took him to his own house, and did administer unto him in his tribulations, and strengthened him in the Lord.”

Alma 15:18

How can I minister to others who are depressed in spirit or mind?

Alma ministered to him in his tribulation. He didn’t wait until Amulek felt better to go over and talk with him. Sometimes, it’s easy to want to wait to reach out to others. Maybe we don’t know what to say or are afraid we’ll make them sadder or offended.

If we are listening for the promptings of the Spirit, we will take courage and leap to action to strengthen others in the Lord.

Open up

Alma took Amulek into his own house, treating him as one of his own family. We can do the same to those who are downhearted. We can welcome them into our homes and our hearts. Open up to others. Be genuine. That is usually what tears down walls faster than any other thing.

Acceptance

Alma accepted Amulek as he was. He didn’t try to dismiss his loss or the emotions he was probably overwhelmed by. He loved him as a brother and accepted that Amulek had gone through hard, terrible things. He listened to those troubles, instead of quieting him, because it made him uncomfortable.

Meet Physical Needs

By taking Amulek into his own house, Alma ensured that his physical needs were met first. When someone is depressed or in despair, they can forget to nourish their bodies with sleep, food, exercise. We need to make sure the body is getting what it needs before we can focus on the spiritual side.

Mourn with those that Mourn

Amulek probably sorrowed over the loss of his family. And Alma sorrowed with him. They leaned on each other in grief, and were therefore able to stand tall with each other in healing. Sometimes we just need to vent to someone else. There is power in mourning with each other, a strength that comes from that act to enable us to keep enduring.

Love, with all that it entails, is the best medicine to lift and empower others who are struggling. So, take courage and leap into action today to be an Alma, one who nourishes and strengthens those who are depressed in spirit, desperate in body or mind, or struggling in some manner.  

If there is anything virtuous, lovely or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these comments.

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