I have never been one of those people who needs to know exactly where my life is going. Most of the time I just take what comes and try to make the best of the situation.
It’s not that I don’t have goals but I believe life can be good in a variety of ways so why worry about which one happens. As long as the family is happy and we have enough to eat and a place to live, then the other parts of life will sort themselves out.
I have made a better effort to listen to the promptings of the Spirit so I can know what Heavenly Father wants but in many cases it seems He feels much as I do about too many specifics.
The other day I was preparing a lesson for class on the experience Nephi had after he and his family arrived in the land Bountiful (1 Nephi 17). They had been marching through the wilderness of Arabia for eight years and had finally come to a place that showed some promise for the future. There was plenty of food, water and other resources and it appears the environment was very hospitable. I’m sure many (Laman and Lemuel especially) felt that this was the end of their journey – The Promised Land.
But “after the space of many days” Nephi was called by the Lord to disrupt the quiet, idyllic life that many had surely come to enjoy.
And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto me, saying; Thou shalt construct a ship, after the manner which I shall show thee, that I may carry thy people across these waters. (1 Nephi 17:8)
Whenever I read scripture, I try to put myself in the place of those in the story so I can imagine my thoughts as Nephi:
What!!! Hey, we just got here. This is a nice place and we have lots of food and great weather and life is grand. Why can’t we just stay? The past eight years have been difficult, and you know my brothers are gonna be upset if we have to move again. Are you sure we need to do this? Besides, I know nothing about making ships. I’m from Jerusalem and have no experience with ocean voyages, storms on the sea or anything of that sort. Can’t we just stay put for a while?
And so forth!
But Nephi isn’t me. So his response was totally different and actually more in line with what I hope I have done in my life.
And I said: Lord, whither shall I go that I may find ore to molten, that I may make tools to construct the ship after the manner which thou hast shown unto me?
The concern wasn’t that there was to be a big change in life. It wasn’t that he had no experience with boat building. Nor was he worried that his brothers would rebel (that was just the way they were).
He was interested in where he could find rocks that had ore that could be made into metal for hammers and axes and such stuff so they could build a ship. NO PROBLEM that he didn’t know anything about ships or other sailing stuff!!! Nephi just wanted to do what the Lord asked him to do.
Nephi was confident that God could show him how to build a ship – without actually knowing many of the skills necessary for such a job. He was willing to do what he knew to do and then expected the Lord to show him the rest.
That is faith. That is trust.
That is what life should always be. Experiences in mortality are to prepare us for the life of eternity. Who knows all we will be called upon to do when we are resurrected? It won’t be all harps, singing and riding on clouds – God has much more important work for our eternal souls (D&C 88:15) to complete. The best way to prepare is to listen NOW so when we get there it is a habit. Then we will listen and DO what He has for us to do.
The still, small voice of the Holy Ghost is the guide we have to find Father’s will. Our sensitivity to His voice greatly enhances our ability to do His will. And…
If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God or whether I speak of myself. (John 7:17)
|The finished product|
For a modern day example of this same attitude/faithfulness, take a gander at a story over on another site. This little girl is pretty special to me and she exhibits exactly what Nephi taught in his ‘boat-building’ adventure. In fact, I printed the story out for my students so they could see an example from real life.