After all that we can do…

handsHow often do you feel like you are just not cutting it?  Have you ever felt like you are not doing enough, or not meeting the expectations of others?  Perhaps you feel a bit like Nephi from the Book of Helaman.  You’ll remember his story.  Nephi was the prophet that was found praying in his garden.  Judges and members of the secret band of Gadianton were angry with him and tried to persuade the people to seize Nephi and “bring him forth, that he may be condemned according to the crime which he has done”.  And what was his crime?  Telling the people of their wickedness, of course.

This same Nephi, had just returned from a miserable missionary trip to the Lamanites.  He was rejected, so much so that he gave up and returned to his home in Zarahemla.  It was at this time that he was found praying in his garden.  Talk about being kicked while he was down!  He returns to his home, among the Nephites, to be persecuted for his righteousness.  Nephi went on to prophesy about the murder of the Chief Judge.  When it was discovered that Nephi’s prophecy was true, the crowd dispersed and Nephi was left alone.

Can you imagine how Nephi must have felt?  Have you ever tried to do something, with all your energy, knowing that what you were doing was good and right, and then believe that your efforts were all for naught?  We experience this feeling every day!  When we review the day, the last week, or even the last year we often catch ourselves thinking, ‘It wasn’t worth it’, ‘I did all I could do but it wasn’t enough’, ‘I’ll never get it done the way it should get done’.  Have you ever thought, ‘Hey!  I am doing everything I am supposed to do.  I go to church, attend the temple, do my home/visiting teaching, pay my tithing, hold Family Home Evening, say my prayers, read my scriptures, magnify my church calling…where are the promised windows of heaven?!’  Nephi can sympathize a little bit with how we all feel at times.

But what did Nephi do?  After the crowed left and he was all alone, he started towards his house, probably to go make dinner or get ready for a church meeting.  He was probably thinking of all the demands on his plate that he needed to take care of.  As he moved toward his house, a voice came to him and said ‘Blessed art thou’.  Blessed art thou, not because you succeeded, not because you are the best at what you are doing, but ‘Blessed art thou {because you tried} with unwearyingness to keep my commandments’.  The voice then commanded Nephi to go and do more of the same.  Helaman 10:12 states that Nephi “did stop and did not go unto his own house, but did return…and began to declare the word of the Lord”.  Nephi did not even go home.  He lifted his chin, looked forward with faith, and carried on!  Nephi’s efforts finally paid off!  Helaman 11:21 says that because of Nephi’s efforts, ‘the church did spread throughout the face of all the land: and the more part of the people did belong to the church; and they did have exceedingly great peace in the land.”

How can we be more like Nehpi?  When we feel these all-to-common doubts, frustrations, and inadequacies, we can stand a little taller, do an attitude about face, and carry on.  The Lord’s promise is real, “I the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when you do not what I say, ye have no promise.”  Unfortunately, the promise does not include a time frame.  However, the Lord will eventually deliver as promised.

Tom Pettit

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