One of the greatest miracles of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ happened long before Joseph Smith received his vision of the Father and the Son in the Sacred Grove.
Joseph Smith’s third great-grandfather settled in Topsfield, Massachusetts in the year 1638. Five generations of the Smith family would live in Topsfield until Asael Smith, Joseph Smith Jr’s grandfather, moved his wife and children to Tunbridge, VT in search of inexpensive land. A man by the name of Stephen Mack lived in Tunbridge and became friends with Joseph Smith, Sr. Stephen’s younger sister, Lucy, came to visit one summer and it didn’t take long for Joseph Sr. and Lucy to fall in love and marry. Unable to farm the tough soil, they entered into a venture selling ginseng to China. The Smith’s business partner was a crook and left them with nothing but a $1,800 debt. The Smith’s moved to Sharon, VT and rented a piece of land to farm. It was in Sharon that their son Joseph Smith, Jr. was born. In hopes of securing their own farm, the Smith’s moved to Lebanon, New Hampshire. The typhoid fever swept through the community which almost took Joseph’s sister Sophronia’s life, and caused an infection in Joseph’s leg. The land was not good enough to farm, so the Smith’s moved back to Vermont. The next three years produced nothing but failed crops. In the year 1816, a volcano half a world away in Indonesia, released so much ash into the atmosphere that the weather patterns in New England were altered and the crops froze several times during that summer. Just then, word was spreading about inexpensive land out west. The Smith’s decided to attempt another farm. The road to the West went right through a little town called Palmyra, New York. The Smith’s settled down in Palmyra.
In the year 421, the Lord directed Moroni to bury the plates in a hill called Cumorah. 1,395 years later, the Smith family would settle within one and a half miles of Cumorah.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing. When we look into our past, it is easy to see how our loving Heavenly Father was with us during our trials, guiding us toward greater gifts and blessing then we ever dreamed of praying for. Most of the time, it is nearly impossible to see the hand of the Lord through our daily struggles and heartaches. Yet the Savior has promised, “knock and it shall be opened”, “seek and ye shall find”, “ask and it shall be given unto you”. It is through our trials that we must trust in these sacred promises, hoping that one day soon the blessing of hindsight will be ours and we will be able to then see how the Lord guided us toward great happiness and joy.
The Smiths were good people that loved the Lord and taught their children to do the same. They moved forward through continued disappointment with nothing but trust in the Lord and hope for a better tomorrow. If just one of the many trials they faced had turned out the way they hoped and prayed for, they never would have made it to Palmyra. They never would have been within walking distance of the hill Cumorah where Joseph Smith, the prophet of the Restoration, was given the plates to translate into the Book of Mormon.
God does live. He loves us. He is watching over us and answering each and every one of our prayers, in his time which is always the right time. If you are waiting for a prayer to be answered, keep holding on! Don’t give up on the Lord. He has promised his blessings and He will always make good on that promise. The blessing will come. He has promised, “Be still and know that I am God.”
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