Friday, January 16, 2009

...but they did humble themselves exceedingly before him.

This morning as I was deciding where to read in the Book of Mormon, I opened up to Alma 62 which is at the end of the account of the wars between the Nephites and the Lamanites. Toward the end of the chapter, Captain Moroni retires, Pahoran returns to the judgment seat, and Helaman and his brethren, “went forth, and did declare the word of God with much power unto the convincing of many people of their wickedness, which did cause them to repent of their sins and to be baptized unto the Lord their God” (v. 45).

The part on which I wish to focus, however, is a few verses later when Mormon describes the attitude and actions of the people:

48 And the people of Nephi began to prosper again in the land, and began to multiply and to wax exceedingly strong again in the land. And they began to grow exceedingly rich.
49 But notwithstanding their riches, or their strength, or their prosperity, they were not lifted up in the pride of their eyes; neither were they slow to remember the Lord their God; but they did humble themselves exceedingly before him.

The key to these verses is that the people humbled themselves, they did not have to be humbled by the Lord.

Oftentimes, and especially when we prosper and are richly blessed with the things of this world, we react in the opposite manner than did the people of Nephi. Most often, when things are going well for us, we forget to pray and we forget to thank the Lord for the immense blessings that we have. Only in times of trial and affliction do we realize that we require the Lord’s help and remember to pray to Him who gave us life and everything we have. I suggest reading Helaman 12; I have written, “secret of success” next to verse one of that chapter.

Of course, this is not the case with all people, or even with us all the time; we have the ability to humble ourselves and be grateful and acknowledge God’s hand in all things in good times as well as in bad. We need to be mindful always of Him who is mighty to save. As we continue to read in Alma 62, we learn how the people of Nephi were able to humble themselves in the midst of such great blessings:

50 Yea, they did remember how great things the Lord had done for them, that he had delivered them from death, and from bonds, and from prisons, and from all manner of afflictions, and he had delivered them out of the hands of their enemies.

One of the keys to the success of the people of Nephi in their quest to remain humble was that they remembered their trials, their tribulations, and their hard times. They remembered when life wasn’t as great and they remembered that it was the Lord who stood by them, lifted them up, and, in the end, delivered them. He did not necessarily take their trials from them prematurely, our Father in Heaven loves us too much to relieve all pain and suffering immediately, but He did support them as they turned to Him, He did teach them, and He did bless them with peace, comfort, and love.

As it is with us, one of our greatest challenges in this life is to stick with the Lord at all times, whether they be good or bad. This last verse shows us how we may face this challenge and come off conqueror:

51 And they did pray unto the Lord their God continually, insomuch that the Lord did bless them, according to his word, so that they did wax strong and prosper in the land.
And they did pray unto the Lord their God continually. They prayed continually, never ceasing, and thus they always remembered Him.

The Lord loves us, He wants us to be happy, but He does not give us everything we desire all the time. We must show Him that we love Him by always remembering Him both in times of trial and in times of prosperity. He will stand by us, He will lift us up, but we must reach out to Him; He reaches our reaching. God is our Father in Heaven, his son Jesus is the Christ through whom all wrongs are made right and they love us. Remember Them, pray, be happy.