Thursday, August 28, 2008

Varying reactions to angelic reassurance

If anybody is wondering why I have been posting less, I have been getting ready for and have started school again. I probably won’t have the time to write at length, but I hope to at least post a short thought or two every day.

In my scripture reading I’ve started the Book of Mormon over again and today I was struck by the contrast of attitudes between Laman (and Lemuel) and Nephi after they had all just seen an angel telling them the Lord would deliver Laban into their hands so that they could get the brass plates.

Here’s the reaction of Laman and Lemuel:
And after the angel had departed, Laman and Lemuel again began to murmur, saying: How is it possible that the Lord will deliver Laban into our hands? Behold, he is a mighty man, and he can command fifty, yea, even he can slay fifty; then why not us? (I Nephi 3:31)
Here is the reaction of Nephi:
1 And it came to pass that I spake unto my brethren, saying: Let us go up again unto Jerusalem, and let us be faithful in keeping the commandments of the Lord; for behold he is mightier than all the earth, then why not mightier than Laban and his fifty, yea, or even than his tens of thousands?
2 Therefore let us go up; let us be strong like unto Moses; for he truly spake unto the waters of the Red Sea and they divided hither and thither, and our fathers came through, out of captivity, on dry ground, and the armies of Pharaoh did follow and were drowned in the waters of the Red Sea.
3 Now behold ye know that this is true; and ye also know that an angel hath spoken unto you; wherefore can ye doubt? Let us go up; the Lord is able to deliver us, even as our fathers, and to destroy Laban, even as the Egyptians. (1 Nephi 4:1-3)
I notice Laman and Lemuel were asking “how is it possible?” and were focused on the problems that stood in their way, while Nephi drew strength from his knowledge in the power of God and the story of the Israelites being saved from the Egyptians.

There are many times that I am more like Laman and Lemuel than Nephi. When I’m promised that the Lord will do something amazing, too often I ask, “how is that possible?!” and I focus too much on the obstacles in my way, rather than reminding myself that the Lord is mightier than the whole world and drawing strength from scriptural accounts that demonstrate that.

We are told the Lord will help us. How then can we doubt?