Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Where we stop, we don’t quite know

It’s been a while since I last posted; I was immersed in an 8-day seminary student-teaching experience and all my thought was going into preparing lessons.

I was reading these verses recently about the journey of the Jaredites to the promised land:
5 And it came to pass that the Lord commanded them that they should go forth into the wilderness, yea, into that quarter where there never had man been. And it came to pass that the Lord did go before them, and did talk with them as he stood in a cloud, and gave directions whither they should travel.
6 And it came to pass that they did travel in the wilderness, and did build barges, in which they did cross many waters, being directed continually by the hand of the Lord.
7 And the Lord would not suffer that they should stop beyond the sea in the wilderness, but he would that they should come forth even unto the land of promise, which was choice above all other lands, which the Lord God had preserved for a righteous people. (Ether 2:5-7)
I think it is interesting that the record says that the Jaredites crossed many waters, but had to keep going. The Lord wouldn’t let them stop there. If I were among the Jaredites, I probably would have wondered why we couldn’t settle after the first major crossing.

I find that there is a certain spiritual tendency to think that once we’ve changed our lives a little bit that that is our final destination. But the Lord doesn’t want us to stop there; He wants us to make it all the way back to live with Him. He prods us to keep going, keep growing, keep changing. When we join the church, we sign up for an adventure of positive transformation toward celestial glory and nothing less than that should satisfy us… at least not for long.

I know in my life when I’ve changed for the better, it takes me a while to become used to it. At the beginning when it is so new, I’m pretty exultant and feel excited and fulfilled. And it is hard to think of what new changes still need to happen. But when I become comfortable and used to those changes, then divine discontent hits and it is time to think about what else about me needs to change.

Here are some phrases I really like in these verses that indicate different types of revelation that help us change:
  • the Lord did go before them… This reminds me of the example Christ set for us, as revealed in the scriptures. He’s been through it all before. He knows what it is like. He knows how to help us through it.
  • and [the Lord] did talk with them as he stood in a cloud… This reminds me of what a privilege it is to communicate with the Lord through prayer. I’ve gotten better at this over the last month and I really like being able to share my feelings about things with the Lord.
  • and [the Lord] gave directions whither they should travel… This reminds me that when I am feeling directionless and confused, I can get direction from the Lord and be renewed in my sense of purpose.
  • [they were]directed continually by the hand of the Lord… This reminds me that not only can we get direction from the Lord, but He can intervene directly in our circumstances which show us He’s working with us. It is like an invisible hand has put things in motion, causing all things to work together for our good. (Just as I was writing about this, I got a little sample of it myself and I was able to recognize it! It made me feel loved.)
What experiences have you had when you’ve found the Lord is pushing you onward? Will you share an experience you’ve had when you’ve seen the Lord’s hand directing you?


Ramona Gordy said...

Amen Sister
Thank you for your post. I have been experiencing the continuing effects of the "mighty change of heart". My husband and I recently renewed our Temple recommend. It was our first 2 years and now we are embarking on another 2 years and for some reason my heart felt full of promise. In my interview with the Bishop, I felt inspired to not only to answer the questions he asked with yes or no,but I had a testimony of an experience pertaining to each question. One question stood out to me, concerning the sustaining of the General Authorities. My testimony of that question was not only did I sustain them,but during the last two years I have taken the opportunity to learn about these men and women of God, who have given their whole heart to this church. When I was asked concerning the Word of Wisdom, my heart was moved to learn more about this wonderful commandment and blessing. I felt that it was not enough to verify that I abstained from coffee and tea,etc,but I needed to know "Why" and then the blessings of obiedience would flow.I have experienced the closeness of the Holy Spirit, and when I am really lucky, I feel the sweet presence of the Savior. It is a wonderful feeling.
I once read a quote by Frederick Douglas, he said that there could be no change without revolution. I believe that;there has been a revolution in my soul,in my heart. Every day, it can be hard to let go of our "natural man" nature, and it is a fight for sure, but when we respond to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, softly and tenderly, we can make it.
I love the scripture you cited. I was in the Navy and had a chance to live aboard a ship for about a year, and one of the most frustrating things was to go out on deck every day and only see water. Sometimes we would come to a place, but only to refuel, not get off the boat. But finally,just when you had enough, we docked into a safe harbor, and everyone was happy to touch dry land. The Lord guides us to those safe harbors.
Thank you and God bless you abundantly.

Michaela Stephens said...

RGG, how wonderful that you were able to share a testimony that you had of each of those temple recommend questions! I'm sure that was a very joyous experience for you.
Continue that "revolution" of heart. I have my own "revolution" going too.

Thanks for sharing this with me.