"I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that
the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall
prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he
them." 1 Nephi 3:7
This scripture can be found in the Book of Mormon, another testament of Jesus Christ. I've heard this scripture and studied the meaning behind this scripture many times over the course of my life. Yet something hit me especially hard today.
We were discussing obedience in Relief Society (Mormon Church organization for women 18 and over). In particular our teacher focused on why it is we tend to rationalize our way out of doing the things the Lord commands, especially in these latter days.
We have been blessed with a prophet to help guide and lead us. We have been blessed with apostles, quorums of seventy, stake presidents and leaders, bishops and local ward leaders. We have been granted so much in the way of leadership so that we might not be easily led astray. These men and women who lead us have been called of God, yet we too often groan and complain the moment we're reminded of what we should be doing. Instead we tend to focus on what how we think things should get done.
This is not the Lord's way. He knows so much more than you or I. He knows what needs to be done and how it should be done, and has placed specific men and women in positions to help us keep to the straight and narrow. But we have to make the choice to obey.
The Prophet Joseph Smith has taught:
If Enoch, Abraham, Moses, and the children of Israel, and all God's people
were saved by keeping the commandments of God, we, if saved at all, shall be
saved upon the same principle. As God governed Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as
families, and the children of Israel as a nation; so we, as a Church, must
be under His guidance if we are prospered, preserved and sustained. Our only
confidence can be in God; our only wisdom obtained from Him; and He alone
must be our protector and safeguard, spiritually and temporally, or we fall.
We have been chastened by the hand of God heretofore for not obeying His
commands...we have treated lightly His commands, and departed from His
ordinances, and the Lord has chastened us sore, and we have felt His arm and
kissed the rod; let us be wise in time to come and ever remember that "to
obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams" (1 Samuel 15:22).
This quote was taken from History of the Church, 5:65. Our discussion turned to the prophets of old. What would have happened if Abraham hadn't directly obeyed the Lord when it came to sacrificing his son? How would Isaac's life have been different if he'd married someone not of the Lord's Church? What would have happened to the children of Israel had Moses allowed his insecurities keep him from doing as the Lord commanded?
What of us? We have been told for years to put together a home and food storage. I'll raise my hand and say I wasn't one of the first to follow this warning. Of course at the time I was still a teenager living with my parents. Even when I left for a whole year of schooling, or came back home, or got married and moved into my own home, I still thought to myself, "It's all good. The Lord would never let me suffer, even if I think I need to buy other things more."
Years later and I'm kicking myself in the pants for not obeying. I could have learned how to garden, to can what we could not eat, to have found room in our little house that's long been filled up with clutter. I could have been so much more prepared, rather than frantically trying to put everything together when gas prices are making the cost of living more unbearable than ever before. To those who obeyed when the command was first sent out, I deeply respect your obeying nature.
For those, like me, who have to get hit on the head a few times over before the message sinks in, let's learn from our mistakes of the past. Let's do our best to become great men such as Abraham, Enoch, Adam, and Paul: to go and do what the Lord commands. It is time we recognize the truth of Nephi's words, place our faith in moving past our initial excuses, and come to the knowledge that whatever He asks, He will prepare a way for us to make it happen.