Trusting God When I Am Beaten, Starving, Naked, And Imprisoned In The Dark – Could I?

This is my church building. The other day I saw a big crane there and a guy suspended high up in a basket, dismantling the steeple. It was a strange feeling to see that. I think we will be getting a new, white steeple soon. Time will tell.

Some days when I read the scriptures I get so overwhelmed with different insights that it’s hard for me to blog about it. How do I cut out just a few verses to comment on. The Bible and the Book of Mormon aren’t meant to only be read as collections of individual verses or even chapters. There is great stuff to be found when reading that way, certainly, but they are also meant to be read and considered as a powerful and collective whole. A whole message from God, through His prophets, to us, His children, whom He loves.

Frankly this is a big reason I don’t blog every day – some days I feel so flooded with thoughts I just can’t get it all down on the page. The idea of even trying is overwhelming. Other days it’s what you might expect – I’m too tired or braindead to come up with anything worth writing, let alone anyone else reading.

Anyway, today was a “flood” day, and there is no way for me to keep up with all my thoughts. Nevertheless, I’m writing anyway. I’ll be in the Holy Lands in a month and I know that I won’t be able to share all my thoughts about our experiences there, but I do intend to at least give a daily snapshot of what I learn. This is my way of training for it.

I’ve written a little about what it can be like to try and fill a role at church or in other aspects of life and the feelings of fear or inadequacy that can sometimes paralyze us. Ammon and his brothers and friends probably knew better than anyone what that kind of fear felt like. They went on a mission to teach the gospel to people who were the enemies of their people. They were beaten, bitten, spit on, starved, and stoned, but they still served with love. And in the end it was that love – that charity, the pure love of God – that prevailed and brought a nation into a covenant relationship with God.

I marvel that they never said, “Screw you, God. We’re here trying to do Your work. We are serving You with all our heart, might, and minds, and this is the help we get? Prison, God? Really? How can a loving God allow this to happen to His faithful servants? Let’s just go back home and be the princes we were born to be.”

They just doubled down in prayer, stepped up in love, and tried again. And in the end (14 years later), they saw results of a magnitude greater than I can even imagine – thousands and thousands of people converted to Christ. How did they endure when their world was at its darkest?

I know the answer in theory, but I wonder if I’d be stalwart enough to be as faithful when the punches were landing on my face?

27 Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success. 28 And now behold, we have come, and been forth amongst them; and we have been patient in our sufferings, and we have suffered every privation; yea, we have traveled from house to house, relying upon the mercies of the world—not upon the mercies of the world alone but upon the mercies of God. Alma 26:27–28

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