May We Be Humble…
I hear on a regular basis that the Book of Mormon was written for our day. In passage after passage I see evidence of the truthfulness of that statement, but in our day, this very day, no passage is more obvious than one found in Alma 32. In this chapter we read of a people that were cast out of their synagogues, their places of worship, and their feelings not only of rejection but of an inability to worship God because they could not go inside of their places of worship. Does this sound familiar in this very hour?
While we may or may not feel specifically rejected at this time, it is true that a day has arrived when we have been locked out of our places of worship, unable to participate in our gathering as we have been so accustom for all our lives. It would be easy for us to come to a place of feeling that we cannot worship God as we wish, because our circumstances have changed so much, but in this feeling we would be wrong. We could become angry with government leaders over executive orders that keep us from gathering and partaking of sacred emblems, but in our anger we would be wrong. We could become discouraged and depressed because our lives are not what we thought they would be, but in our discouragement and depression we would again be wrong if we do not seek to overcome, to get through this trial. How do we get through this trial? How do we survive? What is it to survive?
In Alma 32:12-13 we read,
“I say unto you, it is well that ye are cast out of your synagogues, that ye may be humble, and that ye may learn wisdom; for it is necessary that ye should learn wisdom; for it is because that ye are cast out, that ye are despised of your brethren… that ye are brought to a lowliness of heart; for ye are necessarily brought to be humble. And now, because ye are compelled to be humble blessed are ye; for a man sometimes, if he is compelled to be humble, seeketh repentance; and now surely, whosoever repenteth shall find mercy; and he that findeth mercy and endureth to the end the same shall be saved.”
In light of the current circumstances in our lives, the current circumstances of the world and trials that beset us, are we not all feeling a little more despised, a little more compelled to be humble, perhaps than ever before?
It is good that we have been locked out of our places of worship that we might become humble and learn better to worship God wherever we may stand until that day that we can again be united with our brothers and sisters and have their strength with us. It is good that we can learn better to appreciate the things that we have, the blessings within our reach that come so easily, and not take for granted all those things that we have received, our houses of worship, the temples of our God, the Scriptures and lessons provided by the Church, and the kind, personal and unselfish service of local leaders.
It is indeed a time when we need to show appreciation for all of these things that have been given us by God, and we are now without, and do our very best with what we have remaining to worship in our homes and to serve however we may, planting and nourishing the seeds of the gospel in our souls, in fertile soils.
President Russell M. Nelson has taught that “in coming days, it will not be possible to survive spiritually without the guiding, directing, comforting, and constant influence of the Holy Ghost.” He has also taught, “Nothing opens the heavens quite like the combination of increased purity, exact obedience, earnest seeking, daily feasting on the words of Christ in the Book of Mormon, and regular time committed to temple and family history work.” While we cannot go to the temple right now, we can do everything else that President Nelson prescribed for opening the heavens, and therefore set the foundation for surviving spiritually through this crisis and through anything else that will come our way.
It is good that we are made humble no matter what the source of that humbling might be, if it will cause us to seek the Lord, for that is what we need to be about.
What is it to survive? It is coming out on the other side of the trial faithful and true to our Savior and our loved ones. It matters not if we live or die through the trial, what matters is that we are well with the Lord. While the leaves at the ends of our branches may be scorched by the burning sun of trial or affliction, our roots are strong and firmly implanted in sacred gospel soil, constantly nourished, constantly refreshed by eternal fountains of truth, giving us the strength for our trunks and branches to endure and spring forth with renewed life.
Let us follow the prescription of President Nelson and do those things which the Lord has shown us that we can do to be close to Him. Let us read the Book of Mormon daily and feast on the words of Christ. Let us be pure. Let us be exactly obedient. Let us earnestly seek. Let us regularly seek out our kindred dead and prepare their names for the great work of redemption. Let us, when we are permitted, return to the House of the Lord and participate in this great work of redeeming our dead, often. May we be humble, may we be true, may we survive spiritually by following our Savior, is my pleading prayer. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.