How does the story of a young man building a ship relate to being a widow?
The scriptures have an amazing ability to answer the questions that
I have about my life and to give me direction.
A story that I have read a thousand times can speak to me differently if…
I approach it in prayer,
with a question in mind,
and with paper and pencil to write down the thoughts that come while I read.
This morning I was reviewing my scripture study notes from January 13, 2013. I read in the Book of Mormon about the young man, Nephi, being directed to build a ship to aid his family in crossing the Atlantic ocean to the promise land.
I wanted to share what I learned from this story only two months after my husband died…
I was troubled by this immense burden.
I felt overwhelmed at the task at hand.
I wanted to know all of the answers of where my life was headed now.
These were the things that weighed on my mind as
I sat down to study this morning and
these are the answers that came.
Below the lessons I learned I am including the chapter as reference, especially for my readers who are unfamiliar with the Book of Mormon. My thoughts are in parenthesis and italics. I encourage you to read the account in conjunction with my notes. My hope is that you will be able to see how studying the scriptures in this way can open up the windows of heaven to you.
1. Through this scripture story the Lord was trying to teach me…
- If I would have faith in him and keep the commandments that he would help me get through this.
- Even though I didn’t feel equipped to handle this, He would provide me with extra strength and abilities.
- He was not going to just remove it for me, but He would help me.
- When we don’t have the ability to do something and yet after turning to Him we find miraculously to do what we thought was impossible, then our faith in Him is strengthened.
- We learn things we could not learn except in the midst of a trial.
2. I was reminded that the Lord had been preparing me to face this trial.
- As that thought entered my mind, I began to look for and then see those experiences that had prepared me. Those thoughts have continued to come as tender mercies over the months since then. Each piece further testifies to me that the Lord is so mindful of me individually.
- But if I had not specifically looked for and asked to notice those things, I would have glossed over their importance and the lessons the Lord had to teach me from them.
3. The Lord was not going to tell me what to do right away or all at once.
- He teaches us one thing at a time, giving us time to digest and implement that knowledge into our lives.
- I had to be willing to act on the knowledge I received and I had to do it right away.
- If I was not diligent in my actions I found that the lines of communication halted.
- In order to receive more instruction I had to prove trustworthy with prior direction.
4. I needed to stop complaining. I needed a can do attitude.
5. The Lord can be a light ahead of me if I will look to Him through prayer, the scriptures, and the words of his holy prophets.
I am grateful for the scriptures and the things that Lord daily teaches me through them. They give me hope, strength and courage to face the vicissitudes of life.
EXAMPLE: SCRIPTURE REFERENCE AND MY NOTES
Nephi is commanded to build a ship—His brethren oppose him—He exhorts them by recounting the history of God’s dealings with Israel—Nephi is filled with the power of God—His brethren are forbidden to touch him, lest they wither as a dried reed. About 592–591 B.C.
1 And it came to pass that we did again take our journey in the wilderness; and we did travel nearly eastward from that timeforth. And we did travel and awade through much affliction in thewilderness; and our bwomen did bear children in the wilderness.
2 And so great were the ablessings of the Lord upon us, thatwhile we did live upon braw cmeat in the wilderness, our women did give plenty of suck for their children, and were strong, yea, even like unto the men; and they began to bear their journeyings without murmurings.
3 And thus we see that the commandments of God must be fulfilled. And if it so be that the children of men keep the commandments of God he doth nourish them, and astrengthenthem, and provide means whereby they can accomplish the thing which he has commanded them; wherefore, he did bprovide means for us while we did sojourn in the wilderness.
(If we have faith and keep the commandment we will be given strength beyond our own to deal with trials- God doesn’t remove them, but he helps us get through them.)
4 And we did sojourn for the space of many years, yea, even eight years in the wilderness.
5 And we did come to the land which we called aBountiful,because of its much fruit and also wild honey; and all these things were prepared of the Lord that we might not perish. And we beheld the sea, which we called Irreantum, which, being interpreted, is many waters.
(In difficult times The Lord prepares help for us so we don’t perish. He wants us to be happy and have joy. He wants to comfort us. We have to look for those small but tender mercies he gives us and recognize and acknowledge them.)
6 And it came to pass that we did pitch our tents by the seashore;and notwithstanding we had suffered many aafflictions and muchdifficulty, yea, even so much that we cannot write them all, wewere exceedingly rejoiced when we came to the seashore; and wecalled the place Bountiful, because of its much fruit.
7 And it came to pass that after I, Nephi, had been in the land ofBountiful for the space of many days, the voice of the Lord cameunto me, saying: aArise, and get thee into the mountain. And itcame to pass that I arose and went up into the mountain, andcried unto the Lord.
(The Lord didn’t tell Nephi everything to do at first. He asked him to do one simple thing. Because Nephi obeyed more revelation was forthcoming. The extent that the spirit will teach us depends on our willingness to act on the small And simple promptings.)
8 And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto me, saying: Thou shalt aconstruct a ship, after the bmanner which I shall show thee,that I may carry thy people across these waters.
9 And I said: Lord, whither shall I go that I may find ore tomolten, that I may make atools to construct the ship after the manner which thou hast shown unto me?
(Notice Nephi doesn’t complain to The Lord, “How am I going to do that? I’ve never done that before.” He has a can do attitude.)
10 And it came to pass that the Lord told me whither I should goto find ore, that I might make tools.
11 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did make a bellowswherewith to ablow the fire, of the skins of beasts; and after I had made a bellows, that I might have wherewith to blow the fire, I did smite two stones together that I might make fire.
12 For the Lord had not hitherto suffered that we should make much fire, as we journeyed in the wilderness; for he said: I willmake thy food become sweet, that ye acook it not;
13 And I will also be your alight in the wilderness; and I willprepare the way before you, if it so be that ye shall keep my commandments; wherefore, inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall be led towards the bpromised land; and ye shall cknow that it is by me that ye are led.
(This is a type for all of our lives. If we will let him, The Lord can be the light and lead each of us through the wilderness if life here to the promise of eternal life.)
14 Yea, and the Lord said also that: After ye have arrived in the promised land, ye shall aknow that I, the Lord, am bGod; and thatI, the Lord, did cdeliver you from destruction; yea, that I did bring you out of the land of Jerusalem.
15 Wherefore, I, Nephi, did strive to keep the acommandments ofthe Lord, and I did bexhort my brethren to faithfulness and diligence.