A few days ago, at the end of a lesson in seminary, a young person came up to me and said, quietly, “I really, really needed today’s lesson…”
You just never know. I know my students pretty well and I still almost never know what they’re going through. I mean what they’re really going through. I suppose that for the most part, it isn’t my business to know. I pray for Heavenly Father to inspire me as I prepare and teach and to inspire the youth as they participate in the lesson. Only He really knows the hearts of the students, so He is in the perfect position to deliver the principles taught in the lesson to their hearts, perfectly packaged in a way that they will recognize as being a personal gift. I’m thankful for that.
I want to share the principles of that day’s lesson with you. Just in case. I mean, for the most part, I don’t know what one reader of this blog is going through. But He does…
There was a moment in the Book of Mormon where believers in Christ were going to be put to death for their faith (3 Nephi 1:1-9). Non-believers had chosen a date (randomly, I’d presume) and drawn a line in the sand. If the signs of Jesus’ birth didn’t come about by the date chosen, the believers would be killed (v. 9).
The believers had been watching for the signs of Christ’s coming, and they had been watching steadfastly according to the scriptural account (3 Nephi 1:8). But when the non-believers challenged the believers with death at a certain date, the test of watching steadfastly became much more serious. It is one thing to believe. It is another to believe with a consequence for believing in the wrong thing.
There is much to the story, both written and not recorded, I’m sure. But Jesus did come (3 Nephi 1:12-21). The believers’ faith was not in vain. The promises of the prophets were verified and their faith was rewarded. And this is how it goes when we’re considering the promises of God.
But what about those who gave up? We have no record that anyone gave up on Christ’s coming when they were threatened with death, but wouldn’t you think that at least someone’s faith ran out? That at least someone thought, “This is just too much. This is too high a price. This is costing me and my family too much…I can’t wait any longer…”? Don’t you think that at least someone crossed over, teary-eyed and exhausted, from the believers to the non-believers? If there were those, I wonder if some of the believers quietly followed them to their house to talk with them. I would bet that happened. And I would guess that their pleas went something like this:
“Please don’t leave now. We’re almost there. The signs of His birth are getting close. I know this is hard and I know you are frightened about what may happen to us. But the blessings are right around the corner, I can feel it! You can stand by us. You can stand with our family. Link arms with us and whatever consequences come, we will stand right next to you. You will not be alone in your faith! Christ will come before the others destroy us, but if not (Daniel 3:18), we will stand together as believers and you will not be alone…”
I don’t know if it worked. I don’t know if anyone’s faith was strengthened or restored. We just don’t have a record of that. But I can tell you one thing: If you are waiting patiently, steadfastly, immovably, and faithfully for a blessing that you so desperately need, don’t give up now. You are not alone. You can stand with me and my family and others who believe right along with you. There are a lot of us. Thousands. Millions. If there are consequences to your faith, so be it. You will not have to face those consequences alone. God will honor the promises He has made. Christ will come, and He will save us… The blessings are right around the corner…