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Highlights for Mormon 7-9
These 3 powerhouse chapters written by both Mormon and Moroni, form a laser-guided, compelling directive meant especially for 2020. Both of them saw us and took turns pleading with us to take the Book of Mormon seriously and straighten out our lives. They had already endured social chaos similar to ours and watched their own people become extinct. Perhaps they lived through such difficult, grueling trials by fire – so they could warn us in the most effective voice possible? By revelation, they witnessed what issues we would have in our day and offer specific counsel and warning.
Time Travel (kind of)
Behold, I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing. (Mormon 8:36)
This verse gives me pause every single time I read it. In fact, sometimes I actually look up from reading and look around. I can just feel Moroni saying those words in real-time. It has me wondering…just WHAT did he see about us? I hope it was one of my better days!
Of course, several important messages fill those chapters in Mormon 7-9. However, what Moroni said about miracles especially caught my attention:
18 And who shall say that Jesus Christ did not do many mighty miracles? And there were many mighty miracles wrought by the hands of the apostles.
19 And if there were miracles wrought then, why has God ceased to be a God of miracles and yet be an unchangeable Being? And behold, I say unto you he changeth not; if so he would cease to be God; and he ceaseth not to be God, and is a God of miracles.
20 And the reason why he ceaseth to do miracles among the children of men is because that they dwindle in unbelief, and depart from the right way, and know not the God in whom they should trust. (Mormon 9:18-20)
A good friend and a former bishop of mine recently wrote an interesting perspective on my Facebook page about the lack of miracles in our time.
I think that miracles and blessings dry up during times of wickedness, because a person choosing to be unlawful no longer has the desire or faith to ask for blessings that are there to be had if we would ask and exercise faith. The powers and blessings of heaven are there. It’s like the saying about leading a horse to water. The Lord can’t make us drink, it would break the mandate of agency. He sorrows deeply when he sees his children pass by the life saving “water”. The knowledge of what is in the cup has been given, but rejected. The Savior and the saints are even there to help raise the cup to parched lips, but there must be consent and acceptance. May we always seek righteousness and avail ourselves to the blessings and miracles the Lord desires us to have. ~Tom Howell
To go along with Tom’s quote, Brigham Young said something similar back in his time. He said, as Saints, “…we live far beneath our priveleges.” I believe that is true in our day too.
The Refiner’s Fire Vs. Miracles
But what about the flip side of the coin. What if you have complete obedience and faith but the requested relief doesn’t come? We have two realities about miracles which might seem to conflict. We have miracles which don’t happen because we didn’t faithfully knock or ask; and we also have miracles which don’t happen even when we do seek them in faith. Mormon and Moroni obviously did not get the divine aid they hoped, for their people and society. They were at war or hunted down most of their lives. How could they believe so strongly in miracles?
Last General Conference, Elder Holland made a wonderful point about miracles that happen and miracles that don’t:
“Yes, God can provide miracles instantaneously, but sooner or later we learn that the times and seasons of our mortal journey are His and His alone to direct.” He administers that calendar to every one of us individually. For every infirm man healed instantly as he waits to enter the Pool of Bethesda, someone else will spend 40 years in the desert waiting to enter the promised land. For every Nephi and Lehi divinely protected by an encircling flame of fire for their faith, we have an Abinadi burned at a stake of flaming fire for his. And we remember that the same Elijah who in an instant called down fire from heaven to bear witness against the priests of Baal is the same Elijah who endured a period when there was no rain for years and who, for a time, was fed only by the skimpy sustenance that could be carried in a raven’s claw. By my estimation, that can’t have been anything we would call a “happy meal.”
The point? The point is that faith means trusting God in good times and bad, even if that includes some suffering until we see His arm revealed in our behalf. That can be difficult in our modern world when many have come to believe that the highest good in life is to avoid all suffering, that no one should ever anguish over anything. But that belief will never lead us to “the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” (Elder Holland – Oct 2020)
Elder Holland gives us an insightful reference to how our paths are watched, and guided individually. In other words, another person’s blessing isn’t necessarily the one we should have for ourselves. Likewise, we may not pass through another person’s hard trial for the same reason. All Three of the members of the Godhead know every hair on our heads. The most hopeful, optimal balance of tender mercies and refiner’s fires are on the calendar for each of us. In turn, we give God our trust which is the highest form of worship we can give.
I’m positive I don’t stop to notice all the tender mercies that bless my life. In fact, sometimes I don’t realize they are there until sadly, they are gone. Heavenly help comes in both large and small doses. By faith, gratitude and trust we endure the trials and expect the miracles. They both work in harmony with each other to elevate us to the best version of ourselves.