Journey in the Wilderness

As I was reading my scriptures this morning I turned to a random chapter and started reading. I felt like it was telling me some very specific things and I would like to share them with you.

1Nephi 17:1
“…we did take our journey in the wilderness… And we did travel and wade through much affliction…”

Not only is life a journey by itself but we also have several smaller journeys that we experience within our life. Sometimes the greatest journeys that we have are the ones inspired of God. Although we are not asked to literally travel into the wilderness we are quite often led to do things that lie within the unknown or that seem extremely difficult and scary. How many times does God give us personal commandments? Such as when He prompts you to do something very specific and you know you need to do it?

In 1Nephi 17:3 it continues:
“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 strengthen them, and provide means whereby they can accomplish the thing which he has commanded them…”

This also reminds me of the scripture in 1Nephi 3:7 where it says “I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded for I know that the Lord giveth no commandment unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.”

From these verses we begin to know:
1- That we will all have periods where God leads us on a journey into the wilderness
2- We will have much affliction and it will not be easy (after all the wildnerness can be wild, untamed, unknown, and scary)
3- If we keep the commandments, He will nourish and strengthen us
4- He will never ask us to take that journey without also providing a way to accomplish this commandment

In verse 4 it says that they traveled EIGHT years before they got to the land Bountiful. EIGHT YEARS! Okay, I confess. There are things that God has asked me to do and I get impatient after a few months! I had to really look at my faith. I also had to wonder, how many times the people traveling with Nephi questioned when or if they would ever get out of the wilderness? I am also reminded of Moses and the Israelites… they were in the wilderness for 40 years!  I would like to think that I would be faithful the entire time, however, that is a very long time… would I keep the faith?  If I know that when God wants me to do something, I sometimes get impatient and doubt that it will come to pass.  Why do I do that?  And why when things get difficult do I sit there and think that it should be easy? I mean, hello? Wilderness does not mean ‘taking a walk in the park’.

After they arrived in Bountiful, the Lord told Nephi to (in verse 8) to “construct a ship… that I may carry thy people across these waters”. Talk about scary and unknown!!

Now that Nephi knows his mission he starts to build it. Then everyone around him tells him “you’re a fool” “you can’t do it” “who do you think you are to think that you can build a ship?!” (verses 17-18)

Then Nephi begins to be sad because of the hardness of his family’s hearts and for their lack of faith. When his family sees this they say “we knew you were lacking in judment” “we knew you couldn’t build a ship” (verses 19-20)

Albert Einstein once saidGreat spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.”

Have you ever felt this? I know I have. Not in the sense that I think others have a mediocre mind – but that seeing someone move into an inspired direction can cause a stirring inside the person who is not responding to their own inspiration. Sometimes when I have shared my grand dreams with others they quickly shut me down or spew some kind of negativity at me. It’s feels as if I have found a way out of a deep, dark pit but they do not want me to leave them in that pit – so they pull on my leg, tell me things to try to scare me, or try any other desperate attempt to bring me back down.

I have also noticed a pattern through the scriptures – God takes us through the wilderness to get us to where He wants us to be. It is the also referred to as the ‘refiner’s fire’.

It reminds me of our body. Many times when we are healing from an injury, scar tissue builds up where the injury once was. The purpose is to make the area stronger than it was before. This is the same principle for us. When we heal from something difficult, we can learn and experience things that will teach us very valuable lessons and certainly strengthen us more than if it had never happened in the first place.

Although difficult at times, I am very grateful for the many times I have been led into the wilderness… only to come out better than before.  I THANK GOD for being with me and leading me through… and making me better each time.

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