And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did make out of wood a bow, and out of a straight stick, an arrow; wherefore, I did arm myself with a bow and an arrow, with a sling and with stones. And I said unto my father: Whither shall I go to obtain food?1 Nephi 16:23
When something goes wrong don’t just sit around waiting for God to shower miracles upon you. Get up and go to work to change the circumstances so He can bless you with increased capacity to manage your personal circumstances. This is when He showers miracles on us.
I have recognized in my own prayers a particular element of expecting that God is just going to give me handouts simply because I ask. And yet it seems to me that often He remains silent or ignores my request. This is because I haven’t yet fully comprehended or practiced the principle of real intent. Our requests need to be in line with our personal goals and objects, which in turn need to be in line with God’s personal goals and objectives for us. Only then does He respond in ways that enable us to succeed and accomplish miracles in our behalf. The more effort I put into changing my prayers to follow this pattern the more frequent His interactions and interventions in my life are, the deeper my trust is that He will be there for me when I need it, and the closer to Him I become. The more I just laze around expecting Him to do all the work, the more distant I feel from Him and the fewer the miracles in my life. It is when I get up and do that He steps in beside me to do with me!
And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord came unto my father; and he was truly chastened because of his murmuring against the Lord, insomuch that he was brought down into the depths of sorrow.1 Nephi 16:25
Let God chasten you.
This is a hard pill to swallow. God’s chastening is not always pleasant to endure. Most of the time it feels more like a refiner’s fire which burns the impurities away. This can be a relatively constant thing if we’re not careful and yet still care about what God thinks of us. I am learning, however, that the whole point of it is change – or perhaps better put: maturity. I’ve recently learned that God is really just trying to help me – through hard circumstances in many instance – to mature into a being like He is – just like a parent does with a child. And He waits patiently for me to let go of my immaturity so he can lead me to the next step. It’s a slow process, too, but it is yielding many rewards – at work and at home.
And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto me, saying: Thou shalt construct a ship, after the manner which I shall show thee, that I may carry thy people across these waters.
And I said: Lord, whither shall I go that I may find ore to molten, that I may make tools to construct the ship after the manner which thou hast shown unto me?1 Nephi 17:8-9
Let the Lord teach you how to build a ship – or whatever your profession may be.
This one has been a delightful one to experience this week as I have really let the Lord weigh in on the work I’ve need to do for my employer. I found Him instructing me on how to proceed with particular tasks – programming that I needed to find bugs and fix them – and discovering He could show me what to do and where to go without me even begin physically present looking at the files I needed to deal with. Several mornings I woke up with inspiration on where to start with fixes I needed to make and He was always right. I know the Lord will help us “build our ships,” if we involve Him in the process.
And said unto me: Thou art my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified.1 Nephi 21:3
When you are praying for God to show you those people He has put you in the path of to minister to and be a blessing to, any act of service is an act of serving God. Last night He gave me the opportunity to serve Him by placing me in the path of a woman horribly stuck in the snow, awkwardly and and stressfully blocking traffic in one direction on a very narrow street with dozens of cars passing by her without so much as a pause to consider her plight. I stopped the car, put my four ways on, and asked if she needed help. I had to ask twice, but in the midst of her shoveling she claimed she thought she would be ok. She wasn’t and I got back out to push. As I did so another individual saw the plight and between the two of us we were able to get her on her way and going in a jiffy.
I’m grateful for the opportunities God gives me every day to serve Him and be answers to the spoken and unspoken prayers of others of His children in need.