20 May 2012

Lessons from Scripture

My current church responsibility is to coordinate and oversee Sunday school classes in my congregation. Occasionally this allows me to substitute teach, which is something that I really enjoy. Today's lesson provided me with a new connection between two stories that were already familiar to me.

In the Book of Mormon, which we consider scripture and a companion to the Bible, a man named Alma listens to a prophet and changes his life. He leaves a comfortable position of power and influence to follow the commandments, many people follow him, and they covenant to obey the commandments and be witnesses of Jesus Christ. At the same time, the people that Alma left persist in their ways and encounter great difficulty in the form of an occupying enemy force. Rather than rely on the Lord to find a remedy to their tough situation, they rely on their own strength and decide to go to war. Three times they try this, and each time they are defeated by a superior enemy. Finally, after all this, they turn to God,

Meanwhile, in spite of their righteousness, Alma's people are also placed in bondage by the same aggressors. Their reaction is to pray to God for deliverance, immediately. When they are commanded not to pray by their captors, they pray in secret and silently in their hearts. They are rewarded, not with miraculous deliverance, but with comfort and peace given through the Holy Spirit. This personal blessing is the miracle that they need to make their burdens light as they passed through that trial.

Two peoples, with the same basic problem, and two completely different ways of addressing it. One group is faithful, and the other less so, showing us that obedience is not a guarantee that we will not experience trials and afflictions. What we do learn is that the Lord is ALWAYS there, if we will humble ourselves and seek his comfort and guidance.

I am grateful for this story, and the important lesson it provides. We control how we react to life's trials, and I hope that I make the right choices as I experience whatever challenges await me.

Mosiah 18-24

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Anonymous said...

Loved this post Joe. I hope to make the right choices as well...but it is a comfort to know the Lord is ALWAYS there even if I go "sideways." I think the saying goes something like you can stray from His path...but not from His reach.

Jlowryjr said...

Thanks Bruce! I agree.