Saturday, March 10, 2012

Perfect Preparation

Sometimes in our lives the Lord calls us to do hard things. We can either rebel against these things or we can put our faith in God and that He ultimately knows what is going on. The prophet Nephi from the Book of Mormon is a perfect example of this!

His father, Lehi, is commanded by God to take his family and leave Jerusalem. Obedient to God's commandments, the family packs up and heads into the wilderness. After years of traveling they finally make it to a sea and the Lord commands Nephi to build a boat so that they can sail across the waters to the promised land. Having strong faith, Nephi obeys even though he doesn't know how to build a boat. While Nephi is being obedient and building this magnificent boat, his not-so-righteous brothers, Laman and Lemuel, start mocking him, telling him he can't build a boat and trying to break down his confidence. But Nephi is resilient and knows that the Lord commanded him to build this boat. So he keeps at it, finishes the boat, and eventually they all make it to the promised land.

So I'm sure you are wondering how this relates to being prepared by the Lord, right? Well the story of Nephi isn't over yet! They all get to the promised land, Lehi teaches them a few important things, and then he dies. Laman and Lemuel, who have never really liked Nephi, now see that their dad isn't there to protect Nephi so they plot to kill him. The Lord warns Nephi that they want to kill him so he takes his family and some of the others in their group and get away from his spiteful brothers. When they find their place to stay, Nephi teaches his people, the Nephites, how to build things, how to grow and cultivate the lang, and basically how to be industrious. They even built a temple! But on the other hand, the Lamaites (those who didn't go with Nephi) live a very simple, savage-like lifestyle.

Where is the difference? Why do these two groups of people who were taught personally by the prophet Lehi live such contrasting lifestyles?

There are a number of things that can contribute to it, but what I noticed as I have read this story is that it all goes back to when the Lord asked Nephi to build the boat. At the time Nephi didn't know how to work tools and build things, but after such an endeavor he definitely learned how to build things. He took that knowledge and experience, and used it to help his people also learn how to be industrious and resourceful.

At the time I would guess Nephi didn't even want to build the boat. When I read about the Lord commanding Nephi to build the boat, I always put myself into Nephi's situation to see what I would say. Almost every time my response has been something like "Wait what? Me? Build a what? You're kidding right?" But Nephi didn't do that. He had the faith and determination to simply ask the Lord where to go to find ore to make the tools he needed. When the Lord commanded Nephi to build the boat, I highly doubt Nephi knew he would need that knowledge years down the road to help those around him, but the Lord did. So He gave Nephi a task to help prepare him for the greater responsibility He had in store for Nephi years down the road.

A few days ago my teaching companion went to do some physical therapy. While he was doing his stuff, I started talking with a man there about my mission and about life in general. As the conversation progressed he asked an interesting question. He said "Did you ever think your disability would be a blessing in preparing you to serve in this mission and have so many blessings?" The funny thing is that over the past eight months I have slowly been learning that, one piece at a time and this man helped me to combine it all together and have it make sense.

I love baseball. If there is one passion I have in life aside from sharing this gospel, it is baseball! I have often thought to myself about how if I had strong, "regular" legs, I would be a baseball player. I know that I would not be anywhere near where I am today and would definitely not be on a mission! Growing up I often questioned our loving Heavenly Father as to why He would make me go through such physical struggles. At times I felt like I received an answer to that plea but as I have been on my mission I have learned a much deeper meaning to it. I know know with all certainty that my disability and trials in life have prepared me, in an unimaginably perfect way, for this life that the Lord has in store for me. Without my Muscular Dystrophy I would have never had the amazing experiences that I have had. Sure, there are times when I want so badly to be able to run, jump, and climb, but I have learned to put my trust in the Lord and know that what He has planned for me is much better than what I could ever imagine.

What trials are you going through right now? Are you looking at them as a hindrance or as an opportunity to develop your character and become who God wants you to become? I know that as we keep an eternal perspective on everything, life will become much more enjoyable and we will be able to see the Lord's hand in preparing us for our futures.


  1. Thank you for this post and all the others too. I am so grateful to know that you have accepted and embraced your abilities. Some would call them disabilities but as I read, I realize that your CMT had really become a part of who you are, has helped you to become the kind, compassionate person you are today. Your heart has really opened to the possibilities ahead of you. May God continue to bless you, to guide you, and to strengthen you in all ways.

  2. Your words are so humble and touching. Often times I look at my struggles as a hindrance because I have been told they are and I should be shameful of them. But reading this really makes me look at it in a new light. Your faith is very inspiring.