Last week, our beloved prophet offered a remedy to our current situation. It was a simple reminder to offer gratitude to our Heavenly Father for His abundant blessings. Those who followed his counsel saw their social media feeds blessed, but more importantly, kept their covenant to remember, unlocking much needed blessings.
The constant decrying of how terrible 2020 has been is so prevalant it has become a meme. Imagine going through a pestilence so terrible that anyone under the age of 70 had a 99.8% of survival should it be contracted. I bet the Egyptians would’ve caved to Moses on the first day of such an encounter. Earlier in the year, the current “pandemic” was being widely compared to the Spanish flu of 1918, a disease that cut down many in their prime with an average age of death of 28. The average age of a coronavirus victim is 78 – in other words, 2020 is the year we laid to rest “died of causes incident to age.”
While 2020 in many ways hasn’t been nearly as bad as some have imagined, it is much worse than advertised for other reasons. We handed over our freedoms to gather for religious services, assemble peacefully unless it was to loot and riot, and open our private property for business unfettered from the shackles of government. The injustices inflicted upon our unalienable rights are infinitely worse than the abuses the Founders fought King George III over. We are softened by easily accessible food and water, immenities delivered to our homes, and drunken by endless entertainment delivered to our televisions, computers, and smartphones. All of these are wonderful blessings past generations would envy us for, but it isn’t fair to say this year hasn’t been challenging at all.
I don’t just mourn for lives lost prematurely to coronavirus, but for the dramatic increases in suicide, drug addiction and overdoses, and murder, particularly in cities where the police are being vilified. I mourn for children who are being abused and neglected at home, for people who long for personal interaction who are being left in decline, and for spiritual and mental challenges that have been brought on by our own demise as a culture. Our Father in Heaven has only warned us of the consequences of following this path, it isn’t He who had inflicted us. He is simply waiting for us to humble ourselves and seek Him out.
The People of Limhi
For some reason, this week of thanksgiving brought to mind the story of the people of Limhi – the remnant of Nephites who remained after King Noah. The story begins with the wicked king who imposed a 20% tax to support his sinful ways. “Thus did the people labor exceedingly to support iniquity.” (Mosiah 11:6)
The Lord sent Abinidi to warn the people before their situation became worse:
And it shall come to pass that they shall know that I am the Lord their God, and am a jealous God, visiting the iniquities of my people.
And it shall come to pass that except this people repent and turn unto the Lord their God, they shall be brought into bondage; and none shall deliver them, except it be the Lord the Almighty God.
Yea, and it shall come to pass that when they shall cry unto me I will be slow to hear their cries; yea, and I will suffer them that they be smitten by their enemies
After Abinidi was killed by King Noah, and after the people of Noah eventually turned on the king and killed him as well, the Lamanites fulfilled the word of the Lord and placed the Nephites into bondage.
They would smite them on their cheeks, and exercise authority over them; and began to put heavy burdens upon their backs, and drive them as they would a dumb ass—
Yea, all this was done that the word of the Lord might be fulfilled.
And now the afflictions of the Nephites were great, and there was no way that they could deliver themselves out of their hands, for the Lamanites had surrounded them on every side.
The Nephites attempted to free themselves three times by fighting the Lamanites in combat, and failed each time. Finally, the Nephites humbled themselves and turned to God. The Lord heard them and began to bless them.
And it came to pass that they began to prosper by degrees in the land, and began to raise grain more abundantly, and flocks, and herds, that they did not suffer with hunger.
Only the Lord could deliver them, despite their best efforts. He required that they remember Him before they could be freed from bondage. Showing continuous gratitude is the best way to retain a remembrance.
No matter how bad we may see our situation, we can be blessed – in degrees, or abundantly, according to our obedience and humility. If you think 2020 is going to be the worst that we face…well, I’ve got bad news for you. However, we have the ability to live blessed, happy, and prosperous lives even while the whole world around us is in commotion.
A God of Miracles
And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not his commandments.
There is a reason the word remember is used over 200 times in the Book of Mormon. As mortals, we are easy to forget – not only the things we are supposed to do, but remembering the things which have been done for us. Keeping a constant rememberance is the key to staying on the covenant path and unlocking further blessings our Father in Heaven has promised to pour upon us.
As I remembered my blessings this year, I truly was reminded that ours truly is a God of miracles. There is no trial we can’t overcome with Him. The joy He offers is endless, and the hope we can have is infinite. Things in the world are sure to get worse, as has been prophesied, but the prophet has given us the roadmap to make it through. His simple reminders to take upon us His name and always remember Him have been incredibly prophetic for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear. Look, and be blessed.
- “The God That Doest Wonders” -President Howard W. Hunter, April 1989
- “Let God Prevail” -President Russell M. Nelson, October 2020
- “The Divine Gift of Gratitude” -President Thomas S. Monson, April 2010
You can follow Dustin on Twitter (yes, his 4th account) at @SirDMTPhD.