I have experienced “many mighty miracles” in my life. One of the most impactful came during my high school years. My little sister had been getting into serious trouble and after my parents retrieved her, it fell to me to get her automobile home.
I sat in the driver’s seat and tried turning the key. Nothing. I tried again. Nothing.
I knew little enough about cars then, but it seemed the manly thing to do was to pop the hood and look. It was dark out and I was in a small town with no passing traffic. The vehicle had been poorly treated and back in those days, I did not have a cell phone.
But what I did have, what we all have, is the ultimate life-line: prayer.
I prayed that I could get the car to start and that I could get it home.
I tried the key. The car fired up like Lightning McQueen.
You undoubtedly have had similar experiences with answers to prayers, and perhaps more profound. While not all answers are as tangible or instantaneous, they are nonetheless real.
This week’s Come, Follow Me is replete with powerful prayers being answered in miraculous ways. Indeed, all answers to prayers are miraculous.
Nephi begins by stating that he had “seen many afflictions during the course of my days.” Even a cursory understanding of Nephi’s life is demonstrative of his trials. But look what he says next: “nevertheless, having been highly favored of the Lord in all my days.” (1 Nephi 1:1, emphasis added).
Being highly favored everyday certainly outweighs the afflictions that cropped up periodically during the “course” of his days.
I know you and I and everyone have had more than their fair share of unfairness, or at least what could be characterized as being unfair. We have all been subject to disappointment, grief, and pain – but all of that pales in comparison to the innumerable blessings poured out upon us every single day by our Father in Heaven.
Lehi and Nephi both pray mightily in the first few chapters. Chapter three begins with Nephi stating that he had been “speaking with the Lord.” Notice the word, “with.” He does not just say “to,” but “with.” – indicative of a two-way dialogue. We know our Father in Heaven speaks to us by the power of the Holy Ghost. We can and ought to receive revelation.
Certainly, God does not always give us step-by-step instructions. The brother of Jared, for example, was directed to figure out a solution for himself when facing the problem of lighting his barges. Nephi and his brothers only knew that they were commanded to obtain the record of the Jews. After several failed attempts that resulted in the loss of their precious property and nearly their lives, Nephi was still not willing to quit. He declared: “...let us be strong like unto Moses…” Strength is a Godly quality. Not merely in terms of physical power – though that is certainly an added blessing – but in terms of the strength of the Spirit of God. God wants a powerful people. He wants strong men and women to stand for what is right. He desires us to be brave and bold and benevolent.
Here are some other examples found in the scriptures of our mandate to be strong:
- The Bible warns us of what happens when we shirk our responsibilities and balk at the challenge before us: “If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small.“
- We are told in the scriptures how we can be strong: “Therefore shall ye keep all the commandments which I command you this day, that ye may be strong…“
- By keeping God’s commandments, by being obedient, we will be made “mighty, even unto the power of deliverance.”
Nephi states even though he didn’t know what he was going to do, he was still led by the Spirit. God may not give you specifics on your journey, but He is still with you.
Early in his record, Nephi describes himself as exceedingly young, large in stature and having great desires to know of the mysteries of God. Note how Nephi changes his description after accomplishing the task the Lord had commanded him: “And now I, Nephi, being a man large in stature, and also having received much strength of the Lord…” Nephi went from “exceedingly young” to “a man.” The difference is what he had done.
I have seen recently a lot of jokes about Nephi’s self-described stature. I know many of these are not ill-intended, but Nephi is not some braggadocios boy talking about the size of his biceps. Nephi always gives credit to God. He knew his power came from God, not just the pushups (though I am sure those helped).
President Thomas S. Monson taught crash courses don’t work as well as consistency. Strengthening our spiritual muscles, as well as our physical bodies, every day is of the utmost importance.
One definition of the word “stature” is importance or reputation gained by ability or achievement.
That is what changed for Nephi: his achievement.
Examine your own achievements. How have they strengthened you and your testimony?
I love and honor Nephi. He was one of the greatest prophets and we can be large in stature and go forth in the strength of the Lord if we practice daily spiritual exercise and cede our will to His just as Nephi did.
- Come, Follow Me – For Individuals and Families: Book of Mormon 2020: January 6-12.
- “Be Your Best Self” -President Thomas S. Monson, April 2009
- “Boys Need Men” -Elder Marion D. Hanks, April 1974