Wednesday, January 21, 2015

1 Nephi 1:1 -- On Afflictions and Favor

"I, Nephi, having been born of goodly parents, therefore I was taught somewhat in all the learning of my father; and having seen many afflictions in the course of my days, nevertheless, having been highly favored of the Lord in all my days; yea, having had a great knowledge of the goodness and the mysteries of God, therefore I make a record of my proceedings in my days."
1 Nephi 1:1

This is the first verse in the Book of Mormon.  Usually I kind of gloss over this one.  It's the first, after all, and you kind of just read it in a rush to start, to get to the next one and "accomplish" something. :)  But as I was reading it yesterday, I was thinking about the relationship between afflictions and blessings.  Nephi was blessed... highly favored, great knowledge of God, led to the promised land, prophet... so many things.  He was what a lot of us want to be.  A hero.  One of those people you look at and think, wow.  That person is perfect.  They can handle everything.  They have it all together.  I will NEVER be able to live up to that.  ... Except we know more about Nephi than that.  He was shiny and cool and strong and faithful and good.  But he also had fears and relationship problems with his family.  He technically could have been called a thief, a kidnapper, or even a murderer.  He suffered a lot, and he had to deal with situations that seemed impossible.  His brothers tried to kill him multiple times.  He was unable to avert a feud that lasted hundreds of years.  ... And I guess that is my point.  Nephi was a real person, going through real things.  We look at others and we think that they have everything together or that they know exactly what they are doing, but usually, just like us, they are just doing the best they can. 
Our afflictions and trials never mean that we are not favored.  Like Nephi, they often mean just the opposite.  God had something in store for Nephi, and he had to go through a lot to learn to be the person that could handle that calling, and to gain knowledge.  It is the same for us.  Our afflictions teach us, and can help us gain knowledge and become good as we face them with God at our side.  Today, let's remember that bad things happen even to the coolest people, and it's okay.  Problems polish us up and make us shinier.  Being highly favored is something we earn over time, it isn't something that happens mysteriously because God likes some people more than others.  Let's face our fears and our insecurities today.  Let's triumph despite our trials, and let's learn what God has in store for us as we follow his gospel.  Nephi made it, even through all his afflictions, and we can too.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Total Pageviews