Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Alma 17:11 -- On Patience, Afflictions, and Example

"And the Lord said unto them also: Go forth among the Lamanites, thy brethren, and establish my word; yet ye shall be patient in long-suffering and afflictions, that ye may show forth good examples unto them in me, and I will make an instrument of thee in my hands unto the salvation of many souls."
Alma 17:11

This is part of a really cool story about the conversion of Alma the younger and the sons of Mosiah.  They started out as pretty bad kids, the sons of leaders of the society, but they rebelled, as we so often do.  They were going around trying to destroy the church, when they were visited by an angel.  Unlike some other angelic visitations (read: Laman and Lemuel), these men actually listened, and changed their lives.

In order to make up for the evil in their lives up to that point, and because they knew how lost they had been, the sons of Mosiah wanted to go on missions to preach the gospel to those who didn't have it.  In this case it was a dangerous thing to do, because the Lamanites and the Nephites were not on good terms with each other.  Here, though, the Lord grants their request and tells them to go, with the warning that they need to be patient in long-suffering and afflictions, in order to show them a good example.  That's an interesting warning, and I think it's one that also applies to us.

It's pretty easy to be a good example when things are going well.  We can be happy, we can not complain, we can look to God in our daily lives.  But when things are going bad, that's sometimes when our example counts the most.  Do we *still* trust God?  Can we *still* be happy and not complain?  Do we still look to God as we should?  It's much harder to keep ourselves in that peaceful spiritual state when things seem to be melting down around us.  Yet, this is what God asks... not only for the sake of our example to others, but for our own sanity.  Even at the worst times, God is still faithful... wanting to be there with us, helping and lifting and loving.  If we leave *him* during the storms of life, blaming him for them, then we lose the anchor that we need most.

The sons of Mosiah ended up suffering a lot, but also having a lot of success because they retained hope, they were grateful rather than resentful, and because they were obedient to, and always in contact with, God.  He helped them know what to say and what to do, and how to touch the lives of others through service.

Today, let's be patient in afflictions and long term suffering.  Let's hold on to the anchor of God in our times of trouble.  Let's remember in the midst of trials that God can help, and deliver us, and that there is always a happy ending waiting.  Let's strive to emulate the example of the sons of Mosiah, being humble and grateful and of service to our fellow men.

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