Book of Mormon Scripture Study Journal : 1 Nephi 3
Immediately after the spiritual manifestation recalled in Chapter two, Nephi faces a real and concrete trial of his faith. I love how the chapter mentions that (as soon as) Nephi had returned from speaking with the Lord, his father tells him about his dream and asks him to go to Jerusalem in order to secure the plates.
This is so often the case. We receive a call to serve or a prompting to act well before we may fully feel ready to do so. Perhaps, Nephi felt unprepared. After all, he had just recently had his incredible conversion experience. Perhaps all those recent converts ( and not just recent converts, but all members really) can relate to what Nephi must have felt here. Days or weeks after baptism, being called in and given a really difficult, seemingly impossible task or calling. Nephi was put in the position to lead his older and supposedly ‘more mature’ brothers and was asked to show a remarkable amount of leadership and courage.
I remember at times before I served a mission being overwhelmed with the fact that the Lord wanted me to serve. Here I was, so young in the church and only having so recently overcome familial and personal challenges in order to be baptized, and I was being asked to prepare for what seemed impossible. I knew that going would create many difficulties and I wasn’t quite sure if I was ready for it. At times I considered waiting a few more months or years until my faith had become more solidified and the opposition lessened before I put in my papers.
For me, Nephi’s example was and is a truly inspiring one. His brothers murmured and complained, but Nephi knew as his father points out that this was not a commandment of men, but of the Lord. He had a burgeoning testimony of God’s power and majesty. He knew that God had spoken to him and so did not doubt that these words of his father were inspired of God.
I cannot say that I was always as free of murmuring or doubts as Nephi, but I am eternally grateful that as Nephi I was able to respond “I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commanded them.” (1 Nephi 3:7)
On the tail end of my mission, and as I look at various challenges that lie ahead ( Courtship and marriage, Law School etc.), my faith is reinforced both by my own experiences and by the experiences of Nephi. His courage and his trust in the Lord are ultimately so incredibly inspiring to us all.
Let us follow his example and ‘not murmur’ when faced with a difficult task. Let us go and do the things of the lord with all of our heart, might and soul!