Seek the Lord and His strength, seek His face continually.
1 Chronicles 16:11
Last week I promised to share a very sacred and personal experience I had about 5 years ago with hearing the voice of the Lord speak directly to me. It was a season of my life filled with extreme pain and struggle. It seemed at every turn another trial or burden presented itself. I was making significant effort to seek the will of the Lord in my life... striving to know what He would have me do. I felt guidance from time to time, but still the challenges, the pain and the despair remained. During this period, I had made the commitment to read 25 pages of the Book of Mormon each week. I knew that I needed the strength found in the word of God.
It was Sunday night, the last night, of my second week of study. I was only on page 40 and had planned on reading the last 10 pages to meet my goal before going to bed that night. Through a series of difficult events that evening, I came to realize that one of my children had been the victim of a horrible atrocity. I cannot adequately express the devastation and confusion which encompassed my entire being. I was filled with anguish and fear. After talking things over with my husband... trying to make sense of things and come up with a game plan... I fell into bed overwhelmed in my desperation. As my head hit the pillow, the thought occurred to me that I had yet to complete my study goal. I pushed it aside, hoping to cry myself to sleep. Again, the impression swept over me that I needed to get up and read the last 10 pages to meet my goal. I consciously thought, "There is no way that I am going to get anything out of my scriptures tonight!" My mind was unquietable. My thoughts and emotions were swirling like a vicious storm. I dismissed the impression once again. At this point the spirit compelled me out of my bed and into the living room to struggle through these pages of scripture.
In this portion of the Book of Mormon, the prophet Nephi is teaching his brothers the words of Isaiah. There are numerous chapters which are straight quotes of the great prophet of the Old Testament. I have yet to develop to the point in my scripture study where I comprehend much of Isaiah. However, with significant prayer and focus there are many passages which God has begun to open up to my understanding. Like I said though... this requires a quiet mind on my part as well as intentional focus and prayer. On this particular night I was far beyond my own capacity to "be still". I sobbed as I frantically read the passages. There was no peace in my soul. I was compelled to press on, despite my complete inability to absorb even one concept. I continued to swirl through the pages, knowing that I wasn't gaining anything. After a time however I began to feel that there was a message for me in those pages... I just needed to press through and heed the prompting of the spirit. As I approached the 50th page... I began to KNOW that the message would be given if I would finish out the assignment. As surely as the sun will rise in the morning... the Son will give light to those who seek! I was within two verses of the bottom of page 49 and had still yet to receive. Of the last eleven words on page 49, five of them read,
"I will save your children!"
I was overcome. I read and re-read those words. I chuckled through my tears because of my own resistance in receiving His comfort and assurance. I was able to go to bed... still fearful and devastated... but with the assurance that a loving Father in Heaven was mindful of me in my pain and that He would indeed save my children. The next day I was able to move forward in faith and was guided to the right resources to bring healing into the heart of my child and in turn into mine.
I now look back on this season of my life with awe. It really is amazing to me, just how much I was called to struggle and grow through. During that time, which spanned over several years... I gained the priceless conviction in my testimony that God is mindful! He is there! He waits for me to come to Him to receive of His healing, guidance and fullness! I would not trade this conviction for anything! I mean that literally and truly.
It has been said,
"When we want to talk to God, we pray.
When we want Him to talk to us, we open our scriptures."
I know this to be true. The scriptures aren't the only way He speaks to us... but the search and the study of them is essential in coming to know Him as well as what His voice sounds like.
Next week we will look at Matthew chapters 3 and 4; as well as John 1:35-51. I invite you to study out these passages of scripture this week, seeking enlightenment, revelation and new understanding. Ask the Father, each time you study, to teach you through the Holy Ghost. Listen for the promptings that will come and then... move forward in faith. May your week be filled with His love and purpose!