Make Them Mighty
“But behold, I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance.” ~1 Nephi 1:20
First, some context. After Lehi’s vision earlier in chapter 1 of the first book of Nephi, he “went forth among the people, and began to prophesy…”
“…and the Jews did mock him.” (v. 18–19). These are the same people that had cast out, and stoned, and slain the prophets of old (v. 20).
Now, many of us have been persecuted in our lifetimes. Some more than others, as well. The worst I’ve experienced was on my mission in Washington D.C., where as a 19 year old working in southern Maryland I had to deal with a number of “less-than-Christlike” human beings who decided that it was a good idea to drive through large puddles and drench us head to toe in the middle of winter, throw half empty beer-bottles at my face while riding my bike up a steep hill, spit in my face, call me the devil, etc. Now, one could argue I was asking for it, as I was dressed the part of a missionary hell-bent on serving my fellow man and bringing the light of Christ into their lives.
You don’t have to look far outside of my own experience to see that persecution, discrimination, bigotry, and hatred are experiencing a hay-day as I type this at the end of 2016. We have just come through one of the worst elections of my lifetime, not because of the outcome (but also that), but because of the actions of people on both sides. We’ve seen an escalation in hate crimes since election day, and there are countless numbers of individuals who have expressed their fear of what has become more common and, in some instances, accepted: bigotry, hatred, sexism, racism, and verbal and physical abuse to others deemed deserving of such treatment.
I’m aware of the privelege I experience sitting here as a middle-age white male in the United States. I haven’t had to fear about much in my life. I’m sure many of you reading this are in the same situation. But, unless you’re living in a bubble — virtual or otherwise — you’ve seen the evidence of this all around us.
What to do if you’re afraid?
According to this promise of the Book of Mormon, have faith, and make sure that faith is centered on the Lord Jesus Christ. Does that mean we won’t take a beer bottle to the head? No, the Lord’s promises typically have a wider or longer perspective than a specific incident. The promise, however, is that we will be made mighty even unto the power of deliverance.
While we cannot control the actions of others, we can control the actions we take, and that they are coming from our desire to act in faith and hope, not fear or hatred. This doesn’t answer the obvious questions like “why does God let bad things happen to good people”, but it does give me faith that in the long run things will work out and we will be blessed for our faithfulness.
What do you think? Have you had an experience where your faith has helped you through a tough situation, or made you mighty in some way or another? Please let me/us know in the comments. If you’d be so kind as to recommend and share this post that would be incredibly helpful. Thanks for reading!