27 May 2024

Waiting upon the Spirit of the Lord

...they did prolong the time.

I try to take seriously Nephi's instruction to 'liken the scriptures unto us, that it might be for our profit and learning' (1 Nephi 19:23). I've been studying the account of Zeniff, his people, and their great difficulties as told in The Book of Mosiah (within The Book of Mormon) in recent weeks. The story and the underlying lessons have resonated with me in new ways. Here's a set of verses (emphasis mine) that has seemed particularly relevant:

Mosiah 21:32-36

32 And now since the coming of Ammon, king Limhi had also entered into a covenant with God, and also many of his people, to serve him and keep his commandments.
33 And it came to pass that king Limhi and many of his people were desirous to be baptized; but there was none in the land that had authority from God. And Ammon declined doing this thing, considering himself an unworthy servant.
34 Therefore they did not at that time form themselves into a church, waiting upon the Spirit of the Lord. Now they were desirous to become even as Alma and his brethren, who had fled into the wilderness.
35 They were desirous to be baptized as a witness and a testimony that they were willing to serve God with all their hearts; nevertheless they did prolong the time; and an account of their baptism shall be given hereafter.
36 And now all the study of Ammon and his people, and king Limhi and his people, was to deliver themselves out of the hands of the Lamanites and from bondage.

King Limhi and his people were in a really complex and dangerous predicament. Have you ever been in a complex situation, and notwithstanding all the admirable motives and good desires in the world there's nothing to do but "[wait] on the Spirit of the Lord", and "prolong the time"? I'm learning more and more what that's like for many people struggling with complex issues. I'm trying to lean in, to bring to bear "all the study", all my creativity, etc. toward understanding and, where possible, solutions. It requires rigorous exercise of faith. Well, hopefully this scripture provides you some solace, validation, and extra patience (as it has for me).