This article is part of a series called “12 Days of Christmas: A daily study guide to bring the Savior into the season.” See the full list of days in the study guide and learn more about how it’s formatted here.
Nephi’s “heart was exceedingly sorrowful” when he saw the wickedness of his people, who had set apart a day to put the believers to death unless the sign of Christ’s birth should come to pass (see 3 Nephi 1:9–10). In verse 11, we then read:
“And it came to pass that he went out and bowed himself down upon the earth, and cried mightily to his God in behalf of his people, yea, those who were about to be destroyed because of their faith in the tradition of their fathers.”
Nephi prayed all day. The voice of the Lord then came to him, saying, “Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world, to show unto the world that I will fulfil all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets.”
What can we learn from these verses?
- We should turn to God in our sorrows. Nephi must have felt that there was little he could do on his own at this point to save those who believed. He knew that the threat of the unbelievers was strong, and the sorrow he felt about the situation was deep. But he did not despair and decide not to reach out to God. Instead, he cried unto God all the day long. Sometimes in our sorrows, it might seem hard to turn to God. Prayer might be the very last thing we feel like doing. But Nephi’s example is a powerful reminder that no matter how difficult our circumstances, we can always turn to God and pour out our hearts to Him.
Our answers to prayer are not always immediate. Nephi didn’t pray for a few minutes; he prayed mightily the entire day. Perhaps there were even times previously that he had prayed for the sign to come, but for whatever reason the Lord didn’t answer him right away. However, He did eventually answer him.
Today, we may not be in as extreme as a situation as Nephi, or have the opportunity to pray the entire day to God the way he did. But his story can give us the assurance that our heartfelt prayers will always be answered in the Lord’s timing.
- God has a greater perspective than we do. When Nephi heard the voice of the Lord, he was told to lift up his head and be of good cheer. The Lord knew what Nephi didn’t—that He would be coming into the world and there was no reason to fear. Sometimes in our challenges, it can be hard to have a perspective beyond here and now. But God knows what will happen tomorrow, and the next day, and forever after that. So when we can’t see what lies ahead for us, we can remember this story and trust that the Lord will never forsake us.
Quote: “In this mortal experience, we cannot control all that happens to us, but we have absolute control over how we respond to the changes in our lives. This does not imply that the challenges and trials we face are of no consequence and easily handled or dealt with. It does not imply that we will be free from pain or heartache. But it does mean that there is cause for hope and that due to the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can move forward and find better days—even days full of joy, light, and happiness” (Bishop W. Christopher Waddell, “Turn to the Lord”).
Ponder: How can I look to the Savior and rely on Him in my trials?
Read: “Turn to the Lord,” by Bishop W. Christopher Waddell
Watch: “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” The Piano Guys