“What’s your promised land?”
It was a question thrown to us by our wise Young Single Adult Teacher. Even after six years, the question still rings in my mind. At 20, my “promised land” meant finding my eternal companion – the man of my dreams – and getting married in the temple. Now that I am 27 and married, the promised land equates to a family rooted in the gospel, financial stability, and a righteous life that’s ready to face our Maker. Whenever I think of my “promised land,” my heart is filled with happiness and hope.
All of us has our own “promised land” – an event, an achievement, a person, or a goal that we know can bring us immense happiness. Yes, reaching the promised land is possible but the road leading to it is surely one filled with briars, thorns, and a lot of detours. Whenever I think of the journey towards the land of promise, I always remember Lehi’s family. Interestingly enough, 1 Nephi 18 not only narrates the inspiring journey of Lehi’s family – it also teaches us lessons we need to remember as we travel to our own land of promise.
The Lord Will Show Us Great Things
The task given to Nephi to build a ship for their journey to the land of promise was nothing short of daunting. One of the reasons Nephi was confident was because he relied on the instructions of the Lord. Nephi “prayed oft unto the Lord” and the Lord guided him, teaching him how to build the ship and also showing him “great things.”
Reaching the goals we have set for ourselves can also be daunting. Most of the time, we don’t know what will happen next. There will be times when doubt will settle in. During discouraging moments, let’s take time to ask “Do we have enough faith to rely on the Lord?” In the journey towards our promised land, let’s be like Nephi. Let’s continually pray, and ask what the Lord would have us do next, and trust in the promise that He will show us great things. Let’s strive to reach our goals “after the manner which the Lord has shown unto [us]” and not by the “manner of men.” Then, like Nephi, we will also see great things.
Sin and Rebellion Prevents Us From Reaching The Promised Land
When our goals are not guided by the will of the Lord, chances are, we’ll eventually feel lost. Goals seem to be out of reach. We can sometimes become clueless, not knowing what to do next, or what to pursue. There will be times you might feel that blessings are elusive.
Sin and rebellion prevents us from reaching the promised land. Just like the Liahona stopped working when Laman, Lemuel and the sons of Ishmael bound Nephi, our personal Liahona – the Holy Ghost – stops guiding us when we do things that are contrary to the commandments of the Lord. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf worded this perfectly when he said:
“Part of our challenge is, I think, that we imagine that God has all of His blessings locked in a huge cloud up in heaven, refusing to give them to us unless we comply with some strict, paternalistic requirements He has set up. But the commandments aren’t like that at all. In reality, Heavenly Father is constantly raining blessings upon us. It is our fear, doubt, and sin that, like an umbrella, block these blessings from reaching us.” (“Living the Gospel Joyful,” Ensign, Nov. 2014)
When we sin and when we follow our own will above that of the Lord, we can lose the inspiration that tells us what the Lord wants and has prepared for us.
Repentance Leads Us Back
Fortunately, there is a way to get back on track – repentance. When Laman and Lemuel recognized their wrongs, they repented and freed Nephi, and the Liahona started working again.
Like what happened to Lehi’s family, repenting from our rebellion and sin can put us back on the right path towards the promised land. The “manners of men” are so loud that sometimes, we can’t hear the Lord’s instructions to us. When we turn back to Him and mute the world out, we can receive inspiration from the Lord clearly – the kind that will help us to reach our goals. When we follow the manner that the Lord has shown, we can do greater things.
The Promised Land Brings Happiness
In the last verse of 1 Nephi 18, Nephi wrote about the bounties of the promised land. Nephi’s family left their riches in Jerusalem but they were greatly rewarded when they reached their promised destination. The Lord can also help lead us to our promised land just like He did for Nephi’s family. The road towards our goals may l seem bleak, unclear, and sometimes scary. But when we trust the Lord, do all we can to keep the Liahona working, and repent of our sins and rebellion, the Lord will help us reach our land of promise.