Alma 13-16: Enter Into the Rest of the Lord
There are a lot of places in the scriptures where we hear about the "rest of the Lord" and at times it can be hard to determine what that actually means. While I'd like to believe that 'entering into the rest of the Lord' means that if I have faith, my life will be comfortable as the Lord brings me peace, we really do learn in Alma 13-16 that this is not the case most of the time. The Rest of the Lord will come, but it may not come until the next life.
Seeing our mortal lives with eternal perspective
Probably the most important message for me in this week's lesson was that I need to realize that the mortal life I am living is really a very tiny picture in the scope of eternity. And it really is impossible for me to comprehend what eternity looks like. It started long before I got here, and it will go forever after I leave.
But this realization, even if I try to keep it in mind, doesn't lessen the pain of the trials and adversity that I am experiencing right now. It's really easy to get caught up in the moment, especially when the moments you're experiencing are painful.
The Spirit Constraineth me...
How hard it must have been for Amulek to stand by and "witness this awful scene" as the righteous women and children were burned, and not be able to do anything about it. He learned a valuable lesson from Alma in that moment, when Alma reminded him that even though the people were coming to a horrible end in this life, the Lord would receive them.
We all have those times in our lives where we wonder why bad things happen to good people, whether those good people are us, our neighbors, or just those out in the community. Along with my study of this lesson, I discovered the following quote. As usual, this thought from this beloved prophet of my childhood, came just when I needed it the most:
Trials and Suffering
Tying the idea of trials and suffering along with the idea of eternal perspective, Spencer W. Kimball said:
If we looked at mortality as the whole of existence, then pain, sorrow, failure, and short life would be calamity. But if we look upon life as an eternal thing stretching far into the premortal past and on into the eternal post-death future, then all happenings may be put into proper perspective.
Is there not wisdom in His giving us trials that we might rise above them, responsibilities that we might achieve, work to harden our muscles, sorrows to try our souls? Are we not exposed to temptations to test our strength, sickness that we might learn patience, death that we might be immortalized and glorified?
If all the sick for whom we pray were healed, if all the righteous were protected and the wicked destroyed, the whole program of the Father would be annulled and the basic principle of the gospel, free agency, would be ended. No man would have to live by faith.
If joy and peace and rewards were instantaneously given the doer of good, there could be no evil--all would do good but not because of the rightness of doing good. There would be no test of strength, no development of character, no growth of powers, no free agency, only satanic controls.
Should all prayers be immediately answered according to our selfish desires and our limited understanding, then there would be little or no suffering, sorrow, disappointment, or even death, and if these were not, there would also be no joy, success, resurrection, nor eternal life and godhood.
Accepting the invitation to Enter into the Rest of the Lord requires sacrifice
Amulek certainly sacrificed a lot to go forward on this great missionary journey with Alma. We don't hear what happened to his family once he accepted this call, but we do know that he gave up everything.
Zeezrom, though he started as a hard-hearted and wicked man, was able to change and repent. But he also gave up everything.
The righteous that were expelled from their city and went on to Sidom lost their families to the horrible evil that happened after they were gone, yet they accepted Alma's invitation and were baptized.
If thou believest in the redemption of Christ thou canst be healed.
Alma said these words to Zeezrom and his healing was immediate. Even though our healing may not be immediate, we are promised that if we continue to have faith in Christ, we will find our rest.
This week's lesson helps
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Why was the city of Ammonihah destroyed and left desolate?