“What?!” I said to God.
“Yep, that’s what you need to do. But, you know, you still have your agency.”
“You gotta be out of your mind!” says I. To God. Listening for the rumbling of thunder as I start ducking a little lower to avoid the lightning bolts.
He laughs, that loving, kind laugh He is well known for. “It seems that way to you, but I kind of have that little thing called ‘omniscience,’ so I pretty much know what I need to have done. And, like I said, you have your agency.”
I sit there in shock. This is a bridge too far. This is too much to ask. I can’t do that. That person he wants me to talk to isn’t even talking to me; isn’t active in my life and appears to be completely disinterested in me or my life. Yeah, we were close once, but they moved on without me, without inviting me along. And I am supposed to do something for them?
I feel like a crazy person. This can’t go well. But it is what God wants. He is right; he knows more than I do. So I guess this is the point where I step up or back down. He has done so much already. I have seen his hand in my life, delivering in ways I could never have guessed. Influencing people I don’t know and those I do know who do not listen to Him. I do have choice, but do I really have a choice, myself, having witnessed so many miracles and opportunities already?
“OK, God, I will do it. It is freaking me out. It scares the Hades out of me. I feel crazy, but I will do it,” says I.
“Yeah, I get that. But how do you think the prophets felt when I told them to do stuff that didn’t make sense.”
I ponder that. I envision Lehi coming home to a dinner of roasted goat and hummus.
“Uuummmmm, yeah, Sariah, I kinda have some news for you. You may not really like this.”
“OK, dear, lay it on me. Would you like some falafel with your goat?”
“No thanks, looks good, though. So, I was having a chat with God today and He kinda told me that we need to pack our stuff and go into the woods.”
“Oh, we need to go camping? That’s sounds nice, dear.”
“No, we have to pack our stuff, gather our kids, and go into the woods for a while. As a matter of fact, I don’t know how long. Oh, and we are to walk for a long time. And we are going somewhere else. Some ‘promised land’ place. Where we will start our own civilization and stuff, because Jerusalem is, ah, going to be destroyed.”
Sariah sits there looking at him like he is a crazy person. Lehi sits there pushing his goat around on the plate, feeling like a crazy person.
“So, let me get this right.” says Sariah in a very serious tone, “We leave our lands, our wealth, our home, take the kids, go off into the woods for an untold amount of time, searching for a place we don’t know exists–because God to you to.”
Lehi takes a few bites of goat to fill his mouth to avoid saying much. She waits patiently, eyes bugging with that look that only a loving wife can muster, the look that says you better answer soon, crazy person.
Lehi swallows before he gets a spoon upside the head. “Yep, that’s pretty much it. So when can we be ready?”
We read about the incredible faith and trust of our prophets, but we have grown to accept it as “well, of course they just did it, they are prophets.” I am sure that many prophets had some domestic issues and thought they were crazy people themselves.
Unbeknownst to Lehi, there was another prophet named Herbert on the other side of town. He was told by God as well to pack his stuff and head into the woods with his family. There were a lot of people running around declaring the destruction of Jerusalem then; it was kind of the “in” thing, since they didn’t have flash mob dancing.
Herbert comes home to a dinner of roasted hen and tabouli.
“Uuummmmm, yeah, Griselda, I kinda have some news for you. You may not really like this.”
“OK, dear, lay it on me. Would you like some cheese with your hen?”
“No thanks, looks good though. So, I was having a chat with God today and He kinda told me that we need to pack our stuff and go into the woods.”
“Oh, we need to go camping? I really don’t like camping. Lots of bugs and lepers in the woods this time of year.”
“Yeah, not a fan of the lepers myself, but, no, we have to pack our stuff, gather our kids, and go into the woods for a while. As a matter of fact, I don’t know how long. Oh, and we are to walk for a long time. And we are going somewhere else. Some ‘promised land’ place. Where we will start our own civilization and stuff, because Jerusalem is going to be destroyed.”
Griselda sits there looking at him like he is a crazy person. Herbert sits there pushing his hen around on the plate, feeling like a crazy person. Then he eats an olive.
“So, let me get this right.” says Griselda in a very serious tone, “We leave our lands, our wealth, our home, take the kids, go off into the woods for an untold amount of time, searching for a place we don’t know exists–because God told you to.”
Herbert takes a few bites of hen to fill his mouth to avoid saying much. She waits patiently, eyes bugging with that look that only a loving wife can muster, the look that says you better answer soon, crazy person.
Herbert swallows before he gets a spoon upside the head. “Yep, that’s pretty much it. So when can we be ready?”
Griselda hits him with a pan. “Well, that isn’t going to happen. You better think twice about this.”
Herbert gets up off of the ground and rights his chair. “No, I think you are right, I wasn’t really feeling it anyway. That’s just too crazy to think about. Too much of God to ask of one person, let alone a family. Yeah, you are right, Griselda, I can’t imagine God asking for that much faith. I guess I am a crazy person. Can I have more tabouli, please?”
When we receive revelation and inspiration from God, it isn’t always going to make sense. It definitely won’t always be comfortable and sometimes it just may be something so far out of our reach, so beyond the scope of our understanding, that it comes down to a leap of faith. We are guided to walk baby steps in faith with God and then, out of nowhere, He might ask us to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. We look at God with bewilderment. We pray fervently. We are racked with doubt, fear, and apprehension. It still comes to a choice: act or don’t act.
We believe that God has a plan. He has a plan for others too. We don’t know our plan; we certainly do not know His plans for others. We may ask for miracles, but we may be the miracle for someone else. We just don’t know. God will ask us to do things that seem a bridge too far, a faith too much, but there is a reason for it. Not only for whomever we are supposed to do things for, we may never know the result of our acting, but for our own edification as well.
Giving ourselves over completely to faith requires trust. It is only blind faith if we act without praying for confirmation. And it may take a LOT of confirmation to get there. However, if we act, we will know a confidence and a peace that will be more than we could have ever imagined. We may even lose the fear. It is a lesson, though. A big lesson.
Act in faith, the results don’t matter. Plan, but do not try to control the future, we can’t. God knows all of the plans for everyone and inspires us to act for our benefit and the benefit of others. Do as we are inspired to do, prayerfully, and go about your day like nothing happened because you have no idea why, you just know you should.
We never heard the tale of the prophet Herbert and his wife Griselda. He was destroyed while buying shoes at the market in Jerusalem after a particularly difficult day preaching. We only hear about the success stories or the abysmal failures. We don’t hear of all of those who are called, only the few who chose, and were chosen.
When we are guided, it will be terrifying sometimes, but acting on inspiration, inquiring regularly for confirmation, will bring a peace and confidence that only complete submission to His will is capable of. He won’t tell us to do anything to destroy us, everything is meant to build us. Act in faith, trusting His will and plan, and we will be OK no matter the consequences. If anything, we will be much better off after we accept the task and act than we ever could have been if we hadn’t.