Sunday, November 18, 2012

Scripture Challenge Week 17: Strengthening the Strengtheners

This scripture really stood out to me this week:

Alma Chapter 15, verse 18
Now as I said, Alma having seen all these things, therefore he took Amulek and came over to the land of Zarahemla, and took him to his own house, and did administer unto him in his tribulations, and strengthened him in the Lord.
Back when Alma began his missionary work in Ammonihah, he was spit upon and cast out despite his most earnest attempts. But an angel told to go back and try again and Alma "speedily" did as he was told (I think I might have dragged my feet a bit...). Upon returning to Ammonihah, Alma was starving, having "fasted many days" and asked a man for some food. This man, Amulek, had been told by an angel that Alma would come and took him into his home where Alma was fed and where he "tarried many days," likely gearing up for his missionary work and discussing the gospel with Amulek as they prepared to teach people who'd been very unreceptive to Alma's prior attempts (Alma 8:19-27). I like to imagine the great friendship that grew between these two men as they prepared for and served this mission together. They experienced wonderful stuff together as they preached and performed miracles. They experienced  prison walls falling down to set them free. They saw many people - even the wicked Zeezrom - accept the gospel and change their lives. They learned to submit their wills to that of the Lord and see the beautiful things that brings.  They also went through really hard stuff together - huge heartaches when their message was rejected and when they saw some of their followers killed for their beliefs, frustration when Zeezrom tried to turn everyone against them, physical discomfort and pain and humiliation when they were imprisoned, whipped, stripped of their clothes, and spat upon.

On top of everything else he'd gone through with Alma, it turned out that Amulek had to give up all his riches and was rejected by his family (Alma 15:16). In verse 18 (above), it looks like Alma saw and understood how hard these sacrifices were for Amulek and now it was time for Alma to take Amulek into HIS home for a time and strengthen him.

For all of us, there are times when we need strengthening and other times when we need to strengthen others. Often it's the very people who've strengthened us that we'll need to strengthen at some point. No one can be strong all the time and always be the "strengthener." Even valiant wonderful people like Alma and Amulek need time to step back and be strengthened sometimes. Needing to be strengthened does not mean we're weak. It means we're strong - so strong that we've been trusted with big responsibilities and trials that will likely cause us to need to lean on the Lord and on others around us quite a bit - and that need to lean will help us be humble and will give others the chance to serve. Everyone needs to lean sometimes. Everyone needs to serve sometimes. That's how it's designed.

This week, as we prepare for Thanksgiving, I'm so grateful for the chances I've had in my life to serve others, to offer advice, to help people through hard times. And I'm so grateful for those who've been there for me when everything just feels so overwhelming and I've needed a listening ear, a helping hand, or an encouraging word.

*** And one last thing, I love love love this short article that posted on Power of Moms today. I so needed this reminder that while it always seems like there isn't enough time or money or bandwidth in my brain or heart to do all the things I yearn to do and feel called to do, there actually is enough. There is ALWAYS enough to do the things that are most needful when the Lord is involved.

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