Sometimes life can present what feels like impossible situations that we don’t know how to face. The scriptures can give us insight into how we can trust in the Lord in such times.
Here, Rachel, a Latter-day Saint college student, writes some insights from chapters 21-23 in Mosiah (in The Book of Mormon) about relying on God in times of trial.
In the Book of Mormon, Mosiah 21 talks about the people who were living under King Noah until captured by the Lamanites. This bondage was prophesied by Abinadi when he was speaking to King Noah and his priests (Mosiah 12:2). The promises the Lord makes in the following verses describe this bondage, stating they will be smitten (verses 3-7). These promises are “shall” and “will” statements, completely unconditional. However, in verse 8, there is one conditional statement. The Lord (through Abinadi) states that the people will be completely destroyed EXCEPT they repent.
In Mosiah 21, we see the fulfillment (a lot of the same wording from Mosiah 12:2-7 is in Mosiah 21:3). In verse 5 it states, “there was no way that they could deliver themselves out of [the Lamanites’] hands.” Yet verses 7, 11, and 12 tell of three attempts by the people to deliver themselves.
To put this in the context of our lives, how many times do we try to save ourselves from “bondage”? Our sins, sadness, fear, anxiety, etc. can only be taken away through help of Jesus Christ and His infinite Atonement. These people in chapter 21 suffered major losses because they tried to save themselves, but were not destroyed because, as it says in verse 13-14, “they did humble themselves… and they did cry mightily to God.” God slowly helped their situation, softening the hearts of the Lamanites (verse 15) and helping them “prosper by degrees” (verse 16). Ammon later comes and frees them from bondage.
In contrast, Mosiah 23 tells of the bondage of the rest of King Noah’s people. Even though Alma and the righteous people who followed him had escaped King Noah’s guards and started their own lives, the prophesy of bondage still applied. The Lord followed through, but their reaction was different. Before the Lamanites even arrived at the land of Helam, the people ran to Alma, the prophet, and he calmed the people, and told them to rely on God (verse 27). They were in the same situation as the people of Limhi; verse 23 says that “none could deliver them but the Lord.” But because they chose to rely on His strength, instead of their own, in Mosiah 24:15, the Lord makes their burdens light. Because of their faith, the Lord helped them escape bondage the next day.
If we choose to rely on God, and his strength and power, before, during, and after the bondage comes, our burdens will be made light.
Both of these groups of people eventually arrived in the Land of Zarahemla. One just took a longer and harder road. Burdens and trials will come, so we might as well make it easier for ourselves by relying on God.