The prophet Nephi wrote, “. . . if the Lord in his condescension unto the children of men hath visited men in so much mercy, why should my heart weep and my soul linger in the valley of sorrow, and my flesh waste away, and my strength slacken, because of mine afflictions?’ (2 Nephi 4:26).
Often as we sail upon the waters of life, the storms of “afflictions’ tear at our sails and beat against us. The rips in the cloth cause the sail to slacken and our power to weaken. At times, we fear we are sinking among the waves of weakness, oppression, or sin. Jesus calmed the storm as his shipmates feared destruction, and he will do the same for the storms in our life. As with all storms, the affliction will end but it will take time to repair the sails so we can move under full power once again. Like Nephi of old, we wonder why, with our understanding, do we still struggle and weaken under the strain of affliction.
It is a great comfort to all of us to know that the Lord is not slack concerning his promises to us. He has promised us that if we believe in him we shall “not perish, but have everlasting life’ (John 3:16). He has promised us that we shall come forth in the “resurrection of life’ (John 5:29). He has promised that if we repent of our sins, he will “remember them no more’ (D&C 58:42).
He has promised that if we “believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper’ (2 Chronicles 20:20). He has promised us that “he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers’ (Deuteronomy 4:31). He has promised us that if we do “works of righteousness’ we will be given “peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come’ (D&C 59:23). Great are the promises of the Lord!
It is no wonder then that Nephi continues his psalm and writes, “O Lord, I have trusted in thee and I will trust in thee forever. . . . yea, I will cry unto thee, my God, the rock of my righteousness. Behold, my voice shall forever ascend up unto thee, my rock and mine everlasting God’ (2 Nephi 4:34–35).
The Prophet Joseph Smith wrote, “Most assuredly it is, however, that the ancients, though persecuted and afflicted by men, obtained from God promises of such weight and glory, that our hearts are often filled with gratitude that we are even permitted to look upon them while we contemplate that there is no respect of persons in His sight, and that in every nation, he that feareth God and worketh righteousness, is acceptable with Him’ (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p 65-66).
The Prophet also said, “And what shall others receive who do not labor faithfully, and continue to the end? We leave such to search out their own promises if any they have; and if they have any they are welcome to them, on our part, for the Lord says that every man is to receive according to his works. Reflect for a moment, brethren, and enquire, whether you would consider yourselves worthy a seat at the marriage feast with Paul and others like him, if you had been unfaithful? Had you not fought the good fight, and kept the faith, could you expect to receive? Have you a promise of receiving a crown of righteousness from the hand of the Lord?’ (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 64).
There is another great promise the Lord has made to his people. Peter explains this promise by beginning with a plea to “remembrance’ the words of the prophets and apostles. Apparently “scoffers’ had come among the Church saying, “Where is the promise of his coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation’ (2 Peter 3:4). Peter pleads with us to “be not ignorant’ and to know that “the Lord is not slack concerning his promise . . . But the day of the Lord will come’ (2 Peter 3:9–10). If that is the case, Peter asks, “what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversations and godliness. Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God’ (2 Peter 3:11–12). He ends with a warning, “Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness’ (2 Peter 3:17). We look forward to the promise of the Savior coming again to earth, this time to reign in righteousness, power, and glory. What a wonderful day that will be!
The scriptures are filled with promises to the Lord’s people. “Search these commandments, for they are true and faithful, and the prophecies and promises which are in them shall all be fulfilled’ (D&C 1:37). Should we not then search out the promises of the Lord and live so that we may obtain them for ourselves, and thus have eternal life.
“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise . . . but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance’ (2 Peter 3:9).