As a dad raising kids in 2018, I can’t help but feel the way Joseph Smith’s dad must have felt while he was raising kids way back in the early 1800’s. Despite what I lack, maybe I’ll get my kids in the right place at the right time.
Joseph Sr. and Lucy were good people. They knew God and taught their children to trust in him. They taught their children from the Bible and they believed that salvation was found only through Jesus Christ. They lived the best Christian lives they could and prayed constantly for blessings which seemed to never come. So often, we also do all that we can to qualify for blessings that don’t ever seem to come. We read our scriptures, say our prayers, attend the temple, serve in our callings, follow the Savior, etc., etc., etc., and like the Smith’s we sometimes may wonder where the blessings are.
Now let’s jump to another story. In the year 385 the Nephite nation crumbled. The lone survivor was Moroni and he “wondered whithersoever [he] could for the safety of [his] own life” for 36 years. That’s potentially tens of thousands of miles of wandering around. Like the Smith’s, and each of us, certainly Moroni must have prayed to be delivered from his trials. In the year 421, the Lord directed Moroni to bury the plates in the side of a hill. 1,395 years later, the Smith family would settle within three miles of that hill. I believe that Joseph Smith recognized this miracle when he stated that the hill was “conveniently located” near his home.
If the Lord can guide Moroni and the Smith’s within 3 miles of each other, over the course of 1,395 years, imagine what miracles He can create in each of our own lives!
Hindsight is a wonderful thing. When we consider our past, it is easy to see how our loving Heavenly Father was with us during our trials, guiding us toward greater gifts and blessing then we ever dreamed of praying for. Most of the time, it is nearly impossible to see the hand of the Lord through our daily struggles and heartaches. Yet the Savior has promised, “knock and it shall be opened”, “seek and ye shall find”, “ask and it shall be given unto you”. It is through our trials that we must trust in these sacred promises, hoping that one day soon the blessing of hindsight will be ours and we will be able to then see how the Lord guided us toward great happiness and joy.
The Smiths were good people that loved the Lord and taught their children to do the same. They moved forward through continued disappointment with nothing but trust in the Lord and hope for a better tomorrow. If just one of the many trials they faced had turned out the way they hoped and prayed for, they never would have made it to Palmyra. They never would have been within walking distance of the Hill Cumorah where Joseph Smith, the prophet of the Restoration, was given the plates to translate into the Book of Mormon.
God does live. He loves us. He is watching over us and answering each and every one of our prayers, in his time which is always the right time. He has promised, “Be still and know that I am God.”