Have you ever had to trust in God, so much so that your life depended on it? In the Book of Mormon (a book revered as scripture by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, mistakenly called the “Mormon Church” by friends of other faiths) we learn of a prophet, Samuel. Samuel warned a wicked city to repent. They were so wicked that Samuel said that except it were for the righteous few that lived among them, they would have been destroyed. The Gospel Art Picture Kit explains “Samuel declared [to this people] that in five years a sign would indicate that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, had been born. There would be a day, a night, and a day without darkness. A new star would appear, and there would be other signs in heaven. (See Helaman 14:2–6.) The problem was that if this sign didn’t happen, in the time predicted, the wicked people were going to kill all of the followers of Christ.
In a book titled, Be Not Afraid—Only Believe, written by Ted L. Gibbons, and published in 2009 by Cedar Fort, Inc., Gibbons explains this story more in depth and applies the righteous people’s trust in God to our everyday lives:
Think of this problem of timing as it was manifested among the Nephites in the ninety-first year of the reign of the judges. As much as any people who ever lived, the disciples at the beginning of 3 Nephi truly had nowhere else to go but to the Savior.
The believers in the night with no darkness were to be put to death on a certain date, and the date was close (3 Nephi 1:9). After the mass executions were announced, faithful Nephites must have spent every evening watching sunsets. And praying. The unbelievers must have watched them with scorn. These Christians seemed to actually expect that the sky could be light at night. For those without faith in an all-powerful God, this was absurd, as ridiculous as Jehosaphat going out to battle a great army with singers rather than soldiers. We have no difficulty imagining public meetings and assertions that the time for the fulfillment of the prophecy was past. We can believe in a “great uproar throughout the land” (3 Nephi 1:7). To many of the scoffers it must have seemed perfectly defensible to devise a plan to rid their enlightened society of people so out of touch with reality.
I can imagine a sophisticated skeptic leaning over the fence to speak to his neighbor after another evening of watching. “My friend, give it up! There are only seven days left. Think of your children and your beautiful wife. Come with us. Save them! You cannot really believe that some night this week the sun will go down and you will still be able sit in your yard and read your scriptures. It gets dark when the sun goes down. It always has. It always will.”
Earnest prayer and private pleading must have filled the homes of the devoted. How hard it must have been to cling to the words of Samuel when it kept getting dark! No one had seen him for five years (Helaman 16:8). For that matter, the great prophet Nephi, the son of Helaman, had disappeared as well (3 Nephi 1:2). What a test to believe in absent prophets and improbable prophecies when the lives of loved ones were at stake!
But those who remained faithful watched steadfastly (3 Nephi 1:8). On the night it happened, how many minutes passed after the sun went down before people began to hope? How long did they wait before they were sure? And in those first moments of awareness, what must those with murder in their hearts have thought, watching a light that would not give way to darkness?
That brightness was a powerful physical witness of a brilliant spiritual reality! The sun had set, but another Son had risen, in a manger, in a stable, in a small village in Judæa. And that Son would never set. In fact, because of the light of that night, believers knew, it would never truly be dark again.
But why the delay? Why require these faithful Nephites to endure night after night of disappointment? Why even give their enemies a chance to specify a date for their deaths? Samuel might have said “six years” instead of five (Helaman 14:2). An omnipotent and omniscient Savior might have rearranged the timing of events to ensure the peace of His people and bypass the anxiety of those dark nights.
The exercise of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is always subject to the order of heaven, to the goodness, will, wisdom, and timing of the Lord. That is why we cannot have true faith in the Lord without also having complete trust in His will and in His timing. When we have that kind of faith and trust in the Lord, we have true security in our lives. President Spencer W. Kimball said, “Security is not born of inexhaustible wealth but of unquenchable faith.”4
I invite you to have what President Kimball (late Mormon prophet) talked about, the security that comes from unquenchable faith. Learn more about how and why to put your trust in God by meeting with Mormon missionaries and by reading the Book of Mormon. Then ask God if these things are true. I am so glad that I put my trust in God by living all of the commandments a Mormon is asked to live by. I love that this example in the Book of Mormon deals with light. It is a symbolic example of scripture; if we put all of our trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, our life’s will be illuminated by Him who is the Light of the World.
I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true and living Church here upon this earth. I know it because I have asked God. There have been countless times in my life when God has manifested Himself unto me, most times at the pivotal moment—in order to test my faith and trust in Him (like Abraham with Isaac). For these times I am most grateful.
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
This article was written by Ashley Bell, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Ashley Bell is a 22-year old wife, mother, BYU graduate, and member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Ashley loves to run, cook, garden, read, and most of all spend time with family and friends.