In my scripture study this week I used the TOFW study guide: Take Courage My Heart, where I was studying the story of the 2,000 stripling warriors. I had so many incredible insights come to me that I had never really thought of before and I want to share them with you.
So first off, I have read this story so many times and we’ve talked about it in so many lessons over the years but I don’t think I have ever really thought of it from the angle of the parents before. Here are these boys, many who are just becoming men, and they have been raised to know the importance of keeping the commandments and that doing so would help them prosper in the land. So they weren’t raised around war and contention because their parents had long before buried their weapons and made a covenant with God to put their days of war, fighting and contention behind them. Fast forward 15 years (roughly) and their freedoms are being threatened, they know they must fight and defend themselves but the parents promised not to fight and these young men were not raised to be warriors. So this amazing group of young men and young adults say that in order for their parents to keep their covenant, therefore assuring God will uphold His end of the covenant, they agree to be the ones to go fight. Now, that is very courageous and must have taken a lot of faith for these boys to agree to go fight in a battle when they knew very little about war but lets also consider the amount of faith that it took for the parents to agree to this! They agreed to send their sons off to war knowing that their sons were not prepared for war in the traditional sense. They were not skilled in fighting, they were not well educated on how to use these weapons, but they agreed none the less to send their boys off to war because of their faith in the covenant that they had made. They knew that if they upheld their end of the deal, God would uphold His and He would watch over their sons and protect their freedoms.
In Alma 53:21 it says, “Yea, they were men of truth and soberness, for they had been taught to keep the commandments of God and to walk uprightly before him”. In the study guide it points out, “None of these words are typical for what you would expect from a description of a soldier. Can they handle a sword? How are they with a spear? These are the questions Helaman should have been asking. Instead, Helaman would lead a group that was exceptional because of their faith in God. They were true, sober, valiant, and loyal to Him. And THAT is what gave them courage.” If what made these men so great at war was their FAITH and not their SKILL, then what does that mean for us? How can we take that concept and apply it to our life?
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf said, “Sometimes we feel discouraged because we are not ‘more’ of something – more spiritual, respected, intelligent, healthy, rich, friendly or capable. We don’t need to be ‘more’ of anything to start to become the person God intended us to become. God will take you as you are at this very moment and begin to work with you.” I LOVE this quote! The way I interpret that is this, if I can increase my faith a little and believe that God is willing to work with me starting NOW then I can say:
If I feel prompted to ______(fill in this blank with whatever you feel your next step should be. go back to school, start a new job, focus on home life, homeschool your kids…whatever it is) then I don’t need to know how I’m going to get there, I don’t need to understand how He could possibly think I could achieve this, I just need to start taking steps to get that done and trust that He will make up the rest.
How many times do we hold ourselves back because we doubt ourselves? We think things like, ‘Surely He can’t think I can do that’ or ‘I can’t make a difference I’m too old/young/inexperienced/ordinary/not smart enough/uneducated/poor’ etc and we set all these limitations on ourself. Instead we should be trusting that God has a plan so much greater than we can imagine, so much greater than we think is possible, but we can’t get there if we are standing in our own way. We can’t get there if we are holding ourselves back. We can’t get there if we are doubting. Us doubting in ourselves is to a certain extent us doubting in God as well. “Well you can work miracles God but not that big of a miracle, I can’t do that!”. I mean, when we think it that way it sounds absurd! Of course He can! He can do whatever He sees fit and only we can stand in His way. His work will never stop, He’ll just move on and use someone else to do it. Don’t sell yourself short! You deserve this next step in your life. You deserve to have the righteous desires of your heart and our loving Heavenly Father will help you get there. He’ll meet you halfway, He’ll make up the rest where you fall short. He has a plan to help you, you just have to let Him.
In the story of the 2,000 stripling warriors they didn’t go to battle KNOWING that they would all be saved. They didn’t know how it was going to turn out. They did have faith that it would work out as God saw fit though and that was enough for them. They moved forward with faith and let God take care of the rest.
I hope this helps hit home for someone else. It left such an impression on me and motivated me to move forward more courageously, more confidently, and with more conviction than ever before. I trust God has a plan for me, just as He does you, and that it is so much greater than what I could plan for myself. I have believe that if I move forward with faith He will help me know what the next steps are, He will guide me, He will help me where I fall short so that I can make it to where I’m meant to be.
What have you learned throughout your personal study of the story of the Stripling Warriors? Let me know in the comments!