120 Days Closer to Jesus Christ – Day Five
Study Assignment: 1 Nephi 13 — 14
Daily Scripture: “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” – James 4:10
“Humbly submitting our will to the Father brings us the empowerment of God—the power of humility. It is the power to meet life’s adversities, the power of peace, the power of hope, the power of a heart throbbing with a love for and testimony of the Savior Jesus Christ, even the power of redemption. To this end, the Savior is our supreme example of the power of humility and submissiveness. After all, His submitting His will to the Father brought about the greatest, and even the most powerful, event in all of history. Perhaps some of the most sacred words in all the scriptures are simply, “Not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42).”
- Richard C. Edgley
I’m liking the routine that I’m in with this whole 120 day program. My closest friends know that I’m big into my daily scripture study. I try to read on a specific topic early in the morning, then at night read from a specific book chronologically. Calling me around 9PM usually gets you nothing but voicemail because that’s my set study time. However, this week I’ve added a mid-afternoon reading session to the mix to do an initial reading of this program’s chapters, and then I come back and read them again each night before writing my blog post.
And wow, I can’t even begin to describe the difference those afternoon readings have been making!
When I was 18 years old I was saving for my mission and working as a customer service associate at a large chain grocery store. As a customer service associate I would run back and forth between the service desk and the checkout lines for hours at a time performing the various duties of my job. Those duties, much of the time, consisted of assisting customers by getting their cigarettes. – Luxurious, I know. – As the “kid” up front I was essentially a glorified gofer. “Oh, you wanted the Marlboro Ultra Light 100’s in the silver pack, not just the Lights. I’m so sorry,” I would try to say cheerfully as I ran back for the umteenth time to try to please a customer. The fact that they couldn’t remember the magical color of their color coded cigarettes baffles me to this day. In addition to being “ciggy boy” (a name affectionately given to me by management), I was also “change-getter boy”, “clean up boy”, “haul that to the car boy”, and, when the cart pushers called in for work, “buggy boy”. My bosses were crude, cursing, cantankerous people who made me wince at the very thought of work, and the cashiers I had been promoted over were all middle-aged union gals who liked to give Ciggy Boy a hard time. I hated my job, and the environment soon began to wear on my soul. My one bit of solace was the 30 minute break I would take mid-shift every day. It was my opportunity to recluse to the breakroom of the store, a dimly lit closet that smelled like an ashtray and made truckstop urinals look immaculately clean, and there I would unwind just enough to get wound back up for the remainder of my shift. Going into work each day made me feel miserable in ways I had never before imagined.
One day I had finally had enough. Having been yelled at by the store manager, two cranky cashiers, and a customer who was upset we no longer carried her desired brand of cat food, I clocked out for break and decided to literally make a break for it. I grabbed my jacket and ran to my car. It was winter and raining and as soon as I slammed the door shut and put my keys in the ignition I felt like I was on the verge of freedom. I turned the ignition and my heart raced. As the heater forced out frigid air and I applied the break to shift the car into reverse I looked in the rearview mirror, and there I saw it: A blue missionary edition of The Book of Mormon.
And my thoughts of escape faded instantly from my mind.
I knew I had to stay. I knew I couldn’t quit the job. I knew that if I left midshift no one would think, “Oh, Stan quit.” Instead they would think, “That Mormon kid left us short handed.” My personal lackings and inability to cope with a crummy job would not reflect just me, they would reflect my membership in the Lord’s church. I put the car back into park, and with my heart still racing, I bowed my head to say a prayer for patience. When I was finished I looked back in the rearview mirror at the store looming in the background behind me, and again noticed The Book of Mormon sitting there. I reached across the backseat and grabbed it. And, not knowing beforehand what I was doing, ended up starting in Alma. For 30 minutes that day my life was perfect, and I was strengthened enough to go back to the job I hated to raise money for my mission.
That job ended up being a true introduction to the world for me, and the coping skills I learned there to be in the world but not of it have blessed me ever since.
This week I started a new job. Amid writing a book, discussing with publishers the possible publication of two manuscripts I have already finished, and a plethora of other huge things happening in my life, I started a new job. – Silly silly Stan. – I admit that the job is something that I am loving though. And, it was literally an answer to prayers in various ways. But it has altered my writing schedule drastically, and it is weird readjusting to the work force after my break since mid-March. Having been in a management capacity in one form or another since the age of 18, it is now nice to be in a job where the buck doesn’t stop with me. Despite the fact that everyone else says it is a high stress job, I am sitting fun and fancy free each day performing repetitive, menial, yet oh so fulfilling duties. After years of never even having the chance to breathe and go to the bathroom, I am now forced to take a one hour break for lunch. And, it is during that coveted lunch break that I have been reading The Book of Mormon each day.
Life feels magical and happy.
Today I finished Nephi’s amazing vision. Having stretched from chapter eleven to the end of fourteen today, it is perhaps one of my favorite sections in all of revealed scripture.
The columns, corners, and sides of my scriptures are filled with countless notes on these pages. “Columbus” is written near verse twelve in chapter thirteen. Then an eclectic cacophony of historically moving words follows. “Puritans”, “Smallpox”, “The American Revolution”, “The Bible”, and more are all written neatly and succinctly as if they were always meant to be in the margins. The Great and the Abominable Whore has numerous parallels equally expansive in being recorded in my own set of scriptures, and then we move into chapter fourteen where I hang on Nephi’s every word.
I was excited as I read verse one in chapter fourteen and Galatians 3:27-29 came to my mind. Then my own patriarchal blessings rushed into my memory, quickly pushed out as I was reminded by the Spirit of the blessings of the temple and blessings promised there.
As I reached verse seven the word “temporal” caught my attention and I thought of not just our current economic crisis in the United States, but of our incomprehensible national debt, and of the lack of anything holy in most of society. I read it over and over, and it seemed to make more and more sense as I realized just how far from God most people are.
Verses twelve and fourteen struck my heart, and though small in number, I could see in my mind’s eye the Saints throughout the world living lives of covenant and consecration.
As I finished reading during lunch today and pondered different passages from John’s Revelation while sitting in my car, I and felt the same warmth and peace that I felt nearly ten years ago on a cold winters day outside a grocery store.
The word today is a crazy place. Babylon and the Great Whore surround us, Ol’ Scratch is continually tempting us, and the whispers of wars and rumors of wars are becoming a deafening roar. But our Master calls calmly, “Peace, be still.”
Day five has rocked.
I am excited to see what happens tomorrow…
- Stan Way
If you’re just joining me on my journey in reading The Book of Mormon in 120 days please click here to see how this all began. To see the first few days of reading just go to the Home Page and you can read through the posts there.
If you’re not a Mormon and you’ve stumbled upon this blog post somehow, thank you for reading. Now go ahead and click here and take a few moments to learn more. I personally witness to you that The Book of Mormon testifies of Jesus Christ, teaches that He is our Savior, and shows how we can return to live with him some day. I know it is the Word of God to be used alongside with the Holy Bible. It is true scripture, and I invite you to find out for yourself whether or not it came from God. So go ahead and click on the link above. I promise that you’ll be glad you did.